Electronic Charting *update*

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LimaBravo
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Electronic Charting *update*

Postby LimaBravo » Wed Jan 09, 2008 3:49 pm

Hey Gang,

Just thought I would update some new devices I have been flying with using electronic charts and approach plates.

1. Apple iPhone / iPod Touch - flew with both devices using .pdf viewer and approach plates. Did not use sectionals or enroute charts, but the approach plates scaled well, were perfectly clear and were easily read. Under single pilot IFR, I liked the iPhone (almost) as much as my 10” touch screen tablet.
2. *update* Fujitsu Tablet PC – Downloaded sectionals from naco.faa.gov (cheap cost) and loaded them up. Simply awesome to all charts at the fingertips with enough screen to see what is going on. Easy to switch from charts to approach plates with multiple windows open.
3. Palm Treo / 700p / Centro – used Adobe’s reader for the Palm platform. In a nutshell, too small, too slow. Even to zoom in zoom out takes minutes for the palm to catch up. …and by then you busted you MDA.

As a side note, if Amazon will confirm that I can use the Kindle's internet to grab .pdf's or access FTP sites, I will order one and test it for UCAP. I have previously used the Sony eBook reader, but it was smaller and had less functionality than a tablet PC (and MORE money) so I got rid of it. The screen and readability were great though, and it was an excellent eChart device.

Just for Jeb, I tested a linksys WiFi card in the fujitsu tablet pc and a Sprint (pcmcia) cellular data card. I am happy to report that they both worked flawlessly and got me on the net in several locations last week. I am keeping the Sprint card, because its high speed was sensational and does not required WiFi “hunting”! Not to mention Sprint and EVDO kicks Verizon EDGE's butt big time in data speed rates. Additionally I was able to watch a movie enroute without killing the battery.

So Jeb, (and anyone else) there is a way to have ALL your charts, approach plates, have your checklists, surf the net, watch movies, and do email with one device. I did it all, including charts, for right around $325, now I don't fire up without 'er.


~LB

Punky
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Re: Electronic Charting *update*

Postby Punky » Wed Jan 09, 2008 4:22 pm

Hey LB
Do you can view PDFs on your iPhone?
Being in Canada, I'm alas... deprived of the availability of the iPhone, but I do have the iPod touch. I understand though that it won't be open to 3rd party developing until later this year (as is the iPhone)... which leads me to assume that viewing PDFs are only available with an active internet connection and through the web browser or something like that.

Is that how you're doing it? Loading the page ahead of time? Or are you emailing them to yourself before taking off? I'm wondering how you get the PDF into your iPhone to begin with.

Wouldn't that be great if a full sized tablet came out with the multi-touch UI screen like that of the iPhone/iPod Touch? Wow.

LimaBravo
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Re: Electronic Charting *update*

Postby LimaBravo » Thu Jan 10, 2008 12:13 am

Howdy again Punky!

Well on both the iPhone and the iPod touch, I used the commonly found (non-official) third party installer. With that I choose adobe's version of the .pdf viewer and it works great. There is a little trick, in that you have to actually SSH into the iPod (or iPhone) to drop files on it. Not bad for you probably, but we may have to do a tutorial if anyone less tech saavy would like some help. Other than that, it is just sweet as pie. I flew 2.2hrs tonight solid IFR xcountry, and on both ends I used the iPod touch to display my approach plates.

As a backup plan, or in case I forget a chart and find it missing during pre-flight planning, I set up an ftp server at home which I can snag .pdf's from as well. If you find wifi (or before you leave home), you can download them all into Safari history and do the same thing. This proved a little bothersome because I was downloading upwards of 20 pdf's prior to departure. It is nice however, when you get somewhere and need to grab additional charts or maps from the ftp site. That way you can always quickly get what you need, in the same format. In a pinch you can even hit AOPA and download their .pdf's to the touch as well.

I will probably go back to the tablet PC full time tomorrow. I just love the form factor and the 10" viewable, and it sets in my lap just about perfect. Not to mention now I have Sprint EVDO internet just about anywhere. I will keep the iPod touch full of charts though, because for some crazy reason I am one of those people who like a back up plan. (accidental droppage, dead tablet battery, windows locking up ahahahaha, or similar). In fact if you could get any Linux distro to run a fujitsu digitizer touch screen, you would walk on water in my book! (I'm a free and open source guy)

So anyway, if you are not familiar with how to get that iPod touch "free'd up" so to speak, PM or eMail me. I am not sure how Jack and the gang view posting external links here yet, so I will stand by for further clearance before I do so. In the meantime just hit me up. Seems as though we would have lots to share anyway.

...and for anyone else. If you have a specific question on a device for the cockpit and how it performs please let me know. Chances are I have tried it.

Punky
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Re: Electronic Charting *update*

Postby Punky » Thu Jan 10, 2008 9:27 am

I had NO idea you could get into the iPod/iPhone... that's with the latest firmware revision? (I knew there was a way to get in before that latest one). By all means - post the tutorial or a link to one. :-)

I've actually done a lot of hand-held development... including a Fujitsu piece of equipment... but alas - none on Linux.

I've been waiting for the SDK (non-web development SDK that is) to come out for the iPhone/iPod for 3rd party development. I'll be all over that.

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jackhodgson
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Posting external links (was Re: Electronic Charting *update*

Postby jackhodgson » Thu Jan 10, 2008 11:10 am

LimaBravo wrote:I am not sure how Jack and the gang view posting external links here yet, so I will stand by for further clearance before I do so.


We're kinda making things up as we go along here... but I think that external links are fine as long as they are 1) aviation related, and 2) not blatant SPAM.

By "blatant" I mean, you can feel free to promote your own projects and products here as long as you disclose that it's yours, and that it's not the *only* thing you're posting here. Anyone who makes a real contribution here is welcome.

We'll see how that works and make course corrections as needed.

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jimg
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Re: Electronic Charting Evaluation

Postby jimg » Fri Jan 11, 2008 1:09 am

Hi, UCAP gang,

Thought I would throw in my thoughts about EFBs and electronic charting software.

First, let me say that I consider myself to be very much in the exploration and review phase, so what I will relate here is essentially about where I am in my investigation, not a final evaluation.

We learn to fly using a Sectional Aeronautical Chart (a/k/a sectional). We are taught to compare the sectional to the view out the window (and vice versa) to keep track of where we are in relation to the earth. The idea of a moving map, GPS-based sectional appears to me to be an ideal way to reduce that sometimes irksome bit of VMC pilot workload. Problem is (or was) that most of the early panel GPSs and portable GPSs didn't use a sectional for the basis of the moving map; they used simpler "vector graphic" maps. These maps look more like diagrams than sectionals, and are much easier for the embedded computers to draw and update, but the drawback is that much of the detail of a sectional is missing. Examples of details include quarries, tunnels, electric transmission lines, golf courses, small ponds, and so on. These details help you relate the chart in front of you to the view out the window, especially when flying at 2000 or 3000 AGL.

Well, more recently we have begun to see moving map GPSs with real sectional maps. So I decided to compare two well-advertised products in this area: the ChartCase Pro from FlightPrep, and the Flightsoft/Vista combo from RMS Technology. I purchased both programs, along with chart update subscriptions to both, and have installed all of it on the Motion LS800 (8-inch) tablet PC running Windows XP tablet edition.

My typical setup for GPS moving maps in the cockpit (C182T) is the following, from left to right. On the left side yoke, I have my Garmin GPS-396 which I also take with me in rental planes and even in the car. It has the XM satellite radio receiver which gives me both in-cockpit weather and hundreds of radio stations (for the car, not flying!). In the panel is the Bendix King KLN94 (an IFR-approved panel mounted GPS that came standard with the C182T when it was produced) with the KMD550 (5-inch) display. So the KLN94 is my primary navigator with that old "vector graphic" style moving map, while the GPS-396 is what I use in cruise flight to look up airports, navaids, metars, etc. On the right side yoke, I have the yoke mount with the LS800 and one of the two above-mentioned programs running in moving map mode with the actual current sectional chart! I generally don't operate the table PC while flying if I can avoid it... I just look over to see where I am on the sectional, which gives better awareness than moving along the infamous magenta line on the KLN94. So in a way, I am only using just one function of those many-featured programs in flight. I have also been using both of them for flight planning, on the tablet, on the ground.

I'm not ready to say that one is decidedly better than the other (ChartCase vs. Flightsoft) but each has implemented some things better than the other. Hopefully I can report more fully on my side-by-side testing later this summer after some more flying. In the meantime, I can report that using a tablet PC with a stylus while flying an airplane in turbulence is nearly impossible. So stick the thing in sectional moving map mode, and let it be. I can also report that the LS800 tablet PC is slowwww when it comes to menus, launching programs, loading maps from the hard disk, etc. If this was my primary work computer, I would lose what little hair I have left.

So more later as the search for the ideal (non-G1000) in-flight setup continues.
Jim G.

LimaBravo
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Re: Electronic Charting *update*

Postby LimaBravo » Fri Jan 11, 2008 1:36 am

Jim, sweet review. I haven't taken the time to go "all out" on electronic sectionals yet, but plan to check them out soon. Most folks give them the same review as you. Seems as though the sectional is going to be tough to replace!

I had a few Slowwww tablets as you say, and that really turned me off too. The one I use now is speedy, and as a result, I really like to use it. The slow ones were just no fun when shooting approaches waiting for charts and plates to display, zoom, and reload.

JIMG It has the XM satellite radio receiver which gives me both in-cockpit weather and hundreds of radio stations (for the car, not flying!)
It has the XM satellite radio receiver which gives me both in-cockpit weather and hundreds of radio stations (for the car, not flying!)

By the way, XM is sweet in X-country! Wish I had it..... How come you don't use it airborne?


Jack H but I think that external links are fine as long as they are 1) aviation related, and 2) not blatant SPAM.


Sounds good Jack! I am not sure how iPod converted to pdf viewer rates, so I took that one to PM land. If there is more demand we could bring it up here, the link that is. I see quite a few people here getting ready to test approach plates on the iPod or iPhone.

See ya'll soon

~LB

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Madmax
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Re: Electronic Charting *update*

Postby Madmax » Sat Jan 12, 2008 10:07 pm

I think I'll just be the 'ole stick in the mud.

The chances of me flying with electronic charts is somewhere in the never going to happen to less than zero percentage area.

First of all, I have NEVER had a piece of paper need to reboot.

and I have yet to rely on any one peice of electronics for my instrument approach, you know ILS with a GPS running to validate the DME etc...

With that said, if these units will print me out an Approach/SID/STAR before I launch maybe that isn't such a bad thing. But then you need to carry the paper to print it.

Here is my mindset.

"Cessnut N12345, turn to heading of 090, vectors to intercept the loc rwy 36"

"090 for the intercept N12345"

"N345, approach, the last squall line that came through changed the winds enough, we are going to bring you around for the ILS 18, turn to 045"

" Roger, give me a moment to pull up the chart. N345"

"N345 No problem, keep on that heading let us know when you are ready"

" Roger, it is going to be a min or two, my screen is locked up, I have to pull the battery and reboot, N345"

"N12345, proceed direct GIZMO, hold north 1 mile legs efc 1900GMT, current time is 1700GMT"


Ok, lets do the paper chart


"Cessnut N12345, turn to heading of 090, vectors to intercept the loc rwy 36"

"090 for the intercept N12345"

"N345, apprach, the last squall line that came through changed the winds enough, we are going to bring you around for the ILS 18, turn to 045"

" 045 - N345"

"N345 intercept the loc cleared for the ILS 18."


Yep I'll stay with my paper.

Also, recreationally, for charts, I use the airchart system http://www.airchart.com three books and I have all the sectionals and low level IFR enroute. FOR A YEAR!!

All I do is print out the terminal procedures for the trip the day before or if need be at the FBO. AOPA, AIRNAV.COM and a bunch of other places have them, for.... free.....
Sum Ergo Cogito —


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jimg
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Re: Electronic Charting *update*

Postby jimg » Sun Jan 13, 2008 1:22 am

LimaBravo wrote:
By the way, XM is sweet in X-country! Wish I had it..... How come you don't use it airborne?


Usually when I am flying cross-country, there is conversation wither with ATC or with the
passenger (wife, usually) and the music is auto-muted when there's voice on the intercom
or on the radio, which gets to be annoying after a while (which? both... the voice on
the intercom/radio and the auto-muting of the music.) I do like it however as background
music if I'm
- long cross country, solo (rare), and
- VFR, and
- no flight following (not talking to ATC)
Then it is indeed very nice to have!

Jim G

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jimg
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Re: Electronic Charting *update*

Postby jimg » Sun Jan 13, 2008 1:33 am

Madmax wrote:I think I'll just be the 'ole stick in the mud.
...
Yep I'll stay with my paper.


Perhaps I omitted something. In addition to the three GPS systems (two on the yokes, and one in the panel),
I also carry Sectionals, TACs, low enroute charts, and procedure chart books (takes four of them to cover
from Delaware through New England.) When doing instrument approaches, the approach chart is on my
kneeboard, in paper, not on a screen (at least not yet). I just like the moving map sectional running by
itself because 1) it helps with geographic positional awareness, 2) it needs no further input from me, and
3) it's non-essential and redundant. If it quits, bummer, I've still got the panel-mounted GPS, the Garmin,
and the paper charts. The only one I fuss with much in flight is the panel-mounted IFR-approved GPS
(the Bendix-King KLN94).

The G1000's have moving map approach charts and if I had a plane with the G1000 I would consider
using that because the G1000 doesn't require reboots (AFAIK!) and updates much faster than a tablet
PC. But I ain't got one of them yet.

I'm not letting go of the paper just yet.
Jim G


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