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iPad/iPhone/ForeFlight questions
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Loogie
100+ Posts


Joined: 23 Nov 2013
Posts: 128
Location: Smithfield, VA

PostPosted: Mon Feb 09, 2015 4:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Great, I am trying to compare the stratus WX w the wx on the G496. Sounds like it is similar as long as you receive the ADS B data.
Thanks for the info. I was thinking of piping in xm wx to the GNS530W instead I may just go w the stratus.
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andy
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Joined: 06 Aug 2007
Posts: 1110
Location: Lake James, NC, USA

PostPosted: Tue Feb 10, 2015 12:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Loogie, I have a GPSMAP 396 that I used to use with XM weather, but the subscription cost was getting expensive at about $60/month. I bought the ForeFlight Mobile subscription for $150/year and recently added synthetic vision at $25/year vs. the XM weather was costing about $720/year. The ForeFlight weather coming either from the cellular network or the Stratus provides more current weather than the XM but depends on a cellular data connection, which is often missing in the mountains. The other problem with the XM weather on the 396 was that it didn't integrate into ForeFlight on the iPad so I would have to enter my waypoints and routes into two devices.

ForeFlight also integrates XM satellite weather using the Baron Mobile Link system. Not only is it expensive at $1124 but there are lots of wires and boxes to deal with. Nowhere near as neat an installation as the Stratus II/iPad. Sooner or later someone will come out with a better XM receiver that works with ForeFlight like the Stratus II but you can't get one yet. The XM subscription cost is also expensive but the coverage is way better than ADS-B at present and you can get it on the ground. You can only get ADS-B when you are off the ground and there is a nearby ground station within line of sight. Terrain usually blocks the signal in the mountains until you are several thousand feet above any terrain in between you and the ground station.

I don't know why the FAA opted to use ground stations for weather broadcast (FIS-B) rather than satellites but it was probably due to cost and their lack of control over the satellites. Not the best decision in my opinion - speaking as a radio engineer.

The ForeFlight/iPad combination is also an incredibly good deal in terms of subscription costs for charts (Sectionals, Low Altitude Enroute, Approaches, taxiways) and other map overlays like aerial photos, street maps and terrain maps. It would cost a lot of money and a massive amount of space and weight to get the same data in paper charts that ForeFlight provides for $150/year. The 396 doesn't have any chart overlays.

The ideal system for me would be the ForeFlight/iPad Air Mini/Stratus II with a lot more ADS-B ground stations installed.
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Andy
1986 MX7-180
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andy
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Joined: 06 Aug 2007
Posts: 1110
Location: Lake James, NC, USA

PostPosted: Thu Mar 19, 2015 5:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I take back all the bad stuff that I said about ADS-B coverage in the mountains of Western North Carolina. I found a video from Sporty's on how to orient the Stratus 2 ADS-B receiver so that it picks up more ground stations. I had it oriented vertically with the LED lights pointing down toward the floor using the suction cup mount on the right back seat window in my Maule. The video said to orient it with the LEDs pointing to the back of the aircraft and see if you pick up more ADS-B ground stations.

Yesterday I did a 3.3 hour Southern Pine Beetle damage survey in the Cessna 185 at work with the Stratus 2 and suction cup mount in the lower right corner of the copilot side windshield with the LEDs pointed toward the back of the aircraft. World of difference!!! I was always in ADS-B coverage from 2500 MSL to 6500 MSL over the most mountainous parts of the State to Virginia and Tennessee mountains. Sometimes I received 2 ADS-B ground stations and other times up to 6.

I feel much better about my choice of Stratus 2 vs. XM satellite weather now.
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Beamerpilot
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Joined: 18 Feb 2013
Posts: 131
Location: Alberta Canada

PostPosted: Thu Mar 19, 2015 7:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The other advantage often overlooked of the Ipad for pilots is downloading "Goodreader" app (free). It will store all your applicable manuals and AFMs for reference anywhere and anytime. You can import directly from the Internet or from any company or email source.
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DAT



Joined: 24 Apr 2009
Posts: 26
Location: TN

PostPosted: Thu Mar 19, 2015 10:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have had and used the Ipad mini, the regular Ipad, the Iphone 6+, and the Stratus 2. Both of the Ipads are wifi and have cellular 4G so they have the built in GPS even though they are not needed since I use the Stratus 2 which has a WAAS receiver as well. I have quit using the larger Ipad since the mini has all the same info and is easier to deal with in the cockpit.

Now I use the mini wifi-ed to the Stratus as my primary Foreflight connection for both IFR and VFR flight. I also have the Iphone 6+ as a backup to the mini and it will run simultaneously with the Ipad mini off the Stratus. It will not do quite as much as the mini but would be a life saver in an emergency IFR situation. I can use the 4G data function on any of the units while I'm on the ground (where service is available) to get the latest satellite and weather information. When I get ready to take off I activate the Stratus and will have GPS reception instantly and by the time I reach 400 ft or so AGL will have ADS-B (unless I'm in the backcountry). I have the pro subscription with geo-referenced charts and synthetic vision, which is pretty to look at and fun but not something I use regularly .... maybe in the hypothetical aforementioned emergency situation!

Overall, I'm very satisfied with the affordability, the ease of use, and the functionality/compatibility of all the different hardware and software.
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