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ForeFlight and iPad instability

 
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Brenton C
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Joined: 06 Aug 2013
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Location: Calgary, AB

PostPosted: Sun Jul 24, 2016 10:01 am    Post subject: ForeFlight and iPad instability Reply with quote

I know there's already been a thread on ForeFlight and iGadgets.

This one's more of a public service announcement.

Not having done much flying last year, I missed the whole communication break down hat iOS developed with blue tooth gps units that feed position info to wi fi-only iPads.

While My reading this weekend would suggest thats a thing of the past, I can tell you the issue is not dead, but it won't be long before some trusting pilot is. Dead, that is.

My iPad mini is on iOS 9.3.2, and Im using a Dual xgps160 with Fore Flight. It all works well til I'm in the air for 20 minutes or so. Then without warning, no position info. All I have is a static electronic map.

This has happened on all of my last 4 flights. I've tried "fixes" published on the web. I've tried testing it out by driving around in my car with foreflight and the Dual gps running... Thought it was fine til yesterday, and, bam, it's screwed again.

At least with paper map navigation, we have a way of knowing where we are by checking off way points. I'm concerned with how much confidence we've been encouraged to place in Foreflight, and the dangerously false sense of security it's apparent functionality invites.

One "solution" is an iPad model with 3G (cell phone data plan) capability. These models have a so-called built in GPS. It took some digging to find this is not strictly true. These models, even if you dont buy a data plan, use cell tower signals (not satellites) for position info-- I like to call it pGPS (pseudo GPS).

"pGPS" apparently works well with Foreflight, but surely flying in the mountains is an issue.

I've written to Dual today to ask if there is a remedy that actually works.

At this point, my inclination is to relegate foreflight to flight planning duties, and use a dedicated aviation GPS for positional awareness.

While using Foreflight, I think it might be prudent on cross countries to create way points every 10 or 15 minutes, and track these with paper and pencil.

Just a few thoughts from a disillusioned ForeFlight user.
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andy
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Joined: 06 Aug 2007
Posts: 1110
Location: Lake James, NC, USA

PostPosted: Sun Jul 24, 2016 10:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have an iPad mini 3 with Forefilght and a Stratus 2. My iPad mini is a wifi+4G with a Verizon cellular data plan. I haven't experienced any of the problems that you mentioned with iOS 9.3.2 on the iPad so maybe it has to do with the Dual GPS. I do lose cellular coverage regularly over the mountains but Foreflight uses the Stratus 2 WAAS GPS signal, which is very reliable. I'll keep an eye out for this problem and any solutions that arise. Foreflight usually emails notices about iOS compatibility problems but I don't remember seeing one that deals specifically with this issue.
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Brenton C
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Joined: 06 Aug 2013
Posts: 286
Location: Calgary, AB

PostPosted: Sun Jul 24, 2016 11:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for this, Andy.

Perhaps I'll also contact ForeFlight with my concern as well.

Edit: (a little later)

Ok, I've contacted ForeFlight to let them know of my concerns. I'll post any updates if I get info from FF, from Dual, or from my own internet browsing.

For now, I say it's been too long between throttle and bottle. I'm sure Mountain Doc would back me up on that, and prescribe something cool for a hot day as today.


Last edited by Brenton C on Sun Jul 24, 2016 12:34 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Andy Young
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 24, 2016 12:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I use an ipad mini with wifi and data plan capability, running ios 9.3.2. I'm using only the internal GPS (no external GPS, no Stratus. I use it all over Alaska, northwestern Canada, and the Rocky Mountain states. Most of the time I'm in places with no cellular coverage. I've been using it for a few years now, and have not experienced any problems with Foreflight showing me right where I am on the map, at any time. I don't understand how that could be the case if the internal GPS relies on a cell signal...
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Brenton C
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Location: Calgary, AB

PostPosted: Sun Jul 24, 2016 12:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Andy,

That one has me stumped!

When I update my iPsd, I'll certainly get the cell plan version.

Luckily, or not luckily, this wasnt what spoiled my flight yesterday. It was the prop adjustment... I couldnt adjust it, so turned for home after 15 mi utes, when I discovered no positional data on Foreflight.

And it was such a nice morning for a breakfast run.

I'm sure lookin' forward to "hundred dollar hamburgers" that only cost $100!

Wink
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Andy Young
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Location: Alaska, Antarctica, Colorado, and Others

PostPosted: Sun Jul 24, 2016 12:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think this answers it:

http://ipadpilotnews.com/2015/12/ipad-real-gps/

Short version: The ipad does have a real GPS. It is ENHANCED by using the cell signal to give it a jump start on knowing where is, thereby making the search for satellites go a bit more quickly, but it is a real, satellite-using GPS.
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Brenton C
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 24, 2016 1:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well it looks like I may owe Apple an apology for calling their "assisted" gps "pseudo" gps.
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Andy Young
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 24, 2016 4:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It sounds like your problem is most likely with the external GPS source that you are using.
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andy
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 25, 2016 9:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Brenton C, although I haven't had any problems with the iPad disconnecting from the Stratus 2, I did start noticing a problem with Bluetooth connectivity between my iPhone 6 and my car's Bluetooth when I updated to iOS 9.3.x. In the middle of playing a song or listening to an audio book, the Bluetooth connection will randomly stop. Sometimes if I wait a few minutes it will automatically reconnect. Sometimes not. I think the problem is with iOS 9.3.x since this never happened before then. That might be what you are experiencing on your iPad if it connects to the Dual GPS by Bluetooth. Take a look at this discussion on the Apple Forum https://discussions.apple.com/thread/7511519?tstart=0
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Brenton C
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Joined: 06 Aug 2013
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Location: Calgary, AB

PostPosted: Mon Jul 25, 2016 11:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks Andy. I'm pretty convinced it's an apple OS problem, as discussed in that thread you linked me to.

So far today, no reply from Dual, but I had a reply yesterday from ForeFlight.

Unfortunately, they linked me to a 10 step trouble shooting decision-action tree that I'd already seen, read carefully and fo.lowed. But I'll give it another go before I write back about it. Maybe I missed so ething. So I'll drive out to the airport and fetch my Dual xgps gadget, run through their suggestions, and drive home with ForeFlight guidance and see what happens.
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