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Thread: Weather

  1. #1

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    Question Weather

    I'm a new pilot and want to get some type of active weather on a portable device. I see that on iPad there is WingX and the Garmin App that integrates the ads-b if you get the receiver. I've read somewhere that foreflight was considering intergrating XM weather. Then there are the portable Garmin devices like 696 or the aera devices. Since the ads-b is without a subscription, that seems really attractive, but some pilot friends said they didn't think that there is good coverage with it yet, and it was slower turn around time updating the weather than XM.
    Does any one have experience with the iPad apps and ads-b?
    Any preferences or pearls of wisdom?
    Thanks

  2. #2

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    Quote Originally Posted by cookie View Post
    I'm a new pilot and want to get some type of active weather on a portable device. I see that on iPad there is WingX and the Garmin App that integrates the ads-b if you get the receiver. I've read somewhere that foreflight was considering intergrating XM weather. Then there are the portable Garmin devices like 696 or the aera devices. Since the ads-b is without a subscription, that seems really attractive, but some pilot friends said they didn't think that there is good coverage with it yet, and it was slower turn around time updating the weather than XM.
    Does any one have experience with the iPad apps and ads-b?
    Any preferences or pearls of wisdom?
    Thanks
    I'm kind of in the same situation myself - looking for the "right" weather solution at a price that is attractive to me.

    If you google ADS-B service map, you'll see where the signal is available today. Largely, if you're east of the Mississippi, you're likely to have service, as you are on the West Coast - essentially if the population is fairly dense, the network is in place.

    With the iPad, something to remember is that it needs an external GPS and either an XM reciever or an ADS-B reciever, so you end up with several devices and potentially their cords in the cockpit. I hate that. Also, I hate stacking devices from a reliability perspective. If the iPad, the GPS, or the XM/ADS-B module has a problem or if any of the devices have a communication problem with the others, you don't have the information you want/need.

    Also, check the iPad's spec's. Heat and altitude are not its friends (at least according to the spec sheet). I'm leery of putting my trust in a piece of hardware that isn't designed for the operating environment I plan for it. And I do acknowledge that lots of people are using iPads in the cockpit. I have seen many reports of happy customers and a few who had experienced heat related in-flight shutdowns.

    Garmin's current products (Aera 510 and up, 696) are integrated, so you don't have the integration and reliability issues. But you're stuck with an XM bill. Today my preference would be one of those devices. I suspect Garmin will introduce a stand-along ADS-B portable in the next year or two. When that happens, I'm in. Right now, I'm too cheap to spend the bucks on the hardware and the XM subscription fees.

  3. #3
    Adam Smith's Avatar
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    I really love ForeFlight... if they get true in-flight weather, wow, that would be fantastic. Even without it, I it's a pretty incredible tool.

  4. #4
    steveinindy's Avatar
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    Right now, I'm too cheap to spend the bucks on the hardware and the XM subscription fees.
    It beats the heck out of the price of an onboard weather radar.

  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by steveinindy View Post
    It beats the heck out of the price of an onboard weather radar.
    Whoa! I say, whoa!

    As an old, gray-haired instructor, I have to jump in on that statement. XM data combined with NEXRAD are wonderful tools. However, they are strategic in nature. By the time you get the data, it can be upwards 15-20 minutes old. That is about how long it takes for a cell to develop into something nasty. That's why experts say that you should not rely on it to navigate your way through a line of weather. Using XM/NEXRAD to decide on how to give weather a wide berth, or even to land and wait it out is appropriate. On board radar is really the best way, when used expertly, to get through a line of weather, if it's possible at all.

    The reason I'm jumping on this is that I've heard too many conversations among instrument pilots talking about dealing with embedded storms using NEXRAD. It's just too risky a proposition.

    @Adam: I use Forflight, too, but there are a couple of things they need to address before they've hit it out of the park. My biggest gripe is that they don't take into account time, distance, and fuel to climb in their calculations. I mentioned that to them at their booth and I've been assured that they're working on it.
    Last edited by Bob Meder; 08-07-2011 at 09:14 PM. Reason: Added ye olde CRLF's

  6. #6
    steveinindy's Avatar
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    My comment was made slightly tongue in cheek mostly as a reference to the cost associated with satellite weather services. I give thunderstorms a 20-30 mile leeway and if there are embedded storms, I'm not going to try to pick my way through it. However, it is nice to know where those embedded cells are NOW rather than 20-30 minutes ago if you're trying to avoid them.

  7. #7
    Adam Smith's Avatar
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    Interesting discussion. Yesterday we picked our way through a line of nasty weather near Chicago with the aid of a Garmin 696. Same flight 10 years ago? Pretty sure we'd have landed and waited it out. With the 696 we were able to make good decisions and get through with confidence.

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    I dunno, Adam. Probably depends on the nature of the line. If there were imbedded storms, I probably wouldn't have done it with XM radio alone. Now, if there were big holes in the line, if I could get on top and see the build ups, or if I had fairly high ceilings where I could see the rain shafts underneath, I'd do it. Else, a combination of either spherics or live radar along with NEXRAD would be more my cup of tea. On the way to Oshkosh from St. Louis, we stopped at Bloomington to reassess that stationary front that's been stuck along I-80 just because two gray-haired CFI's flying a Seminole just didn't have a warm and fuzzy about it...

  9. #9
    MEdwards's Avatar
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    My recent experience was similar to Adam's. Heading for Oshkosh, we would have stopped overnight in Iowa if we hadn't had XM weather on the 396. It showed us a nice hole over Cedar Rapids where we could get behind the line and continue. We had visual too, but we wouldn't have known where to look without the NEXRAD display. Then we did the same thing again near Ripon, slipped behind a line of showers and joined and flew the approach without a drop of rain.

    I think relatively inexpensive onboard weather radar display was the biggest advance in GA safety in the last decade.

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by MEdwards View Post
    My recent experience was similar to Adam's. Heading for Oshkosh, we would have stopped overnight in Iowa if we hadn't had XM weather on the 396. It showed us a nice hole over Cedar Rapids where we could get behind the line and continue. We had visual too, but we wouldn't have known where to look without the NEXRAD display. Then we did the same thing again near Ripon, slipped behind a line of showers and joined and flew the approach without a drop of rain.I think relatively inexpensive onboard weather radar display was the biggest advance in GA safety in the last decade.
    I can't disagree with you. My point is how NEXRAD is used. As a planning and strategic tool, it's tremendous. My concern, and I've heard people doing this, is using NEXRAD to pick your way through a line of embedded storms. The cycle times just aren't fast enough for that.

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