Thursday, 7 May 2015

Gone over to the Dark Side part 1.

Probably to the disgust to the purists out there, I’ve gone over to the dark side and invested in an IPad and a subscription to Foreflight.

I held out for a while before succumbing to the inevitable.

It was quite noticeable that EVERYONE at the flying club I joined possessed the above device. The first “flyout” I turned up to, I was the only one there fussing around with paper charts. It was kind of embarrassing actually.

To be honest I’ve always been a little skeptical about the “GPS generation” and “followers of the magenta line” but a couple of things changed my mind.

A little bit

I’m still a little skeptical in places.

I am still a little bit unconvinced that you can build up good “big picture” situational awareness solely using Foreflight. There are ways around that though.

I will admit that I could see straight away by playing with S’s Ipad and Foreflight subscription, that it was a powerful piece of software. In fact you may find many commercial operators using it as their flight planning and navigational software.

The main issue for me was that I didn’t have an Ipad to run it one. I’ve nothing against Apple and IOs. I had an Iphone for a long while, during the time when it was the best phone on the market. And then it wasn’t, so I switched to Android, as did RTH.

I’m not really a fanboy of either OS. I’ve got the tool that does the job I want it to at this moment. I can see the pros and cons of each system.

I also understand why Foreflight is only on iOs. It needs to be rated against critical failure. 100% guaranteed to work. You need it to be stable and I will admit that while my IPhone never crashed, my Android one, not so stable.

So while the subscription cost for Foreflight isn’t that outrageous (no more than an annual subscription to the blue brick that is the CFS). The Ipad is a significant outlay, moneywise.
I could justify one, not the other.

Then RTH had a brilliant idea. I had like a gazillion Aeroplan points. And, as I had discovered, they are pretty useless for booking flights, upgrades or anything else that you would think that you could use flight reward points for.

But you can trade them in for goods. I had enough for an Ipad2 Air and RTH could get enough ITunes cards to pay for Foreflight!

The only “cash” I needed to spend was on a GPS receiver. I went with the sturdy “Bad Elf” because I’d already seen that you can just turn it on, fling it in your flight bag and forget about it, with no real loss of accuracy”

So now I’m officially “tooled up” and ready to go over to the Dark Side of navigating by following the little dot.

Another post and I’ll tell you how it all works in practice.

I’ll end this post with an apology. My Mom has been complaining about the lack of blog posts and now I’ve written one that she won’t have the foggiest idea what it’s about.

Here’s the Mom version……..
…….I have a new computer thingy like the one you play Candy Crush on, only mine has maps and flying stuff on it.

1 comment:

  1. Welcome to the Dark Side. As you've probably already discovered, we lied about the cookies...

    I might have mentioned on my blog before, but I have an old first-gen iPad that I've repurposed for using with flight sims and ForeFlight. It runs an older version of ForeFlight, due to the iOS version limitations of the older device (no Synthetic Vision for me) but it works well otherwise, and I still get updated charts and procedures.

    X-Plane 10 supports sending data to EFB apps out of the box if the device is connected to the same WiFi network. It sends the GPS data to the app and ForeFlight displays your position data just as if you were in the real plane. There is a free piece of software called FlightSim GPS that adds this same functionality to FSX/P3D.

    I also bought an old RAM mount on ebay for $40 USD that supports iPads Gen 1-4 that I use to mount the iPad to my Saitek yoke.

    So you have a WiFi only iPad, correct? Thus the need for the Bad Elf? I've debated doing that vs. getting a refurbished 4G version of the iPad 4 from Apple and just using the WiFi for data/Flight Sim but still have the onboard GPS available.

    I see ForeFlight as a must-have myself. I grabbed a subscription just a few hours into my PPL, wanting to familiarize myself with its use. I've looked at getting a new Android tablet instead of an iPad, but there's just nothing comparable on the Android platform right now. The Garmin app is good, but development had stalled lately and it's just not on-par the last time I checked.

    Anxious to hear your impression of the app in real-world practice.

    Fly Safely,