Get free in-flight weather over ADS-B
ADS-B is an integral part of the FAA’s Next Generation Air Traffic Control system, and consists of hundreds of ground stations throughout the U.S. While the primary job of the system is to feed your aircraft’s position data to ATC, these towers also output a free datalink weather broadcast. This includes detailed radar imagery, text weather, PIREPs and more (here’s a good article showing what each of these weather products look like in flight).
The good news, in addition to being free, is that you don’t need to install expensive panel-mount avionics to view this data. Rather all you need is a portable ADS-B receiver, such asStratus, and a compatible iPad app like ForeFlight, and you’ll have near real-time weather in the cockpit. Read a full pilot report on Stratus here.
Other options here include the Garmin GDL 39 (works with Garmin Pilot) and the Dual XGPS 170 or Sagetech Clarity (works with WingX, AOPA FlyQ and Bendix/King myWingman).
Here’s a helpful guide to help you compare each model: ADS-B Receiver Comparison Guide.
Know that you are legal
For Part 91 VFR and IFR flying (the section of the regulations that most of us fly under in general aviation) you are completely legal to use the iPad for electronic charts, provided that the data is current and is a functional replacement of the paper version. There are two FAA documents you should be familiar with:
Use an external GPS for reliable position data
Adding GPS to your iPad allows you to view a moving map display and navigation data on popular apps like ForeFlight, Garmin Pilot or WingX. But how do you get the GPS information? Many pilots are confused by this issue.
2. Secure Tablet it in the cockpit
To maximize usability in the airplane (especially in turbulence), you’ll want to secure the iPad either to your leg or use a cockpit mount. Using a kneeboard designed for the iPad is a great option for aircraft renters who want a simple option that easily transfers between multiple airplanes.
There are several features you’ll want to pay attention to: Continue reading
The Android Tablet is a reliable and easy-to-use addition to the cockpit, perfect for charts, moving maps and even in-flight weather. But there’s a lot to understand to make sure you’re getting the most out of your investment. Over the past several years, we’ve learned a lot through trial and error flying with the Android tablet in general aviation aircraft, and have assembled our top 12 tips:
1. Pre-flight your Android tablet (and verify your charts are downloaded)
What’s our number one recommendation for Android tablet pilots? Always, always, always pre-flight your Android tablet!
Sure, the Android tablet is easy to use and awfully reliable. But just like with your airplane, you want to find out about any issues with your tablet while you’re on the ground (and have an internet connection). This could take 30 seconds or 10 minutes, depending on how you use your tablet and how comfortable you are with the technology. Continue reading