Saturday, December 31, 2011

12JAN2012 Approach Plates

The Approach Plates for the 12 January 2012 cycle are now live. No change notice file is available as once again Aeronav didn't include the needed files on the DVD. (And they want people to pay even more money for this level of not-service.)

www.chartbundle.com/tpp

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

RAM Tablet Mounts and a HP Slate 2 Review

Tablet Mounting:
So, before getting into a review of the actual HP Slate, I figured I'd mention how I personally mount it in the cockpit(and car if needed)

RAM Mounts(http://www.ram-mount.com/) are what I have been using for many years for mounting pretty much anything to any other thing. For the HP Slate, and for my Samsung 8.9 Tablet, and for my old Motion CL 900, I've been using the RAM-HOL-TAB-LGU(with some pieces removed for the CL900). This comes with 2 swappable pairs of ends for the different sized tablets.

The more interesting part is the system itself, RAM sells packaged bundles including a tray, ball, arm and yoke clamp. Sometimes, this is enough, but over the years I've flown many different aircraft and needed many more options. So, at present, here's what I generally carry when trying to get setup in a new airplane:



So, that's one long arm, 2 medium arms, 2 short arms, 2 connector barbells and a yoke clamp. And then on the cradle side, there's the standard ball, and an offset ball mount that works better sometimes. Personally, I mount so that the RAM arm is under the yoke, here's the system on the CL900: Chartbundle YouTube CL900 Yoke Mount Once I've gotten the mounting right for a particular airplane I stop carrying quite so many parts.

The most important part with any mount is checking to make sure it's not going to get in the way, so as soon as I attach the yoke clamp, I check clearance, then once the whole thing is assembled with the seat adjusted and my kneeboard on I do a full free and correct check. And once, while inflight to a particularly gusty crosswind landing I unscrewed the arm and tossed the whole thing into my flight bag.

HP Slate 2
So, the other half of this is how does the HP Slate 2 do as a cockpit computer. So, the model I have has no GPS, so there's an adapter off the side(in portrait mode) to the USB GPS I use but no other cables(as I don't have a DC adapter or extra battery yet)

Here's the in-flight(very brief) video: YouTube HP Slate 2 in Cockpit

As you can see, there's one significant problem, while I was flying a plane with a high wing so no sunlight directly fell on the tablet, it did reflect me perfectly. This I'm going to try and make better with an anti-glare protector, which seems better in my outside tests, but will check later in an actual airplane.

The tablet performs fine, if you've used a Windows 7 tablet for aviation, there were no surprises at all, perfectly fine performance with Jeppesen FliteDeck, good touch response, battery was fine for the 3.5 hours I had it on(but I forgot to check how full it was when I got done) The orientation lock switch is a nice touch so that when you turn the yoke to check the controls it doesn't keep flopping the display around. Honestly the biggest annoyance is the position of the USB and dock/power connections(top and bottom center in landscape) which will make cables a bit annoying since I usually fly with tablets in portrait.

The best thing, for me, is the size, it's significantly smaller than the Motion CL900 and fits much better in the planes I fly, less panel blocked and gets in the way less. If I can just work out the screen glare I think it will all be good.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Christmas Weekend Flying

A quick trip report on my recent trip from KMYF(Montgomery Airport, San Diego, CA) to KMHR(Mather Field, Sacramento, CA) in a rented Cessna 182RG.

Heading 'North': It's not really North from San Diego to Sacramento, but it's close enough for us pilots. Both directions were done on an IFR flight plan, mostly for airspace avoidance and ease of transition through the LA Basin as there was no significant weather on the flight.

KMYF to KMHR: Filed: OCN V23 SLI V459 LHS GMN V23 LIN. 8000. This was what DUATS suggested and looked like a pretty normal routing, and if it was IFR then Linden VOR is a good transition point to vectors or the full procedure into KMHR(LIN V338 HNW for the full procedure if it were needed)

Cleared: Left Hdg 270 vectors to intercept V23 SLI V459 LHS GMN As filed; 3000; 10000 in 10.
So, pretty much the same routing, but getting us higher sooner.

Flown: Pretty much as filed, with an additional climb to 12,000 over the north part of the LA Basin before crossing into the central valley. A few miles after GMN cleared direct KMHR and kept that until we got the airport in sight.

There were a few bumps over the Tehachapis and widespread haze in the central and Sacramento valleys(4-10sm) but it was a nice flight once I got the Autopilot(Cessna Navomatic 300A single axis) trimmed out and happy.

Numbers:

Fuel: 40.8 Gallons

Departure and Arrival are the crossing times for the respective hold short lines, I love GPS track logs.
Departure: 20:18:45Z
Arrival: 23:05:52Z
Distance(as flown): 413NM
Hobbs: 3.1hrs

Heading 'South' Once again IFR filed, haze in the valley but not enough to log any actual.

KMHR to KMYF: Filed: KMHR LHS V459 SLI V23 MZB, 9000.

Cleared(KMHR Clearance): Lt hdg 150, Vectors Direct FROGO FRA EHF LHS As Filed. 6000, 9000 in 10.
So, that was a bit of a change, but FROGO is a pretty common point for Sacramento area departures.
So, departed, transferred to the first controller who looked at the routing and told me he'd try and get something better.
Cleared: Direct LHS.
Ok, much better.
Flown: KMHR (vector until new clearance) LHS V459 SLI V23 OCN Hdg 130 then the visual for 28R, then really 28L.

So, as usual, unless the initial clearance you get is just wrong, it's almost always better to be in the air and negotiate a better route than sitting on the ground wasting fuel doing it. Although, in both cases I called for my clearance from a handheld to save the fuel.

The rest of the flight was as boring as the flight going the other way. The most fun bit was after OCN(at 7000) once I said I'd expect the visual, I got a descent to 3000, ao about 175kts over the ground in the descent, luckily the air was totally smooth and calm. And ATC also
told me to maintain that speed for the descent. Not quite as fun as when I've been handed off at some airports at 5 miles and 3000 feet high for a visual, but still pretty good. And, of course, as the 182RG has the aerodynamics of a brick with wings once I crossed 3000 there were
no issues getting to a nice gear speed(I prefer 120 or lower even though 140 is approved) and making the runway.

Numbers:
Fuel: unknown but the dipstick showed it should be about the same, didn't wait for the truck

Depature: 20:36:53Z
Arrival: 23:12:18Z
Distance(as flown): 409NM
Hobbs: 2.9hrs
Frequency Changes:14(enroute, not tower or ground)

Tracks: http://wms.chartbundle.com/charts/tms-track.html

Of course, now I want something faster to fly that route, oh well.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

FAA Aeronav and Chartbundle

So, as you all know, FAA Aeronav is going to switch to a pay as much as we want if you want our products model. Basically, this gives Chartbundle two options.

1. Shut down in April.

2. Find a source for scanned versions of the charts that we use for a reasonable price.

Obviously shutting down is the most likely scenario.

You'll notice there is no option 3. Pay Aeronav. as we have two problems with that.
1. Chartbundle has nowhere near the funding to support even the lowest Aeronav pricing tier(about $10,000 as I recall)

2. Aeronav wants DRM or other protections on the (public domain) data distributed. Although the PDF, EPUB and MOBI formats which we use all support DRM, it would significantly reduce the number of working devices and significantly increase our workload to support it with no increase in customer satisfaction.

Obviously, we'll update if things change.

The plan for my personal flying: Subscribe to a paper A/FD, use my Windows 7 tablet for my Jeppesen subscription and hope the Android Jeppesen application comes out soon.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

VFR and IFR Charts Updated

The VFR and IFR charts have been updated for the 15 December 2011 Cycle.
As always, check the status link to verify the current versions.

www.chartbundle.com/charts

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

AFD and Approach Plates 15 DEC 2011

The AFD and Approach Plates for the 15 DEC 2011 Cycle are live now.

www.chartbundle.com

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Approach Plates: 17 November 2011

The 17 November 2011 Approach Plate cycle is now live. This is a mid-cycle update and would usually have a change notice volume available, however as the Change Notice files were not on the DVD and are not available for download until the 16th, the TPPCN volume is not available, please just download the full volumes if you usually use the Change Notice.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Charts Updated

All IFR charts are now live for the 20 October 2011 cycle. As well all updated VFR charts are also live. Please check the status page for current versions.

www.chartbundle.com/charts/

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Motion CL900 in-cockpit review.

While this blog has mostly been about Chartbundle, we occasionally go flying as well. Today I took out my couple month old Motion CL900 tablet for a 'real' flight. I had previously used it briefly in flight but this was the first yoke mounted, real flight.

Advantages
Since it's Windows 7, it can runn full Jeppesen FliteDeck, Jepp charts, plates, everything in one unified program. It's got a large, high brightness screen which was easy to read. Battery life was fine for todays 3 hour flight. Onboard GPS and Cellular wireless, cellular can be activated with any carrier.(I used my T-Mobile SIM in previous testing.)

Disadvantages
It's large. To a point, a larger screen is better, but this thing is just on the border of useful in a cockpit. On a kneeboard/leg style mount, the way I fly, I kept hitting it with the yoke, so I went to a Yoke mount. No good mounts for it, my current mount is a hacked RAM Tab-Tite Large(RAM-HOL-TAB-LGU).

Mount
As part of the pre-flight, I mounted it and realized I didn't have exactly the right parts for this plane, RAM is a great mount system as you can mix and match, but I didn't have the exact lengths I needed. But it mounted ok and cleared my legs and body for full range of yoke travel. It did block the tachometer a bit. The actual mount I don't have photos of, but I removed some material so it accepted the thicker tablet and then shortened the spring so it would accept a longer tablet. Then I stuck a standard RAM ball mount on it.

Here's a video of the mount: CL900 Yoke Mount


Flight
After that, I started it up, loaded FliteDeck and loaded my first route. It followed along nicely during the first flight up until the third route where the on-board CL900 GPS just gave up. The GPS antenna is at the top of the tablet when the IO ports are in the bottom in portrait mode, but it's still not very good inside a plane. Also, it's Windows, which means changing settings by touch isn't always the easiest thing. The pen works great, but then your mount would need a clip for it, I chose to keep it stowed on this flight.

Software
On the plus side, it runs everthing Windows 7 can run, on the minus side, it runs everything Windows 7 can run. As I mentioned, I use FliteDeck, as well as a PDF copy of the AFD and Approach Plates(from Chartbundle, of course) I'd like to try some of the other apps with the more synthetic vision type stuff, but that will have to be a later flight.

Next Steps
Next time, I'm going to take my portable USB GPS(which is really a WAAS Garmin eTrex consumer GPS) and toss it up on the glare shield, sure, it's another cable but it should greatly improve GPS tracking. I have a wide input DC adapter I also need to try to see how that works for extending the battery(it should work in both 12 and 24 volt systems) And finally, I need another RAM component to give me a little better articulation on the mount(one of the shortest arms).

What I really want
What I really want is a tablet like this which can run full Jeppesen and other software but in smaller hardware, either a 8.9"/9" screen or this screen but with a significantly smaller bezel and thinner package, and an on-board, high sensitivity WAAS GPS wouldn't hurt either.

Why Not an iPad
The iPad is still a bit large, and there's no standard USB port, so either proprietary cabled devices or Bluetooth or WiFi. Since I do fly actual IFR, I'm a little concerned about having random transmitters inside the plane, yes, I even turn off my phone.


Thursday, October 6, 2011

20OCT2011 Updates

The TPP(Approach Plates) and Airport Facility Directory for 20 October 2011 have been updated.
IFR Charts will be updated the weekend of October 15th. With the new FAA Download changes and the fact that we have been unable to purchase the VFR DVDs, VFR charts will hopefully be updated the weekend of October 22nd.

www.chartbundle.com

Monday, September 26, 2011

Alaskan Charts Corrected

There had been some glitches with the VFR and IFR raster charts in Alaska which crossed the dateline(180W). These have been corrected and the caches flushed. Sorry for any inconvenience.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

VFR and IFR Chart Updates

All the new VFR Charts for 22 September 2011 have been updated. In addition the code which creates all our charts has been updated. Significant improvements will be visible in the IFR charts.

www.chartbundle.com/charts/

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

22 September 2011 Approach Plates

The approach plates for 22 September 2011 are now live.
www.chartbundle.com/tpp/

Monday, September 12, 2011

Android Tablet Flying

Took the Samsung 7 inch Android tablet flying this weekend. Used the charts from www.chartbundle.com/charts/ along with OruxMaps and MOBAC(links on that page). For mounting, used the new Tab-Tite Mount from RAM.

Worked pretty well, live TAC and Sectional with GPS tracking to keep me headed in the right direction.

Video of the yoke mount installed.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

VFR and IFR Charts

The updated VFR charts and all IFR charts are now on-line for the 25 August 2011 Cycle.

www.chartbundle.com/charts/

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

25 August 2011

The 25 August 2011 Terminal Procedures and AFD updates are live.

The raster charts expiring have not yet been updated, but will be done by the 25th, please use the status link on the charts page to verify the current loaded versions.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Chartviewer and Chart Updates

One update to the charts themselves, the IFR charts have been changed to use a better display format. This should make them look less 'fuzzy'. Only the Enroute Low have been processed, the Enroute High and Area charts will be updated next cycle.

The chart viewer has two new features:

1. Downloadable PDF. Click the link for portrait or landscape in the header bar to get the current view downloaded as a high quality PDF. This function includes the Gridded VFR views. It may take a minute or two for the system to create the PDF. These PDFs are the same format as the web view and thus distances and angles will be incorrect and unsuitable for navigation.

2. Quickzoom. Enter an identifier(Airport, Fix or Navaid) in the box and hit enter and go there quickly.

www.chartbundle.com/charts/

Monday, July 25, 2011

Gridded Chart Viewer Live

We've added CAP/SAR Grids to our Chart viewer.

Choose the + in the upper right and Sectional or WAC with Grid.

You have to zoom in a bit before the grid starts showing. This includes both the Conventional(ORD-489) and Cell(40090CC) grid identifiers. Sorry, no Alaska yet.

If you are using OruxMaps or MOBAC, we don't yet have configuration files, but for the technically inclined, the new layers are 'secgrids' and 'wacgrids'.

Check: www.chartbundle.com/charts/ for more information as we progress.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Charts

Our chart service is now live. We have a web based viewer as well as configuration files for MOBAC(the Mobile Atlas Creator). You can download Sectional, Terminal Area, World Aeronautical, Enroute Low, Enroute High and Area Charts.

www.chartbundle.com/charts/

Monday, July 18, 2011

28 July 2011

The 28 July 2011 update for approach plates has been posted.

www.chartbundle.com

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Barnes and Noble FAR Update

We've updated the FAR on-sale at the B&N store to be faster when used on the nook by breaking up some of the larger parts. There should be no visible difference except the faster speed(and previously referenced page numbers may no longer match)

You should be able to get the newer version by Archiving and then re-downloading the book if you've already purchased it. The new version will have an ID Code starting with 'BD' at the end of the table of contents.

Friday, June 24, 2011

30 June 2011

The 30 June 2011 Approach Plate and Airport Facilities Directories are now live on the site.

www.chartbundle.com

Sunday, June 19, 2011

What's next.

So, apart from the regular updates we've been working behind the scenes to provide access to the FAA raster charts.(Sectional, TAC, WAC, and IFR Enroute) We plan to provide WMS(Web Map Server) access so that various third party software products can use our service to download tiled maps to devices. We've been testing with the Mobile Atlas Creator(MOBAC) with encouraging results. We hope to have this available to the public within the next month or so. Due to the large data sizes and heavy compute requirements this will be a for-pay service with a monthly fee(below $5/mo).

For anyone who writes map display software we'd be happy to discuss access/licensing for your customers.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

NOOK Simple Touch Reader

We've updated our system to add the new NOOK Simple Touch Reader as an ePub option. The available height is the same as the older NOOK but we can now use full screen width. So we get a bit more space to put the Approach Plates, AFD and converted books on.

Much like the NOOK Color, you'll need to tap the center of the screen, choose Text and make sure "Publisher Defaults" is checked.

And of course, our FAR and AIM from the B&N Bookstore work fine as well.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Books and more Books

The May update for the FAR is now available at all the bookstores(Amazon/Kindle, Barnes & Noble/Nook and Apple/iPodPadPhone)

In addition, to the free content(graphical conversions or PDF) we've added Aerodynamics for Naval Aviators and the Aviation Maintenance Technician Handbook - General(This is the newer version, not the Advisory Circular version.) As always, contributions are appreciated(or just buy a copy of the FAR eBook)

www.chartbundle.com/books/

Monday, May 23, 2011

02 June 2011 Approach Plates

Another 28 days, another set of approach plates. Posted with the pre-caching done. Most volumes should create quickly.

http://www.chartbundle.com/v2/index_tpp.cgi

Saturday, May 14, 2011

FAR Update

The FAR has been updated as of May 1, 2011. The new versions are up for Kindle/Amazon and Barnes and Noble. The iBooks version should be updated shortly(will be on a new product page in the iBookstore)

Links here: www.chartbundle.com/books/

Saturday, April 23, 2011

05 May 2011 Updates

The 05 MAY 2011 Cycles for Airport Facility Directory and Approach Plates have been loaded.

Friday, April 1, 2011

07 April 2011 Approach Plates

The 07 APR 2011 Cycle is now live, and many ebook reader formats have been pre-cached to speed up generation of files.

www.chartbundle.com/v2/index_tpp.cgi

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

10 March 2011

The 10 March 2011 AFD and Approach Plates are loaded and live on the system.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Instrument Procedures Handbook

The FAA Instrument Procedures handbook has been added to the books collection. I found this to be one of the best FAA publications for my Instrument training and flying.

It will take a bit longer than usual for it to convert to EPUB and MOBI until the cache is created so please be patient.

www.chartbundle.com/books/

Monday, February 14, 2011

Reverse Video and iPad EPUB

We've added a reverse video checkbox for all the custom epub/mobi formats. It makes colors a little strange but may be useful for night flying.

Also we've added a full-resolution iPad option for EPUB creation(custom versions only, not the /ipad link) it even seems to be fairly fast and readable if you load the same file into your iPhone or iPod touch. You can directly download from mobile Safari and it should ask if you want to open the file in iBooks.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

10 FEB 2011

The 10 FEB 2011 Approach Plates(TPP) are now posted.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

FAR and AIM for iBooks

We've temporarily discontinued the FAR and AIM in the iBookstore until we can get some performance problems worked out. For now, we recommend the nook or Kindle versions using the nook or Kindle application on your iPhone, iPod Touch or iPad.

We've updated the links on the books page appropriately: www.chartbundle.com/books/

Saturday, January 15, 2011

GoodReader Updates

We've added some code to be a bit smarter for iPad, iPod Touch and iPhone users.

Our system now detects these devices and will give you a direct to GoodReader download option.(Automatically putting the g in front of the URL)

Also the iPad direct link tppl.mobi/ipad will also detect these mobile devices and NOT automatically redirect to a download, allowing you to choose the link that you prefer.

We've had reports of poor searching functionality with GoodReader, we are currently working to add appropriate search hints to our files to make searching more useful for all devices.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Updates!

So, lots of work over the long weekend.

The 13 JAN 2011 AFD and Approach plates are live on the system.www.chartbundle.com/v2/

In order to speed up EPUB and MOBI we've pre-processed any files that were used for the last cycle. So if you requested SW-2 on Kindle DX for the last cycle, it should go much faster for this cycle. We'll continue doing this for future cycles(anything used in the previous cycle we'll try and pre-process to speed up)

There is a new checkbox at the bottom of the already complicated pages to create AFD and TPP that lets you set a cookie to save your device settings. Check the box and when you come back to the page the same output format and device options will be selected. Uncheck the box(and click Verify Options) and we delete the cookie.

The new complete 01 JAN 2011 FAR is now available(or will be soon) at the usual places(Lulu, B&N, Amazon and iBookstore) And part 61+91 are available for free for MOBI and EPUB at www.chartbundle.com/books/