Sunday, December 30, 2012

10 Jan 2013 AFD and TPP

The 10 January 2013 AFD and Approach plates are now available.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

13 December 2012 Approach Plates

The new approach plate cycle for 13 December 2012 has been loaded.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

15 November 2012 TPP and AFD

The 15NOV2012 cycle for approach plates and Airport/Facility Directory is live.
VFR and IFR charts will be updated the weekend of the 10th.

Friday, October 12, 2012

FAA Digital Charts...

So, after wandering the AOPA Summit, I've heard a few times that the FAA still wants to go ahead with their Chart Tax(or chart user fee).

As the government can't actually copyright things they publish, I expect this will be handled in a 'trade secret' type manner and requiring contracts between each party in the chain from the FAA to the end user.

Obviously this won't work for chartbundle.

The alternative seems to be going back to the good old days and scanning things from the paper copies.

Right now our system shows that the approximate number of 'sides' needed to be scanned for VFR charts every 28 days is about 30. At $10/scan that's about 300/mo. Plus maybe an hour for a human to do checking, so let's call it $30/scan for $900/mo.

For the IFR charts, every 56 days we have 81 new charts(as every chart is updated every 56 days)
Assuming they can be better automated as they're much simpler, let's call them $20/chart(scan+georeference).  $1620/2 months(56 days)

The more interesing part is the approach plates. Right now, we have 17000 charts loaded for the last cycle. Assuming you could get scan+ocr+referencing for $0.10 per scan, that's $1700/56 days+some amount every 28 days for the change notices. This would require a ton of automation to check the version number and build reference data so the charts are usable.(Charts that don't change wouldn't need full re-referencing, reducing some costs.)

AFD is about 5000 pages, so $500/56 days.

The chart costs themselves add a few thousand.

Adding this all up, for one company it would be about $42000/yr to do all the charts themselves.
(Assuming wild fudge factors) With in-house scanning hardware the ongoing expenses could be traded for capital expenses.

If one could get 10 organizations sharing costs, it's then $4200/yr. More than that it would be an even better price.

Hopefully we don't need to get to this point, but it's financially feasible if a number of organizations got together.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Sunday, September 16, 2012

20 September 2012 VFR and IFR Raster Charts

The 20 September VFR and IFR charts are now live.

In addition we have changed the back end to use a different proxy server, for TMS requests there should be no change(we still support type=google and the base zoom is the same as before). On the WMS side you should be able to get a full WMS instead of a restricted WMS-C. But we still encourage use of TMS for best performance.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

20 September 2012 AFD and Approach Plates

The 20 September 2012 A/FD and Approach Plates are now live.

Additionally we've added the ability to choose current or next cycle for all the pre-created types(ipad, pdf, etc). If it's more than 7 days to the next cycle it now defaults to the current cycle, then the next cycle when within 7 days.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Grand Canyon VFR Chart

The Grand Canyon VFR Chart is now available from our (new) Miscellaneous Charts section.

Since this was created by chartbundle we have included a link for the original GeoTIFF as well as a link to our usual chart page to download in Google Earth, PDF and other formats.

Both the General Aviation and Commercial Operator sides are available.

The recommended contribution is $2.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

GDL39 Protocol Continued

So, I've completed basic functionality for all of the GDL39 protocol. The weather data is not yet parsed but all files are downloadable.

Also, the callback mechanism for the GDL39 to notify the app that the data is ready is not yet decoded, I'm just polling right now.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

VFR Charts 23 Aug 2012

The VFR Charts for 23 August 2012 are now live.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

GDL 39 iOS Protocol

So far it appears the the iOS protocol for the GDL39 is exactly the same as the Bluetooth SPP/RFCOMM protocol but using the iOS ExternalAccessory.framework.

The GDL39 enumerates with 4 protocols(EASession protocolString):

com.garmin.gdl39_a , com.garmin.gdl39_b , com.garmin.gdl39_c , com.garmin.gdl39_d
Initial testing show these 4 perform the same, perhaps to allow multiple running programs to connect at the same time(untested).

Next will be to write some sample code to actually communicate and see if it responds per the previously documented protocol.

Update: After reviewing the docs for the 5th or 6th time, it appears that as a developer you can develop to the GDL39(or any MFI device) you cannot use it without the blessing of the hardware vendor. So, it's doubtful that Garmin is ever going to allow that. Oh well, back to decoding the protocol for devices using unencumbered Bluetooth(and serial as soon as my cable arrives)

Maybe it's time to dust off my idea to make an ADS-B converter box to allow someone with box A to talk to app B.. Of course, it will probably cost as much as a new receiver.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

GDL39 Protocol

I've made a first stab of the GDL39 protocol as used by the Bluetooth Serial Port Profile. No idea on iOS or physical wires yet.

Only traffic so far, but I expect weather to be similar based on the packet captures(ask for file, decode file)

Saturday, August 11, 2012

August 23 2012 Approach Plates

The 23AUG2012 Cycle approach plates are now live on

Thursday, August 2, 2012

UPS myChoice(aka noChoice)

So, I had a package arriving today, signature required via UPS, all of which is fine as I've signed up for their 'myChoice' service which lets me tell them to hold it at the depot, or for a fee pick it up at the closer UPS store. So, I got the tracking info a couple days ago, logged in and tried the 'Change Delivery' button, which just gave me an error. I saw an option for 'Vacation' and for a small fee per package they'd deliver to the UPS store, great, I put that option in.

Today I get home to the UPS yellow note. So, I go in with the new number and find a 'Change Delivery' button again. Yay, now I have an option. The only option is 'Return To Sender'.

Sigh. So I call them.

The helpful lady on the phone tells me that the shipper has said they can't change the shipment, it will be attempted 3 times and then maybe I can go pick it up at the depot. Really, I can't even have them just not put it on the truck tomorrow.

So much fail.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

26 July 2012 AFD and Approach Plates

The July 26, 2012 approach plates and AFD are live on the system now. VFR and IFR charts will be updated next weekend.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

28 June 2012 Charts and Full Chart Downloads

The VFR Chart updates for 28 June 2012 are now live.

And in celebration of the FAA allowing subscriptions through at least mid 2013 for their electronic products we have added (more)full chart downloads.

We had previously added full KMZ charts. Now you can also download to Orux(Orux SQLite format) and any map program which supports the RMaps SQLite format, which we've tested with Locus on Android.

For Orux, you'll receive a zip file that you'll need to unzip in the Orux mapfiles directory. (We use AndroZIP)

For RMaps you'll get a sqlitedb file. Using iOS Safari some applications will use this automatically, and on Android you'll need to use a file manager to move the files to the desired directory after download.

We'll be watching for errors and adding more file formats as time permits.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

28 June 2012 Approach Plates

The 28 June 2012 approach plates(TPP) are loaded and available to create bundles.

VFR Charts will be updated closer to the effective date.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Kindle Fire Bundles

Sorry about that, sometimes our system had an error creating bundles for the Kindle fire(the Alaska Chart Supplement was particularly bad). This has been corrected and Kindle fire creation should work consistently now.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

My Home Simulator

So, for the time I can't go fly or fly certified simulators to keep my currency officially up I have a home sim setup. It's mostly for IFR so the out-the-window display is smaller but the main touchscreen works well.

The flight model and out the window display is from X-Plane on an ASUS Laptop hooked to a 22" LCD with a Saitek yoke, throttles, switch panel and rudder pedals. The avionics display is my desktop PC with a long video cable running SimAvio from and their G1000 simulator(or their non-Glass Cessna or Seminole panels) with an Acer T231H touchscreen.

Click the photo for the full gallery.

Monday, May 28, 2012

31 May 2012 Chart Updates

VFR and IFR charts for the 31 May 2012 cycle are now updated. Flyway PDFs have had their contrast improved slightly and sizes reduced.

Also KMZ full-chart off-line downloads are now available.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

31 May 2012 Updates

The new A/FD and Approach Plates for 31 May 2012 are now live.

The VFR and IFR charts will be updated next weekend.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Flyway Planning PDF Downloads

We've added Flyway Planning Charts to our downloads. These are non-georeferenced and converted to PDF for easy viewing on tablets.

For Android they have been tested on RepliGo Reader, and ezPDF Reader.

For iOS(iPad,iPhone, iPod Touch) they have been tested in Safari and GoodReader.

Follow the Flyway Chart Downloads link here:
Chartbundle Charts - Flyway Chart Downloads

Monday, April 30, 2012

03 May 2012 VFR Charts

The 03 May 2012 VFR charts are now live(Updated Sectional, TAC and WAC)

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

03 MAY 2012 Approach Plates

The 03 May 2012 Approach plates are live now. VFR Charts will be updated this coming weekend.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Kindle Fire Support

We've added direct Kindle Fire support. So instead of a PDF with no table of contents with the native reader you can now get a fully indexed MOBI optimized for the Fire.

You'll see there are 2 Kindle Fire options, one normal and one that says 150%. Both can be zoomed by double-tapping and doing the normal 2 finger zoom, and clicking the X in the upper right to close. The 150% just includes extra data so that zoomed views look better. If you don't need that then we recommend the normal view as it will be a smaller file to download.

Right now, you can upload these files to your Fire using USB, Send to my Kindle or emailing the file to your address. Direct download works but will need a file manager to move them to the correct location.

Soon we'll offer the option to send directly to your address from the website so you'll have the data in just a few minutes(and won't need to wait for our system to convert, it will automatically email when it's done.)

Saturday, March 31, 2012

05 April 2012

The VFR (Sectional, TAC and WAC) and IFR(Enroute High, Enroute Low and Area) charts are now all updated. In addition we're now on a new server which should allow us to optimize performance and caching of charts better.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Android Sectional Charts

So, there are more sectional chart applications on Android now. The problem is that some of them look HORRIBLE.

So, I tool photos of the 4 aviation apps and 1 non-aviation app of roughly the same sectional to show how they look. The areas are crops of the same screen size, the differences in the size of the airport is just slightly different zoom levels for each app.

RMS Technology Express

The less said about this almost totally unreadable screenshot the better.


Not bad.

Avilution AviationMaps:


Garmin Pilot:

Almost perfect, the TACs though start looking a little odd, like they were compressed expecting to be the same size as the Sectional.

OruxMaps with Chartbundle Data:

The best by a hair, but also the largest by far. A full sectional is about 160MB. (Garmin is 70MB or so)

And as a follow-up, yes, Chartbundle is planning for full-sectional downloads for OruxMaps, and Locus in the near future.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

05 April 2012

The Approach Plates and A/FD for the 05 April 2012 cycle are now live.

VFR and IFR raster charts will be up next weekend.

Additionally, we've now raised the limit so that Texas approach plates can be downloaded directly, they had exceeded our 1600 page limit.(The limit is now 2000)

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Skytex Skytab in-flight.

In my never ending quest for the 'perfect' tablet, I sold the HP Slate 2(Perfect Size, screen just too dim). And am now testing out a Skytex Skytab.

First off, the width and height are pretty close to the iPad(it's the same screen as an iPad 2 I think, or at least very similar), but thicker. So, in that sense, it's really a bit too big.

Here's the video showing mounting and location on a Cessna 172:

The actual device is fairly nice, capacitive touch, 2GB RAM, quick processor. And now that I've cracked it open it has a 128GB SSD instead of the 320GB HD it came with. The screen is nice but it consumes a ton of power at full brightness, I'd put it at about 3.5 hours doing flying apps at full brightness.

The downsides, one, it's large as mentioned above; two, the power connector is stupidly fragile. My first flight I mounted it with the power connector down and cabled to an external battery(XP18000) and broke the jack at some point by hitting my leg with the cable. Luckily I had already figured out how to open it with the SSD install so it was just resoldering the jack and reinforcing it with some super glue to the board it was on. In addition, I've swapped the power plug with a right angle one and countersunk the case to reduce the lever arm for the plug some more. And, when flying with an external battery I'll put the battery plug on top, and use the USB on the bottom for the GPS.

So, for now it's a good tablet, and if you like the larger size and want windows it's probably nearly perfect(except the stupid power jack).

My next two that I'm going to be evaluating is the Sol Computer 7" Tablet if it ever actually exists: because the Pixel Qi screen should make the battery life good and improve readability in the cockpit. The other thing I'm looking at is the various 8" non-branded Windows tablets available, with a 1024x768 screen I think the size should work much better, and also at a very nice price point, the 7" Windows tablets all seem to go up significantly in price.

Until next time, on my search for the perfect(not iPad) tablet for my flying.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

08MAR2012 VFR Charts

The VFR Charts for 08 March 2012 have been updated, sorry about the delay, most were done over the weekend, but we had to wait for a replacement DVD for the US West charts.

All are live now.(Sectional TAC and WAC)

Saturday, February 25, 2012

08MAR2012 Approach Plates

The 08 March 2012 Approach Plates(TPP) is now live.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

09FEB2012 VFR and IFR Charts

The 09 FEB 2012 VFR(WAC, TAC, Sectional) and IFR(Enroute High, Low and Area) chart updates have been loaded to the charts page.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

09FEB2012 Approach Plates and A/FD

The 09FEB2012 Approach Plates and A/FD are now live. Sorry about the delay, there were some issues with the AFD provided by the FAA but they're all live now.

VFR and IFR charts will be updated this coming weekend.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Flight to Big Bear City(L35)

This past week I flew into one of the 'official' high altitude/mountain airports in Southern California. At an elevation of 6752 feet and surrounded by higher terrain it's a good challenge. According to my research, it's the 3rd highest public airport in California after MMH(Mammoth Yosemite) at 7135ft, and O24(Lee Vining) at 6802ft.

But at the end of the day, it was a nice simple flight, winds out of the east at 8kts and close to standard temperature. Obviously additional wind or a higher temp/higher DA would have made it a much more 'interesting' flight.

Here's the GPS track: And for anyone interested in the raw KML: MYF-L35-2012-01-11.kml (Large 8MB file)

And, for my first time, an actual landing video.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

12JAN2012 VFR Charts

The chart updates for the 12 January 2012 cycle are now live. As always, be sure to check the status page and verify the correct versions.