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)