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The best portable GPS with approach plates?

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The best portable GPS with approach plates?

Old 5th Apr 2010, 15:48
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The best portable GPS with approach plates?

Just wondered if anyone has any clear views on this? Thinking of upgrading from my G496 to a G695 - however the 695 is substantially larger than the 496 - are there any other portable GPS devices (with approach plates) that are smaller than the 695 but are still very good GPS's?

thanks.
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Old 5th Apr 2010, 18:39
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I don't think this exists as such.

The only way to get approach plates in Europe is to buy a Jeppview subscription, and that needs a windoze/80x86 machine to run on. You can do this with any windoze-running tablet computer (this one looks interesting, though not really sunlight readable) but it won't be cheap - about 2000 just for Jeppview Europe and the computer is on top of that. That will come with FliteDeck which gives you a rather crude but functional moving map display, over enroute and terminal charts (not SIDs/STARs as those are not drawn to scale).

Don't get confused by American-market-only products which show the free U.S. charts. None of them work in Europe where Jeppesen have a monopoly on usable terminal charts.
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Old 5th Apr 2010, 21:16
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Ahh, didn't realise that Jeppesen had a monopoly on European usable charts. Why is that?

Are there no other databases that can be adapted to use on something like a 695? Just thinking aside, does that mean that with something like a G1000, there are no approach plates either?
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Old 5th Apr 2010, 21:34
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Just thinking aside, does that mean that with something like a G1000, there are no approach plates either?
No, it doesn't. JeppView European IFR electronic charts are available for glass cockpit installations such as the G1000 and also for stand-alone MFDs like the Avidyne FlightMax.
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Old 5th Apr 2010, 22:02
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So does that mean that there is no option for VFR GPS with approach plates in the UK / Europe at all? Is the Avidyne IFR only and how much are they? Just did a quick Google search and came up with nothing!
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Old 5th Apr 2010, 23:40
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No problem, get:

1 Fujitsu P1610
1 Power supply (Lindt)
1 Ram mount (Yoke mount)
1 Bluetooth GPS (OBS battery life)
1 Jeppesen Navsuite subscription for whatever area you need

Voila . Works perfectly. You can set up arrival/departure procedures as well, but won't overlay as IO540 indicates.

Only drawback is that VFR charts are European, not US type for Europe (ie poorer)

Of course you can also have a look here if you want to spend more $: http://www.volpe.dot.gov/hf/aviation...industry07.pdf

Alternatively if you don't need enroute (moving) maps, you might as well pick up the an iRex eBook and download the PDF versions of the fields you need. Cheaper, but not quite as neat.
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Old 6th Apr 2010, 07:27
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Indeed.

If you go down the e-book reader route (i.e. display only, not a GPS moving map) then I would not recommend Irex. I had the Iliad. The Kindle DX is the way to go, currently. But the user interface on all these is painful, due to slow speed. And, despite initial promises, their battery life is no better than any half decent 80x86/windoze tablet. Even the Ipad should make a reasonable e-book reader (about all one will be able to do with it, in the aviation context).

The issue with e-book readers (and we did this here a short while ago) is that one needs a means of generating PDFs in bulk. No official means of doing this from Jeppview (although it could be done), no official means of grabbing a lot of the free EAD plates (although it could be done; in fact it was done a few years ago but as soon as a few beta testers were lined up, somebody leaked it to Eurocontrol and right away they changed the website to stop it working)...

The free EAD plates are mostly poorly drafted (to avoid competing with Jeppesen ) and need a larger and higher-res display than the Jepp plates which were designed to display OK on 800x500 or so. The P1610 is about the minimum usable display resolution/size.

I currently fly with a now obsolete LS800 tablet (80x86/windoze) but IMHO the best "EFB" solution right now is a modern tablet / convertible laptop like the one I posted a link to. These are no better functionally than the P1610 (or its successors) but are lighter, thinner, have a better battery life which does away with in-flight charging leads (I m assuming you are not leaving it in the plane!), and come with a GPRS/3G radio which makes it easier (when not on a roaming connection ) to load them up with the odd plate for an ad hoc change to a planned trip. Within the UK, non-roaming data costs virtually nothing (say 30p/day for 20MB) and most of the time one cannot find a wifi connection.

The remaining issue, not likely to go away soon, is a lack of sunlight readability. Only the "military" tablets (starting with e.g. the Xplore ix104) solve this, at a vast cost and weight. Been there, done that, and they are useless for flying with.

E-book readers don't have a sunlight readability issue but due to the slow display technology they cannot do a GPS moving map.

That's why the certified EFB products all use custom construction, with a cable leading to a box under the dash where the "computer" sits.

The other thing one can do with a windoze based tablet is that a pilot who is cool as a cucumber can pick up a used Thuraya/Hughes 7100 satellite phone, PAYG SIM card and a USB lead on Ebay for under 400, and get weather data and send texts/emails etc while airborne

Last edited by IO540; 6th Apr 2010 at 07:49.
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Old 6th Apr 2010, 17:39
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EFB size is a trade-off between readability and space availability. Get the biggest you can for the space you have available. The issue is not so much screen resolution as screen size. Any convertible Tablet PC with blue-tooth can do the job.

The Fujitsu is about the minimum size for readability, and for me the maximum that I have space available for (on the yoke).

Readability is close to acceptable (not great) in direct sunlight, problem is more acute with night situation (as approach plates are white). My solution: Red piece of PVC overlay.

Advanced Data Research Florida - Electronic Flight Bag and Mobile Data Collection Service Providers does a special adaption of the Fujitsu to deal with both the sunlight and the night-vision issues. Don't know how successfully though, but surely must be a little better than straight out of the box?

The Jeppesen software is excellent when flying IFR, and acceptable when VFR.

The LS 800 was indeed the other one I looked at at the time.

(and no I don't leave the thing in the aircraft since I'd rather not be buying new ones all the time. I also use it for flight planning etc)

PS. Always carry paper copies or at least an eReader with the approach charts.
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Old 6th Apr 2010, 18:09
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That's an interesting link... I guess they stick some polariser on the front. This is sold on the "rugged" tablets under various brand names e.g. All-Vue, for a few hundred quid extra....

The problem is that there is no way to get away from the very high cost of the Jepp subscription. It is about 2500 for all of Europe, VFR and IFR, per year. Almost no private pilot is going to pay that kind of money.
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Old 6th Apr 2010, 20:48
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Why do Jepp have a monopoly ? Is the data public domain ?
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Old 6th Apr 2010, 21:21
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Is the data public domain ?


The data is produced with taxpayer funds in just about every country. Jeppesen lift it from the national AIPs and other publications, redraft it in a standard format, and sell it in various forms.

There was a legal dispute between the Australian CAA and Jeppesen, a few years ago. It was settled quietly - presumably Jepp agreed to hand over some money for the data they used to pick up for free.

Similar issues arise with Ordnance Survey in the UK, whose maps were produced with taxpayer funds but who very aggressively held onto the copyright and commercialised it as much as they could. I heard something on the news recently though ... this may be changing, and not a day too soon. I wonder what memory Map thinks of this? Most of their business is flogging O/S maps.

In the USA, the government drafts the terminal charts in a cockpit-usable form, and these are more or less free. In Europe, the governments have chosen to draft them in a form which is not really cockpit usable - A4 size and lots of small print. I once asked the CAA why don't they do it in A5 format etc; they replied they are not in the business of competing with commercial terminal chart providers.......

This is why Jepp charge far more money for terminal charts outside the USA.
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Old 6th Apr 2010, 23:15
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The problem is that there is no way to get away from the very high cost of the Jepp subscription. It is about 2500 for all of Europe, VFR and IFR, per year. Almost no private pilot is going to pay that kind of money.
I think I paid about $1500 for worldwide VFR + Europe IFR last year
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Old 7th Apr 2010, 00:56
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Taken from todays "Times."

"Last week the OS itself changed, radically, after agreeing to provide free and unrestricted online access to many of its maps. For the first time, British map users can now download accurate and official cartographical data without paying a penny.

The decision to open up most of the OS maps comes at the end of a long public consultation. With online services such as Multimap and Streetmap offering free mapping in a host of new ways, the Government has come under increasing pressure to release its cartographical databanks.

Hitherto, the State has retained copyright in anything created using OS data. By waiving that copyright, the path is now open to entrepreneurs to use the information to create new businesses incorporating this trove of information. A report by a team at Cambridge University found that making OS data free would cost the Government 12 million, but bring commercial benefits worth some 156 million and sufficient taxes to compensate for the loss of income.

But the Government could not bring itself to part with all its cartographical jewels. To the dismay of ramblers and other countryside groups, the free data released last week does not include digital versions of the 1:25,000 Explorer and 1:50,000 Landranger series, the most popular paper maps.

These are precisely the maps that most people use to explore the countryside, something the Government says it is keen to encourage. It seems perverse that while businesses can now obtain sophisticated OS data for free, the public must still pay, directly contradicting the principle that information gathered at the expense of taxpayers should (with the exception of data relating to national security) be available to those taxpayers at no additional cost."
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Old 7th Apr 2010, 07:28
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I think I paid about $1500 for worldwide VFR + Europe IFR last year
I think you got "Jeppesen Europe" which is Europe west of the Iron Curtain, and not the northern bits

I think that is about 1500, VFR and IFR.

To get what is traditionally called Europe, i.e. Portugal to Slovakia, Greece to Finland, you have to pay helluva more. You have to buy the supplements e.g. Eastern Europe...

But the Government could not bring itself to part with all its cartographical jewels. To the dismay of ramblers and other countryside groups, the free data released last week does not include digital versions of the 1:25,000 Explorer and 1:50,000 Landranger series, the most popular paper maps.
Presumably because Memory Map would sue them for a breach of contract / business damage. These are the ones which MM resell.

The govt should have never allowed itself to fall into this trap, where somebody has got them over a barrel. For this reason, I hope they are not selling any AIP data to Jeppesen.
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