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Using a Car GPS for Flight Navigation

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Using a Car GPS for Flight Navigation

Old 2nd Jul 2019, 11:21
  #1 (permalink)  
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jul 2019
Location: montreal
Age: 25
Posts: 1
Using a Car GPS for Flight Navigation

I fly an ultralight. Typical altitudes are 500' AGL and navigation is by landmarks. Where I can't recognize the landmarks, or where distinct landmarks do not exist or are far-between, I switch to using uncorrected compass bearings -- good enough, considering the relatively short legs and the mild-wind days I select for flying.

Recently I installed in my plane a car GPS device (QUE NQ-503) running a cross-country land navigation software. (After all, the difference between 500' AGL and an SUV's 5' AGL is not all that big.) The software is basically a moving 1:50,000 topographic map on which one can add routes and labeled waypoints. To navigate, all one has to do is keep the GPS position marker on the prepared route. Can't ask for anything more.

For about 10 flight hrs this device performed just fine. Then hardware problems set in which gradually made it useless. I suspect the reason lies in the harsh acoustic and vibrational environment (unbearable without a headset on) that exists on the dashboard where the device has been installed. Indeed, when I moved it back to my car the problems went away.

My questions:

1. Anyone out there with a similar experience?
2. Any suggestions as to how to protect the device from the environment?
3. Are aviation GPS devices guaranteed to withstand an ultralight cockpit
acoustic and the vibrational environment?
4. What kind of backup people use in case the GPS malfunctions (apart from
radio homing)?
5. Anything else that might be helpful in this respect.

Thanks for the advice
Vebroma is offline  
Old 2nd Jul 2019, 22:14
  #2 (permalink)  
Join Date: May 2000
Location: Seattle
Posts: 3,105
2. If vibrations are the problem, try isolating it with a closed-cell foam or similar.

3. No.

4. paper charts and ded reckoning.
Intruder is offline  
Old 3rd Jul 2019, 08:50
  #3 (permalink)  
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: Lost again...
Posts: 523
Try an iPad mini with something like Skydemon - strap it to your leg using one of the many "kneeboard' type cases available. This will provide vibration damping. SHort flights as you describe means battery life will be fine so no need for power.
OvertHawk is offline  
Old 4th Jul 2019, 09:16
  #4 (permalink)  
Join Date: Apr 1999
Location: In front of a computer
Posts: 1,814
something like Skydemon
As Vebroma lives in Canada that should read "something like Foreflight"
ETOPS is offline  
Old 4th Jul 2019, 18:25
  #5 (permalink)  
Join Date: Dec 2014
Location: Midlands
Posts: 113
Motorcycle GPS units are manufactured with vibration environment in mind. My 10 year old Garmin has twice gone for a walk at 70 mph, apart from a few scratches it it work like new.
Planet Basher is offline  
Old 5th Jul 2019, 10:13
  #6 (permalink)  
Join Date: Dec 2015
Location: Southampton
Posts: 89
"Caution! There is a speed camera ahead".

Garmin make some relativey low cost GPS units for aviation use. Failing that, a unit designed for hiking/outdoors pursuits that features a topo map display would be better than a car orientated device.
Tech Guy is offline  
Old 6th Jul 2019, 23:38
  #7 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jul 2019
Location: West Coast, USA
Posts: 1
Not sure whether it will show the type of topo and surface features you're looking for, but have you looked into an iPad or iPad Mini (the one with GPS) with the ForeFlight app? The app requires a subscription, but it's super useful and might solve your problems. Might be overkill for an ultralight though. Also there are lots of mounting and vibe-dampening options for the iPad (check out Ram Mounts.)
RogerMexico is offline  

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