Flight Log - February, 2015
Seattle Avionics Logo

Dear Fellow Pilot,

I'm tempted to make a comment about that little football game a few weeks ago and the fascinating decision to throw the ball on the 1 yard line.  But, no.  That's ancient history and, in Seattle, we can console ourselves in that if we say "Wait 'till next year" it really means next year.  There is a baseball team in New England that had to say "Wait 'till next year" for 86 years.

But this is about aviation not baseball so let's get down to it.  We've had a very, very busy February and March will be even busier so let's catch up.

First, though, I invite you to read and subscribe to our blog.  Not only is it interesting and useful stuff (full disclosure: I generally write it), we also alert you when data for the new data cycle is ready, when new versions of an app are available, inform you of system status issues, and so on.  In addition to reading the blog now, use the Follow button on the right side of the page to get an email when a new post is added.

Each month, the newsletter will cover what's new with our products, include helpful tips and tricks on using them, and sometimes look ahead to what's coming soon.  Back issues can be read from our Web site, under the Company tab.

I'm Steve Podradchik, the CEO here.  I write the newsletter so email me personally if there is something you'd like me to cover next month.  My email address is stevep@seattleavionics.com.  

What's New

Ok, just one quick thing about the Super Bowl:  A few days before the game, we sent a special Super Bowl-related offer out to all our customers.  At the same time, we offered a FlyQ EFB subscription extension to anyone who sent us a photo of himself holding an iPad with FlyQ EFB while wearing a Seahawks or Patriots shirt.  We got a lot of photos from that and I'd like to share a few of them as, honestly, we really enjoyed seeing our customers.

Super Bowl + FlyQ

 Find Cheap Fuel with our New Website
Fuel List

Change Fuel Price

Mobile Fuel Prices

You like cheap fuel better than expensive fuel, right?  It's what's most of us call a "no brainer."  The trick is finding that cheap fuel quickly and easily.  There are several Web sites with fuel prices but we thought the search process needed to be easier.  Our developers went to work simplifying everything and this is the result.

For the past eight months, we've had a top-secret fuel price search and update Web site that we've been using to update fuel prices for FlyQ EFB, FlyQ Pocket, and Voyager from 3,000+ FBOs.  

The Web site is used by FBOs themselves and our team of fuel price specialists when they call each FBO for updated prices.  Now it's available to you, as well.  To paraphrase Tom Shane, now you have a friend in the fuel price business.

Of course you can update fuel prices yourself but the best part is the search feature.  

You can enter an airport name or ident, city name, or zip code and the system will find the least expensive fuel near it.  Sort by Distance from the place you entered or (more usefully, to me) by Lowest Price in the area.  Filter by 100LL, JetA, or MoGas.  

Be sure to try it on your iPhone or Android phone because the Find Nearby button uses your phone's GPS to automatically find the cheap fuel near you without any typing. Bookmark it for handy use when you travel.

Try it now!  It's really fast and really easy to use.  And yes, our forthcoming ATLAS system will have the same feature when it launches (it's demonstrated in the video from a few months ago).

 FlyQ Pocket
FlyQ Pocket
App Store
Google Play

FlyQ Pocket for Android is still on version 1.1 (no fuel prices or FAA airport diagrams) but we're working to update it to the same features as the new iOS version.

As I mentioned in the last Newsletter, FlyQ Pocket 2.1 was released to Apple and waiting for their approval.  We got that a few weeks ago so new FlyQ Pocket 2.1 is in the Apple App Store.  

You can download directly to your iPhone or iPad if you're reading this on your iOS device.  If you're on a PC or Mac, open the App Store on your iPhone or iPad and search for FlyQ Pocket.  Tip:  If you're on an iPad, there is a switch at the top of the App Store that determines whether searches find only iPad apps or iPad and iPhone apps.  By default, the iPad will not see any iPhone apps (like FlyQ Pocket) so you'll need to flip that switch to iPhone to download it.

Version 2.1 is a bug-fix release that addressed a problem where nearby airports were sometimes not shown, corrected a few icon sizes and colors, and improved battery life by only engaging the GPS when the app is actually being used.

If you don't have it yet, definitely download it as version 2 gave the world's most popular aviation app (nearly 100,000 users) a more modern look, added fuel prices from 2,500 airports, and added 700+ detailed airport diagrams.  

An AOPA membership is currently required.  However, both AOPA members and all other pilots will soon be able to use the app for free when Seattle Avionics takes full control of FlyQ Pocket.

FlyQ EFB Overview

Watch FlyQ EFB in 3:00 for a quick overview of why FlyQ EFB is the #1 rated iPad aviation app.

App Store

I was waiting to write this newsletter in hopes that FlyQ EFB 1.5 would be available in February.  Unfortunately, it's still being beta tested and we're a few days away from releasing it to Apple.  Then it takes them some amount of time for Apple to approve and release it to you.

Speaking of beta testing, if you're interested in trying new versions of FlyQ EFB before everyone else, you can now apply to be a beta tester.  

We can't take everyone because good beta testers provide lots of great feedback and we need to make sure we have the time to carefully consider what each writes.  But if you're interested in helping keep FlyQ EFB the #1 rated iPad aviation app, we're interested in learning more about you.  Apply now.

I can't get into much detail about this release but it is a significant release that improves flight planning, adds support for four more ADS-B receivers (including certified and In/Out systems from FreeFlight Systems and NavWorx) so we'll support a total of 13 ADS-B systems, and adds user-defined waypoints.  Plus it fixes just about every bug we've seen.  Lots more, too, but that will be the lead subject of a Newsletter once version 1.5 is released. 


We previewed ATLAS, our all-new Web-based flight planning and information app a few months ago.  Last week, at the Northwest Aviation show, we demoed it live from the show floor.

Development is coming along nicely. It should be released to our beta testers soon.  Watch the video as ATLAS will change the way you preflight.


 Tips and Tricks


Watch and Read about FlyQ EFB
We have many different types of training materials available for FlyQ EFB.  There are dozens of great videos on YouTube, a detailed FAQ, and a Getting Started Guide that answers most questions.  You can also get to any of these from within FlyQ itself via the Technical Support / Help section at the top of Settings.

Download SmartPlates & Charts to your iPhone
While FlyQ EFB requires an iPad, you can use your iPhone as a backup system with our SmartPlates & Charts app. FlyQ EFB subscribers get it for free as part of their EFB subscription.  It's also available starting at just $29 for all other users.

SmartPlates & Charts is not as full-featured as FlyQ EFB but it does what the name says -- gives you exceptionally easy, exceptionally fast access to VFR and IFR maps, geo-referenced approach procedures, and geo-referenced airport diagrams.   Learn more or download it now.

App Store

Wind Optimizer
How often have been out flying and wonder if you should fly higher or fly lower?  Wonder no more.  Rather, just tap the Weather tab then the Winds subtab and you'll see something like the following image (The image on the left is the Wind Optimizer and the image on the right is our exclusive Terrain X-Ray feature.  Isn't split screen great?)

Wind and Measure

Green good, red bad; remember that.  Since the lower altitudes (4,000 ft and below) have red bars next to them, you'd get a headwind if you fly there.  Rather, if you fly at 6,000 or above you get a tailwind.  In fact, the tailwind gets better as you fly higher, reaching a 32 kts tailwind at 16,000 ft.  The light gray bar at 6,000 ft indicates your current altitude.  The Wind Optimizer works with either the last Winds Aloft downloaded from the Internet while on the ground (which is stored on your iPad for use while flying) or from data received live in-flight from one our nine (soon to be 13) supported ADS-B receivers.

Preflight Checklist
iPads are great for being able to store all the maps, plates, and other data you need to fly safely on a small device but you have to download the data before you fly because most of us do not have the Internet while flying (and for those of you who do have the Internet, don't email me and rub it in).

We invented a feature called the Preflight Checklist almost two years ago that makes ensuring that your iPad is ready to go a piece of cake.  Before you take off, simply hit the button at the top of the app that looks like a plane taking off.  FlyQ EFB will check all the data you need along your flight plan (or general vicinity if you don't have a flight plan loaded) and use our standard green and red colored balls system to tell you if you're missing something.  If you do need to download data, either because you never downloaded some areas or because the data is expired, just tap Download in the upper right corner of the window and FlyQ EFB will download just the data you need, not data for all 50 states.

Preflight Checklist

Learn Before You Fly with the Built-in Sim or Use X-Plane
With all avionics, you need to practice before you fly.  Now that the iPad has effectively become a piece of avionics for most of us, you need to practice with FlyQ EFB before you fly.  FlyQ EFB has a built-in simulator that "plays" a flight plan so you can practice flying it.  You can make it go faster or slower, pause it, or even jump to specific points of the flight plan.

GPS Simulator

For an even more realistic experience, use the X-Plane flight simulator on your PC or Mac along with FlyQ.   Be sure the PC/Mac and the iPad are on the same WiFi network so GPS and AHRS data can be sent from X-Plane to FlyQ EFB.  This tricks FlyQ EFB into thinking you're actually flying!

Configuring FlyQ EFB to accept X-Plane input is easy (just one switch) but it's a little tricky to configure X-Plane to send data to FlyQ EFB.  The instruction text within X-Plane varies a bit between versions (one release had an error in it that has since been corrected) so take a look at our FAQ for how to do it.

Configuring Your iPad for Flight
The iPad is an incredible device but it wasn't optimized for aviation.  To ensure the best possible experience using FlyQ, we've created a simple checklist to use before you fly:
  1. Close all running apps.  Do this by double-tapping the Home
    button on the front of the iPad and "flicking" all running apps up. 
  2. Reboot the iPad to clear its memory.   Press and hold both the
    Home and Power buttons (Power is on the top of the iPad) for a few seconds until the iPad suddenly shuts down.  Press Power again to turn it back on.
Then, if you're using an external GPS or ADS-B receiver:
  1. Turn Airplane Mode ON.  This disables all wireless services which solves a lot of issues and saves battery power.
  2. Turn on just Bluetooth or just WiFi as required for your device.  Most GPS units use Bluetooth and all ADS-B receivers, except the Dual XGPS 170, use WiFi.
  3. For WiFi-based receivers, connect to the appropriate WiFi network for your device.  For Bluetooth-based receivers, ensure that the iPad is paired with your device.


FlyQ PocketFlyQ Pocket

Tap to Make METAR / TAF and Flight Plan Text Larger
I'm told that the average age of US pilots is somewhat higher than 25.  Ok, much higher.  That means reading text on an iPhone or Android phone can sometimes be challenging for many of us.  We have two features in FlyQ Pocket to help with that.

Bonus tip:  These same features are in FlyQ EFB on the iPad!

For any METAR or TAF, just tap anywhere in the box to see it full screen.

Small METAR  Large METAR

For a flight plan, tap the Font Size button to switch between normal and larger fonts.

Small Flight Plan  Large Flight Plan

Data ManagerData Manager

Create Your Own USB Memory Stick (Dynon and GRT only)
Many apps and devices use our ChartData to show approach plates, airport diagrams, Sectionals, and IFR Low and High enroute charts.  The Data Manager downloads them to your PC then copies the data to a USB flash drive or SD card.

Dynon and GRT users can bring their own USB flash drive and the Data Manager will copy the data to the stick.  Users of other devices need to purchase a data card from the avionics manufacturer.  The rest of this section assumes you're a Dynon or GRT user.

First, if your PC has a USB 3.0 port (PCs made since about 2012 will, older PCs won't), we strongly suggest purchasing a USB 3.0 compatible flash drive because the Data Manager will copy data it much, much faster.  A USB 2.0 compatible flash drive will work fine but can take substantially longer to copy the Sectional and IFR chart files.  There is no performance difference to Dynon SkyView or GRT Horizon once the data is on the stick.  

Personally, I've used a USB 3.0 flash drive from MX Technology and found it to be incredibly fast (I researched sticks with particularly fast write speeds). In fact, I use it on my MacBook Air for temporary storage when editing videos and find it nearly as fast as the Mac's internal solid state drive.  The 32 GB stick is $49 online.  That said, it's a fairly large stick so if you want something much smaller, Sandisk has a very compact USB 3.0 stick.  It's not as fast as the MX Technology stick but the size might be helpful.  It's available from Amazon for $18.

Once you purchase the stick, it's very easy to configure the stick for use in the Data Manager.  Simply put the stick into your PC, wait for the PC to recognize it, then fire-up the Data Manager.  Select Dynon or GRT as appropriate.  Towards the top of the Dynon or GRT panel, the Data Manager will note if the USB stick is recognized for Dynon or GRT.  If not, there will be a button next to the text that says Create USB flash driveClick it.  

Data Manager with no flash drive

Then select the drive letter with the USB stick you want to prepare (drive I: in the example below).  You'll see some text on the side telling you if the stick can be used for Dynon or GRT as the stick must be formatted as FAT32, have a reasonable amount of free space, etc..  If it can be, look towards the bottom of the dialog box and ensure that Prepare USB flash drive for Dynon SkyView/GRT Horizon is selected then click OK.  This will write some files to the stick so the Data Manager will recognize it but it will not erase any data already on the stick.  In some case, you may also need to format (erase) the stick so that option is also available but only do that if necessary as all data currently on the stick will be erased.

Format flash drive

Finally, if you use a Mac and need to manually download the data, we have a new, very detailed document that explains the process.


Common Questions
Answers to the most common questions about Voyager, such as how to re-install on a new machine, can be found on our Web site from the Support tab at the top of every page.  Select the FAQ link from the Voyager section.

Please let me know if you have any other tips we should share with other users.

Upcoming Events

We just came back from the Northwest Aviation Conference here in Washington state and had a great time meeting fellow pilots.  I gave a talk that compared various ADS-B systems that was very well received (read some comments) and I'll give this same talk at Sun N Fun and Oshkosh.  I'll also be giving some additional talks at those shows.

We'll be at Sun N Fun, Oshkosh, and many of the new AOPA Fly-In events. More details to come.


Steve Podradchik

CEO, Seattle Avionics


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