Flight Log - May, 2015
Seattle Avionics Logo

Dear Fellow Pilot,

Don't even say it -- yes, this is the May newsletter although it's early June.  We were waiting for two very eagerly anticipated events to happen before sending this and, as fate would have it, we were a few days late.  There will be an actual June newsletter later this month with a lot more.

A few quick notes in case you're short on time:
  • John Rutter (Seattle Avionics President) and I will be at the AOPA Homecoming at FDK on Saturday. Be sure to stop by our booth if you'll be there.
  • Apple has fixed the Bluetooth GPS bug for iOS 8.4.  iOS 8.4 is not publicly available yet but has been in beta testing for some time. Although we can't be sure when they'll release it, we believe there is a good chance they'll release it to coincide with their annual World Wide Developer Conference (WWDC) starting on Monday.
  • FlyQ EFB version 2.0 is now in beta testing.  It's a major release!  If you're interested, join the beta testing team to see it first.
  • The amazing ATLAS Web-based flight planner / aviation info system goes into beta testing next week.  There is nothing like it out there for your PC or Mac.  Sign up to test it now.
  • Major changes are coming to DUAT/DUATS.  The FAA recently awarded the new DUATS contract to CSC DUATS and Lockheed Martin, leaving DTC DUAT out in the cold.  All our products support both DUAT and DUATS so it's a great time to switch to DUATS if you're using DUAT today.

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

There's a lot to talk about this month including the iOS 8.3 problem, a new version of FlyQ EFB, ATLAS about to go public, DUAT, and more.

 iOS 8.3 GPS Bug
Bluetooth Devices


In iOS 8.3, Apple unintentionally broke the way most external GPS units communicate via Bluetooth to the iPad.


That affected all Dual XGPS units (including the XGPS 170 ADS-B device), most Bad Elf units, and the Garmin GLO GPS.


Garmin has since issued a firmware update that resolves the issue for their device.  For other devices, we're all waiting for Apple to simply fix their bug.


Apple, like most software companies, issues test (aka "beta") releases of their new software before publicly releasing it.  They have made at least three beta releases of iOS 8.4 in the past few months.  The last two beta releases fixed the Bluetooth problem.  We have no inside knowledge of when Apple will release iOS 8.4 to the public but my personal guess is that it will be next week during their annual developer conference as they often release software at this conference.  Let's cross our fingers.

 FlyQ EFB version 2.0

FlyQ EFB 2.0 Preview 

As you probably know, FlyQ EFB 1.5 (download now) added a lot of great features including support for the Stratus* ADS-B receivers and the FreeFlight System RANGR series of certified in/out ADS-B systems.


FlyQ EFB 2.0 has a different mission as it's more about changing some of the internal architecture and user interface for better performance and flexibility moving forward.  It's less about adding a lot of new features.


It lays the foundation for the next several years of FlyQ EFB development.

It's been a while coming but FlyQ EFB 2.0 is now in the hands our exceptional beta testers (Not one of them yet?  Join the team).  I won't go into details about it as we have to leave something for the imagination but some of the changes are:

  • Substantially enhanced user-interface.  FlyQ EFB is generally considered to be the easiest to use aviation app on the market but there were some things that we wanted to improve upon to keep our lead.  They are significant improvements that will make you slap your face and wonder why no one else thought of them before!
  • All-new 2D mapping system.  50% faster plus smoother, sharper maps.
  • All-new always-on status indictors for GPS, Weather, and ADS-B battery charge.  In early testing, this was the single most popular feature in this release.

And much more. You can see it in action at the AOPA Homecoming this weekend.

 ATLAS Flight Planner / Info System

We've been working on ATLAS, a whole new concept in Web-based aviation systems, for some time now.  Longer than I'd like to admit, truth be told.  But now it's almost ready to see the light of day.  While still not quite feature-complete, it is undergoing internal testing now and it will be released to our external beta testers next week.


ATLAS is hard to describe because there has never been anything like it. Part flight planner (a really, really good one!), part general airport info system, part cheap fuel finder, part preflight weather system, and so on.  As it's Web-based, it works equally well with a PC or Mac.


Best of all, it magically links with our FlyQ products so you can create a flight plan at your desk with a large monitor and mouse then grab your iPad and fly with the flight plan.  No retyping or file copying  or export/import required.


Want to see it in action?  Join the beta test team.  You'll also be able to see it at the AOPA Homecoming this weekend at FDK.


Watch the original preview video to get the idea.  And keep in mind it has come a long way since the video was made!



 DUAT Changes

Life is about change but sometimes you have to wonder why the government does what it does.  For years, all of us have used either DTC DUAT or CSC DUATS to provide our weather briefings and file flight plans.  They've both worked well and cost the FAA very little to support.

Recently the FAA began using a Lockheed Martin system in conjunction with DUAT and DUATS.  More recently, the FAA decided that three's a crowd and decided to award the long-term contract to just two of the three existing players. 

To cut to the chase, our good friends at DTC DUAT got the short straw.  DTC DUAT has extended their current contract until July 15 but, after that, it's unclear what will happen to them.  Everyone at Seattle Avionics hopes they'll find a way to continue providing their great service and, if not, we wish all of them the very best of luck for the future.  Read more.

FlyQ EFB and Voyager support both DUAT and DUATS today and will support Lockheed's system in the future.  In the near-term, if you're exclusively using DTC DUAT, it's probably a good time to get a free account from CSC DUATS so you can continue getting weather briefings and filing flight plans.


 Tips and Tricks


Make the text BIGGER

FlyQ EFB was designed with 50 year old eyes in mind.  In general, the text in FlyQ EFB is larger than in most other apps but you can make it even larger in two crucial places - reading METARs/TAFs and the NavLog.


Normal text Large text

Just tap a METAR or TAF to see it using a font large enough to read from the back of the plane.  Same trick applies to AIRMET/SIGMET text.  You can also make the NavLog text larger by toggling the icon that looks like a large and small letter A.  As a bonus, these same tricks work in FlyQ Pocket for your iPhone and Android device.


Use the Multipage Scratchpad

Aviation isn't just about putting your hands on the yoke or stick; much of it is about remembering clearances, weather conditions, and other notes.  That's why FlyQ EFB not only has a scratchpad but one with up to eight distinct pages.  To paraphrase the Pringle potato chip people: "Go on, take all the notes you want, we'll make more pages."  Tap the < and > buttons on either side of the page number at the upper right corner of the Scratchpad.  And remember that the scratchpad is even more useful in split-screen mode where you have a map or plate on the other side.


Multipage Scratchpad


Animated Radar Graphics

FlyQ EFB has radar overlays on the main map but they're not animated.  That doesn't mean it lacks animated radar, however.  Go to the Weather tab, select the Gallery subtab and look at animated Regional and Local radar graphics.


Animated Radar


3D Airspace "Slice"

Hopefully you've noticed that flying is a 3 dimensional exercise.  Yet we spend most of our time looking at 2D maps.  In all honestly, a 2D map is generally more useful than 3D synthetic vision but a little 3D, used in particular places, can be very helpful.  A great example of that is the 3D airspace graphic we show when you double-tap the map.  It clearly shows, using colored graphics, which class of airspace you'd be in at that point given your current altitude and which types of airspace you're near.  As usual, it's much easier to make sense of graphics than read text while you're flying.




Get Maps and Plates on Your iPhone for Free
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


Data ManagerData Manager

An Error or Just a Warning?

The Data Manager used for Dynon, Aspen, GRT, and other ChartData downloads works very quickly by downloading multiple files at the same time.  Should an error happen while downloading a file, the Data Manager is what's called "fault-tolerant" in that it retries the errant file a second time later.  Thus, it's perfectly normal and no problem whatsoever if you see a message like "Problem downloading XYZ file.  Will retry later" as that's exactly what it will do.


Similarly, if you see a message while copying to a data card or USB stick like "XYZ file missing," that means that the Data Manager has detected a corrupted file on your PC and deleted it so it won't be used in your avionics.  When you click Download Now again, the now-missing file will be downloaded again and the problem should correct itself.

Contact Support if you have questions about the Data Manager.

Upcoming Events

After the AOPA Homecoming on Saturday, June 6, we'll be at EAA Airventure (aka "Oshkosh") in late July and the September Colorado Springs AOPA Fly-In. More details about each as it gets closer to the show.


Steve Podradchik

CEO, Seattle Avionics



* Stratus and Stratus 2 are trademarks of AFS, LLC. Seattle Avionics and AFS have no business agreement or relationship and AFS has not endorsed or approved FlyQ's support of their products.

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