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Thread: Flying with iPad/Foreflight/Stratus 2S

  1. #1
    Darrel Starr's Avatar
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    Flying with iPad/Foreflight/Stratus 2S

    I have about 15 hours on this installation now and have learned a few things. I really like this setup. It replaces a Garmin 496 which now is in the back seat to send a GPS signal to the ACK 406 ELT.
    1. The iPad is a Mini 3, 128GB with an Armorglas anti glare shield. Audio alerts (runway & traffic) are wired into the PS Engineering Intercom. It is wired into the panel through a circuit breaker using a DROK 3 amp 12v/5v box. The iPad cost $630. With power from the DROK, the iPad easily stays charged to 100% all the time. The screen is bright enough but I wish it were brighter. I have found that flying with a dark shirt on is a big help to keep reflection down. The audio alerts are loud enough with the iPad volume turned all the way up but I would like to have it just a tad louder. It is important to have the iPad angled to be 90 degrees to the pilot's gaze.
    2. Foreflight is the Pro Synthetic version -- costs $175/yr. It works great but I did have it lock up once in Northern MN and had to reboot it -- only took a minute but not good.
    3. The Stratus 2S ($900) provides a WIFI signal to the iPad and "sees" both satellites and ADS-B ground stations -- 600 ground stations exist, 5 of them near the Minneapolis-St Paul Metro area. It is mounted under the skylight and usually picks up all or nearly all satellites -- usually 12 to 16 so the GPS accuracy often is around 1 meter. It usually sees 5 ground stations but that falls off to 1 station (@1500 ft AGL) north of St Cloud and sometimes none over around Eau Claire. It has a lithium battery advertised to last 8 hrs and my experience is that that works out about right. Don't leave it running while on the ground because it has a fan built into it and with no air moving the fan will run and shorten battery life. The Stratus is the key to seeing traffic and weather. Since I don't have ADS-B Out (yet) I get most traffic through a rebroadcast from one of the ground stations. In the Twin Cities Metro area under the Mode C Veil around MSP this works great so that coming into KANE 10 miles or so out, I get most of the traffic shown on the screen that the tower is talking to. We have been alerted already several times to traffic and then seen the plane a moment or two later -- very comforting to get the heads up. It will be a more complete picture once ADS-B Out is installed. One disconcerting thing is that because I don't have ADS-B out, our plane sometimes shows up as traffic. However the few times this has happened, the traffic(us) has been shown way below us as though it were just skimming along 100 or 200 feet off the ground.
    So my early experience is very good, worth the money (one time $1500 plus $175/yr)

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  2. #2
    Darrel Starr's Avatar
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    Also, another recent change is that I am monitoring Carburetor Temp, Channel 6 on the EI Analyzer, showing 37F in the picture on a 50F OAT -- but the goal is to keep it at 39F so I later pulled Carb Heat out a little further. It has surprised me how cool the carburetor runs in cruise and how much heat it takes to keep the temp at 39F. I have noticed that the impact on smoothing out EGT through better atomization at higher carb temps works best at power levels above 2450 rpm. Normally my EGTs are at 1280,1360,1345,1325F without carb heat on. Yesterday with everything stabilized at 2480 rpm, EGTs were 1290,1345,1340,1343. Never seen them that close before so a warm carb helps just as our engine Guru, Darrell Bolduc, predicted. At 39F (4C) the prediction is that atomization is improved and that lead deposits are lessened.

  3. #3
    skywagon8a's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Darrel Starr View Post
    ... so I later pulled Carb Heat out a little further. It has surprised me how cool the carburetor runs in cruise and how much heat it takes to keep the temp at 39F. I have noticed that the impact on smoothing out EGT through better atomization at higher carb temps works best at power levels above 2450 rpm...
    Darrel, It is my understanding that the famous long distance pilot Max Conrad, used to fly his trips with the carb heat on before leaning. He flew with me once.
    N1PA

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    Quote Originally Posted by Darrel Starr View Post
    Also, another recent change is that I am monitoring Carburetor Temp, Channel 6 on the EI Analyzer, showing 37F in the picture on a 50F OAT -- but the goal is to keep it at 39F so I later pulled Carb Heat out a little further. It has surprised me how cool the carburetor runs in cruise and how much heat it takes to keep the temp at 39F. I have noticed that the impact on smoothing out EGT through better atomization at higher carb temps works best at power levels above 2450 rpm. Normally my EGTs are at 1280,1360,1345,1325F without carb heat on. Yesterday with everything stabilized at 2480 rpm, EGTs were 1290,1345,1340,1343. Never seen them that close before so a warm carb helps just as our engine Guru, Darrell Bolduc, predicted. At 39F (4C) the prediction is that atomization is improved and that lead deposits are lessened.

    You said your carb heat runs on channel 6. What do you have on channel 5? I picked up an older JPI 6-channel EGT/CHT that I may install on my -12. Wondering if I could add a carb temp probe, too.

  5. #5
    Darrel Starr's Avatar
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    The EI 8 channel scanner has just one "precision" channel - #6. The manual says that the other channels could have an error up to 4F so only #6 is suitable for carb or outside air temp.
    Up untill now I was monitoring all 4 EGT & CHT. In order to connect the carb temp, I disconnected #1 Cyl CHT and moved #2 cyl CHT from channel 6 to 5. So now the EI scans the 4 EGTs then CHT #2, Carb Temp, CHT #3, CHT #4.
    Check the JPI manual ( probably on line) to see which channel would be best.

  6. #6
    Todd long's Avatar
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    I lov the iPad and stratus. I got the new mini 4 and stratus 2s. The new mini is so much faster than the previous versions. Loads foreflight mush faster. I've us d it on 3 trips into Canada so far this year so far. 2 with the old mini and 1 with the new one. I have us and Canada with synthetic vision. I also us d it on a flight to Florida from MN in our other plane. The onboard WX is really nice to have. I used to just use cellular to keep the WX updated. Reception is good to about 5000'agl usually. But that isn't high enough for our other plane so I bought the stratus. The syn vision was a bonus. But sure is nice to know exactly where the airplane catchers are when scud running.
    Ive used the stratus in the work plane up to 47,000 with great reception. But I usually just poach the onboard wifi there. I've shown many of the other pilots I fly with how great it is, and some have gone out and bought it just for work. For some reason so few of the airline corporat guys like small planes anymore. They miss out.
    Was great to meet another airline pilot who loves Cubs by chance in LAX recently. Canadian Scott.
    my flying partner just bought a PA-12 and put it on floats. New rating to him. Taking him on his first Canada trip next week. He trolls here occasionally. He's going to get the so I set up after seeing how slick it is too. I've been using a kneeboarding with it. Mainly because my panel is a mess and no spot really to put it there.

  7. #7

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    Sat most of the morning watching foreflight with some friends who needed to leave central TX headed toward CA. Foreflight's ceiling reporting has a definite advantage over Garmin Pilot. Can one of you Stratus users tell me whether the Ceiling function works with Stratus when out of cell range?

    Thank you.

  8. #8
    Gordon Misch's Avatar
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    Foreflight's ceiling reporting has a definite advantage over Garmin Pilot.
    Stewart, could you elaborate please?
    Gordon

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  9. #9
    Todd long's Avatar
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    Stewart,
    Yes, the ceiling function works to graphically display ceilings in cellular, wifi and with the stratus.

    Looks like this. ( this is on cellular but is the same on stratus. )
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  10. #10

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    Todd, thanks for the reply.

    Gordon, Foreflight shows the ceiling at all reporting stations (if ceiling is selected) with an easy to interpret color-coded numerical block as Todd's screen show depicts. We sat and watched the sky lift enough to go on a day where the weather predictions were not promising. I had never used my iPad apps like that because Alaska doesn't have the station density like Texas does. It made me aware of another point of comparison between GP and Foreflight and in this example FF had an important advantage over Garmin's cloud overlay function. My friends will be over west TX this morning and cell service there is pretty weak so it had me wondering about the functionality of a Stratus.

  11. #11
    Barnstormer's Avatar
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    The Stratus ADS-B Wx will work fine if you're high enough, and there in lies the rub if you're running in low MVFR. Unless you are really close to the ADS-B transmitting station you won't get any data. I suppose you could plot where the ADS-B towers are as User Waypoints and fly to one to get an update.

    I no longer turn on the Stratus unless I'm too high to pick up cell service. And if I'm in a low population area like west Texas, New Mexico, Wyoming, Montana, etc and I'm relying on updated Wx info, I adjust my route as needed to fly over a city every now and again where I'll get good cell coverage long enough and strong enough to update my Wx display.

    Works well for me in the lower 48 and Canada.
    Phil Whittemore

  12. #12
    behindpropellers's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Darrel Starr View Post
    I have about 15 hours on this installation now and have learned a few things. I really like this setup. It replaces a Garmin 496 which now is in the back seat to send a GPS signal to the ACK 406 ELT.
    1. The iPad is a Mini 3, 128GB with an Armorglas anti glare shield. Audio alerts (runway & traffic) are wired into the PS Engineering Intercom. It is wired into the panel through a circuit breaker using a DROK 3 amp 12v/5v box. The iPad cost $630. With power from the DROK, the iPad easily stays charged to 100% all the time. The screen is bright enough but I wish it were brighter. I have found that flying with a dark shirt on is a big help to keep reflection down. The audio alerts are loud enough with the iPad volume turned all the way up but I would like to have it just a tad louder. It is important to have the iPad angled to be 90 degrees to the pilot's gaze.
    2. Foreflight is the Pro Synthetic version -- costs $175/yr. It works great but I did have it lock up once in Northern MN and had to reboot it -- only took a minute but not good.
    3. The Stratus 2S ($900) provides a WIFI signal to the iPad and "sees" both satellites and ADS-B ground stations -- 600 ground stations exist, 5 of them near the Minneapolis-St Paul Metro area. It is mounted under the skylight and usually picks up all or nearly all satellites -- usually 12 to 16 so the GPS accuracy often is around 1 meter. It usually sees 5 ground stations but that falls off to 1 station (@1500 ft AGL) north of St Cloud and sometimes none over around Eau Claire. It has a lithium battery advertised to last 8 hrs and my experience is that that works out about right. Don't leave it running while on the ground because it has a fan built into it and with no air moving the fan will run and shorten battery life. The Stratus is the key to seeing traffic and weather. Since I don't have ADS-B Out (yet) I get most traffic through a rebroadcast from one of the ground stations. In the Twin Cities Metro area under the Mode C Veil around MSP this works great so that coming into KANE 10 miles or so out, I get most of the traffic shown on the screen that the tower is talking to. We have been alerted already several times to traffic and then seen the plane a moment or two later -- very comforting to get the heads up. It will be a more complete picture once ADS-B Out is installed. One disconcerting thing is that because I don't have ADS-B out, our plane sometimes shows up as traffic. However the few times this has happened, the traffic(us) has been shown way below us as though it were just skimming along 100 or 200 feet off the ground.
    So my early experience is very good, worth the money (one time $1500 plus $175/yr)


    Very nice setup Darrel. This spring I witnessed a cub accident and the injuries that followed.

    Two things I learned:

    1. I'll never stick radios and extra panels below the panel.

    2. I'll never use any extra mounts like how your Ipad is mounted. If you crash....your Ipad will be one of the objects your face will hit. Keep everything smooth above the top of the panel as much as possible.

    2A. Doesn't your Ipad add another blind spot?

  13. #13
    Skycop's Avatar
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    I have the same exact set up. It works very well in the northern 1/3rd of MN as well. I'm based in Hibbing. I took the panel pic on the brightest day I could find...and the display is always plenty bright.

    Ryan

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  14. #14
    behindpropellers's Avatar
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    Ryan,

    Is that a 172? 175? Looks smaller than a 180????

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    Darrel Starr's Avatar
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    behindpropellers -- I'm counting on the Hooker Harnesss to keep my face off the panel. Hitting the top edge of the panel would be really bad. The iPad is off to the side.
    I was very concerned about blanking out anything past the right cowl side. This does blank some vision along the right side but not as much as you might expect -- small enough that I can lean some to the right to still see the stuff just to the right of the cowl. Not something that seems to bother much.
    All and all, I find it to be a giant step forward compared to the Garmin 496. I want to get the Appareo ESG ADS-B transponder to complete the set probably toward the end of next year. Looking forward to having more of the Minneapolis Metro traffic appear on the screen before I can see it out the window.

  16. #16
    Skycop's Avatar
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    Its a 1959 (2014 ) C-175. Lycoming O-360 with the 83" MT constant speed prop.
    Last edited by Skycop; 11-06-2015 at 06:35 PM.

  17. #17
    Darrel Starr's Avatar
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    You can get some idea of how bright the sun light was on the day skycop took the pictures by looking at the vivid reflection of blue & red knobs on the black panel. iPad still looks very readable.

  18. #18
    Gordon Misch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by stewartb View Post
    Todd, thanks for the reply.

    Gordon, Foreflight shows the ceiling at all reporting stations (if ceiling is selected) with an easy to interpret color-coded numerical block as Todd's screen show depicts. We sat and watched the sky lift enough to go on a day where the weather predictions were not promising. I had never used my iPad apps like that because Alaska doesn't have the station density like Texas does. It made me aware of another point of comparison between GP and Foreflight and in this example FF had an important advantage over Garmin's cloud overlay function..
    I get a very similar screen on Garmin Pilot, choosing layers, then overlays, then weather. Then on the map screen lower right, are weather options. Choose ceiling (right above cloud cover).
    Gordon

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  19. #19
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    I flew recently from SOCAL to the PNW and spent most of my time over the mountains on a straight line path to save time. This was my first flight with ADS-B. I've always used XM weather in the past and besides the monthly fee, I have been very happy with the service. ADS-B weather did not work at all for most of my flight. I had ADS-B weather in the valley of CA for maybe an hour and then didn't receive it again until I was close to Mt St. Helens. It seems to work pretty well around the Seattle area, but not really at cub altitudes. Altitudes flown on my flight were surface to low teens. The AHRS and GPS is my only justification for keeping it given my new panel design.

    I'm using the stratus 2s and FlyQEFB. As far as that goes, I've used both FlyQEFB and Foreflight, but got the FlyQEFB lifetime subscription a couple years ago. In my opinion, Foreflight isn't really any better and the Seattle Avionics (FlyQEFB) support is fantastic. Both are overkill for a cub, but they sure are fun to play with.

    I haven't had any issues viewing the Ipad mini in direct sunlight with a matte screen protector.

  20. #20
    mvivion's Avatar
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    Darrel,

    It'll be interesting to see if that I Pad shuts down due to heat mounted high like that. I put mine on my knee, and it's shut down a couple times on me. Takes a while to come back up, by the way.

    And, don't believe for a moment those shoulder belts will keep your face out of that I Pad, or that it's position to one side will prevent a face plant. A good friend was killed in a Cub accident....his face hit the Garmin 96 that was mounted on the left windshield post. His shoulder harness was tight, but his head still hit that GPS.

    I'm using cell coverage for weather. ADS-B was designed for jets. Satellite weather would have been perfect for ADS-B, but the FAA opted to plant transmitters (all of which will require maintenance) all over the countryside, thus providing coverage in the flat lands only. And, not great coverage there if you're low.

    MTV

  21. #21

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    I fly works great don't leave home without it and if you have any questions as to how to use it ask a 10-year-old

  22. #22
    Darrel Starr's Avatar
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    Haven't had the iPad shut down from heat yet. Used it through last summer but was not a sizzler. Very happy with the setup. I have a Stratus ESG Transponder on order (delivery this summer). In my opinion, @ $3500 it is the simplest solution when teamed with a Stratus 2S, iPad & Foreflight to having the total ADS-B package. In the Twin Cities area I usually receive 5 ground stations 1500 ft agl but it falls off in northern MN. Lucky to get one station up around Park Rapids. More ground stations are being built to fill in the blank areas.
    Probably realistically can't protect the pilot in some crashes. If shoulder harnesses, belt anchors welded to floor structure & cockpit "X" bracing doesn't do it, then might get hurt. Still might be safer than our Smart Car or any motorcycle.

  23. #23
    little wing's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by stewartb View Post
    Todd, thanks for the reply.

    Gordon, Foreflight shows the ceiling at all reporting stations (if ceiling is selected) with an easy to interpret color-coded numerical block as Todd's screen show depicts. We sat and watched the sky lift enough to go on a day where the weather predictions were not promising. I had never used my iPad apps like that because Alaska doesn't have the station density like Texas does. It made me aware of another point of comparison between GP and Foreflight and in this example FF had an important advantage over Garmin's cloud overlay function. My friends will be over west TX this morning and cell service there is pretty weak so it had me wondering about the functionality of a Stratus.

    On the shut down question, none on the iPad, but bought a white cover to help reflect the sunlight. 1st and 2nd 796 shut down frequently, even with cool ambiant temps. That's why there's a 2nd, and now the iPad. Roughly the same mounting position as Darrels. Never a problem with the Garmin certified stuff or Pilot. Garmin told me I should just turn the 796 brightness down to level 8, not great in full sun.


    Saw Stuart's post above, included some Pilot pics of the same thing. Haven't posted pics from the iPad before so hope they come through right side up.
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  24. #24
    Larry G's Avatar
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    "It is wired into the panel through a circuit breaker using a DROK 3 amp 12v/5v box. The iPad cost $630. With power from the DROK, the iPad easily stays charged to 100% all the time"

    Darrel
    I tried to do a search on the Drok and can't seem to find it do you have link to this product.

  25. #25
    hotrod180's Avatar
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    I'm curious about the "drok" also. I've seen devices that plug into a 12/14V cigar lighter and provide USB 5V 2A outlets for tablet power. I dislike things like this, they always seem to entail cords all over the place including wrapped around the yoke, flap handle, & throttle. I'd much prefer a 5V USB port cleanly hardwired to a circuit breaker.
    Cessna Skywagon-- accept no substitute!

  26. #26
    hotrod180's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mvivion View Post
    ........ I'm using cell coverage for weather. ADS-B was designed for jets. Satellite weather would have been perfect for ADS-B, but the FAA opted to plant transmitters (all of which will require maintenance) all over the countryside, thus providing coverage in the flat lands only. And, not great coverage there if you're low.
    I'm curious to know how the cell coverage is when you're clipping along at 100-150 mph?
    I don't have a data plan for my tablet, but I do have a hotspot that I use for internet access at home, which I could take along and throw up on the glareshield.

    FWIW I recently bought an 8" android tablet, and installed the free Avare app.
    It doesn't have some of the interesting features that the pay apps do, like the ceiling display in post 9, but as far as sectional, AFD, & navigation it seems comparable. The Avare weather doesn't seem to be updated as often as some of the other apps though- again, maybe because it's a free app and Avare is trying to limit the bandwidth required so they can keep their costs down and continue to provide the app for free.
    Last edited by hotrod180; 01-29-2016 at 10:57 AM.
    Cessna Skywagon-- accept no substitute!

  27. #27
    mvivion's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Darrel Starr View Post
    In the Twin Cities area I usually receive 5 ground stations 1500 ft agl but it falls off in northern MN. Lucky to get one station up around Park Rapids. More ground stations are being built to fill in the blank areas.
    Darrel, according to the FAA, the ground based transmitter system (GBTs) is now complete. Here's a map of the GBT system: http://www.faa.gov/nextgen/programs/adsb/coveragemap/

    The goal was completion of the system by late 2014, but I believe it wasn't complete till a year later.

    Oh, and Park Rapids isn't northern Minnesota......Ely is northern Minnesota.... Though most folks from Minneapolis consider Blaine to be "Northern Minnesota"....

    Sorry, couldn't resist...

    MTV

  28. #28
    hotrod180's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Larry G View Post
    "It is wired into the panel through a circuit breaker using a DROK 3 amp 12v/5v box. The iPad cost $630. With power from the DROK, the iPad easily stays charged to 100% all the time"
    Darrel
    I tried to do a search on the Drok and can't seem to find it do you have link to this product.
    I found it, and several similar devices, by googling 12V to 5V UBS.
    Don't know if it's any good, but one such device that I found was on ebay for only $3.09-- with free shipping!
    Cessna Skywagon-- accept no substitute!

  29. #29
    Darrel Starr's Avatar
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    touché, Mike.
    Been thinking that my iPad may not be overheating because I run it on aircraft power, not the battery. Maybe???

  30. #30
    cubdriver2's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hotrod180 View Post
    I found it, and several similar devices, by googling 12V to 5V UBS.
    Don't know if it's any good, but one such device that I found was on ebay for only $3.09-- with free shipping!
    Some of the motorcycle stuff is better

    http://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_from...sb&_sacat=6000

    2.1amp
    http://www.ebay.com/itm/Exlight-Add-...lWhN6C&vxp=mtr

    Glenn
    Last edited by cubdriver2; 01-29-2016 at 11:48 AM.
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  31. #31
    behindpropellers's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cubdriver2 View Post
    They probably do not handshake with the device to allow maximum charging current.

  32. #32
    Darrel Starr's Avatar
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    The Drok always keeps the iPad charged to 100%. Works great.

  33. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by behindpropellers View Post
    They probably do not handshake with the device to allow maximum charging current.
    Works fine on my Tab3

    Glenn
    "Optimism is going after Moby Dick in a rowboat and taking the tartar sauce with you!"

  34. #34
    Darrel Starr's Avatar
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    Here is the Drok and the cables

    The Bad Elf power cable between the Drok and the iPad

    The audio cable between the Intercom and the iPad.
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    Last edited by Darrel Starr; 01-29-2016 at 08:53 PM.

  35. #35
    mvivion's Avatar
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    10,312
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    In my cub I just wired in a cigarette lighter plug. Then I bought a USB adapter that will power an I Pad, plugged it into the cigarette lighter, and plug whatever needs power into one of the two USB jacks on the adapter. Simple, and I still have the option of plugging in a devise with a cigarette adapter power cord.

    MTV

  36. #36

    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Posts
    357
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    Anyone try the backup attitude indicator with the AHRS on the Stratus2s on iPad mini 4? I have wings pro and skyradardx for attitude indicator, but too much of a lag to make it useable. Thinking of buying stratus2s if the attitude indicator works better on iPad mini 4 with foreflight.

    thanks

    Dave

    Edit - Tried the latest WingXPro software with the SkyRadar-DX AHRS today, and the lag issue seems to be resolved now running on the iPad Mini 4 with the latest software. The manufacture of the SkyRadar-DX unit mentioned they are working on a mod so the SkyRadar-DX will work with Foreflight software too. I use both WingXPro and Foreflight so it would be good to have one AHRS unit for both. Foreflight has the best weather integration.
    Last edited by DavePA11; 01-30-2016 at 02:26 PM.

  37. #37

    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Posts
    4,333
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    The ADHRS in the Garmin Pilot-GDL39 3D combo works in perfect synch with my gryos in my 180. It's impressive. Used in conjunction with synthetic vision it makes the gyros backup instruments. The iPhone 6+ is equally functional and more conveniently sized for my needs. And it's always with me.

  38. #38
    Mikey's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    Everett, WA
    Posts
    515
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    Click image for larger version. 

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    I love my Appareo and iPad Mini

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