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Thread: Aviation use Computer advise. Small lap or net-book style.

  1. #1
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    Default Aviation use Computer advise. Small lap or net-book style.

    Let me preface this....I know next to nothing about computers. I have never owned a lap-top or tablet.

    I am looking for something fairly small to take in the truck and in the plane to do on-the-spot FAA forms, maps, doc writing and lesson plans. Plus I need to be able to go online at wi-fi spots for the FAA IACRA system and check-emails while traveling.

    Instead of an Andriod system I think that a windows system would be better so I can transfer documents back and forth to my home base computer.

    I would like a key board. A detachable keyboard would be nice so I could use it like a tablet in the plane for a moving map.

    I drove up to Los Anchorage for two days and went to Best Buy, Walmart, Fred Meyers, Sams Club and the BX on Elmendorf.
    I did not learn much other than the fact that customer service is DEAD in those stores.

    Business has been slow so price is a factor.

    Any Ideas???
    Floatplane,Tailwheel and Firearms Instructor- Dragonfly Aero
    Experimental Hand-Loader, NRA Life Member
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  2. #2

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    Find a friend and test drive their tablet while covering your questions. Windows is a very secondary system on tablets and would severely limit the applications you could find and use. Conversely, all Android and iPad tablets have interfacing software that allows you to open and work in MS documents. They are not full versions, but unless you really maximize the dark corners of what MSOffice can do, you will likely have everything you need.

    I use Android and file flight plans via Naviator, which is where all my charts are. I will likely not buy another paper publication from the FAA again.

    The most common iPad solution is Foreflight, which is also an excellent program.

    Flightplan.com also has a mobile app that can be used for weather briefs and filing flight plans.

    You can buy a bluetooth keyboard for any of the tablets that allows you to type in familiar fashion. If you want it in the plane as a moving map, the full 10 inch versions get a bit cumbersome. That's why I settled on an 8 inch tablet. If you want to do more work on documents, then a bigger screen is better...as always you have to evaluate tradeoffs.

    If you are interested in a good price you can keep an eye on the tablets in the computer section on Woot.com. I got my 8 inch Samsung tab 3 for $120 a few months back.
    14 Days to Alaska
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  3. #3

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    I use an iphone with a GPS reciever but I recently tested it on a commercial flight and foreflight lost signal. The GPS reciever showed that it was connected but I got no blue dot. My instructor swears by it, perhaps I have a faulty reciever but since mine failed I might just get an ifly gps.

    I am going to have him test my reciever to make sure its not something wonky going on with my phone. He ferryed my plane back with 2 ipads and forflight but most of the time he was in cell range or following the coast.

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    I believe the aviation guys at one of the local oil companies (737, Casa, Twin Otter) use Tough Books, and I know the cargo guys at Polar/Atlas use them because I've used them, however, I would suggest you look at a Surface Pro 3. Touch screen, detachable key board, Windows based OS (Widows 8 I'm sure), compact, lightweight, good battery life. My gf (an IT professional) is buying one soon to replace her iPad. (With any luck, I'll get the iPad lol.)

    Edit: PS: I know that at one of the larger aviation companies, they dropped the Toughbooks, or maybe they didn't get them for the ground crew guys because a true Tough Book is so expensive, that you can buy a cheap netbook or laptop that will run 2-3 years, toss it, and buy another and still be ahead of the game. I expect you will retain some sort of redunant way to file all of your form in case of a computer failure in the field.

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    my clear choice is an iPad. Everything else is a wannabe. Get a 3G model even if you don't want cell connectivity. Only the cell versions have internal GPS. You don't need cell service to use it. For all things including aviation the app market is all about Apple first. Foreflight and Garmin Pilot are impressive apps and make an iPad a better aviation GPS than the Garmin in my panel. When Foreflight makes the full version available on the new iPhone 6 plus I won't even take the mini most of the time, but for now iPhone can't support Foreflight documents while the iPad can.

  6. #6

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    I have a work iPad and I greatly prefer my Android device, and I'm pretty handy with computers. Not saying anything bad about iPads, just that they aren't better in my opinion. And I greatly prefer the file structure and transparency of Android systems.

    But they both work fine.

    The Microsoft-based tablet line is much less likely to work well as an EFB to replace paper charts and AFD's. I just went to the Microsoft store to see what is offered, and the answer is basically nothing that resembles Foreflight or Naviator or Garmin Pilot. The only thing in there that looks at all useful is just a program to download and display sectionals. That is better than nothing, but compared to the Apple and Android options, it is pretty pitiful.

    Happy shopping.
    14 Days to Alaska
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    Anybody ever use a Nexus 7 or Nexus 9 ?
    Floatplane,Tailwheel and Firearms Instructor- Dragonfly Aero
    Experimental Hand-Loader, NRA Life Member
    http://site.dragonflyaero.com

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    I use the Nexus 7 with Naviator. I am well pleased with it. I don't do documents so I can't speak to that. I'm happy with it's performance as a moving map display and the electronic AFD/Sectionals. $35 a year for the subscription, free the first month I think.
    The 7 inch is large enough to see well and doesn't fill up the cabin. And it's a good tablet for e-mail, web surfing, videos, etc. Next time you're in Anchorage I'll show you my set up and let you try out the tablet if you're interested.

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    I am also looking at the Nexus 9.... I wonder if it would be too big and thus more likely to be left behind. The 7 inch version strains my eyes, but it is sure a handy size. Getting old sucks....
    Floatplane,Tailwheel and Firearms Instructor- Dragonfly Aero
    Experimental Hand-Loader, NRA Life Member
    http://site.dragonflyaero.com

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    Quote Originally Posted by Troy Hamon View Post
    I have a work iPad and I greatly prefer my Android device, and I'm pretty handy with computers. Not saying anything bad about iPads, just that they aren't better in my opinion. And I greatly prefer the file structure and transparency of Android systems.

    But they both work fine.

    The Microsoft-based tablet line is much less likely to work well as an EFB to replace paper charts and AFD's. I just went to the Microsoft store to see what is offered, and the answer is basically nothing that resembles Foreflight or Naviator or Garmin Pilot. The only thing in there that looks at all useful is just a program to download and display sectionals. That is better than nothing, but compared to the Apple and Android options, it is pretty pitiful.

    Happy shopping.

    The reason you do not see anything but ipad in regards to official FFA Charts it took years to get them approved by FAA and they used IPAD and no one wants to go through hassle for android and FFA, charter company I managed the maintenance was in the test program for 135 Operators so I suggest you buy IPAD Mini and ext gps antenna heck for flying it is amazing doing a letter or spreadsheet not so much for me but any IPAD will run the FFA approved charts and other programs like Foreflight

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    Quote Originally Posted by rppearso View Post
    I use an iphone with a GPS reciever but I recently tested it on a commercial flight and foreflight lost signal. The GPS reciever showed that it was connected but I got no blue dot. My instructor swears by it, perhaps I have a faulty reciever but since mine failed I might just get an ifly gps.

    I am going to have him test my reciever to make sure its not something wonky going on with my phone. He ferryed my plane back with 2 ipads and forflight but most of the time he was in cell range or following the coast.

    Get the Bad Elf app to talk to remote gps antenna works great

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    My iPhone and 3G ipad both work fine as stand-alone GPS receivers including when I've turned them on during commercial flights at 36,000' at 500mph. Never a problem. If you don't see the blinking dot you're probably seeing your last viewed location and not where you are. Re-center the screen for your present location (in Foreflight it's the little rifle scope-looking icon at the lower left corner) and it'll center on where you are now.

  13. #13

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    Computers are like heroin, ya like what it gives ya but few want the monkey on your back. I have a garmin 795 in the plane because it is simple. My buddy flys with a I-pad and fore flight and loves it. He flew several hundred hours this year in the Alaska range and never had a problem. I pad mini with fore flight is cheaper than garmin 795 and you can do the paperwork with it also. I have not tried this myself but I have apple computer, I-pad, and phone. They are like bendix mags, small problem every now and then but they get you home. I have heard good things about the Bad Elf GPS.
    DENNY

  14. #14

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    My setup...the tablet can rotate up and out of the way in case I ever decide I want to see those VOR heads behind it...


    14 Days to Alaska
    Also available on Kindle and Nook

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    Well I bought a NEXUS 7 since it fit in my interior coat pocket.

    So far I have loaded the FAA charts, approach plates , the Alaska supplement and some other darn thing. That was all going well over at my buddy's house down the road. However now that I am home I cannot get anything to down load on my crappy 35 k speed home system. It is picking up the house wi-fi but that is about it....
    Floatplane,Tailwheel and Firearms Instructor- Dragonfly Aero
    Experimental Hand-Loader, NRA Life Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Float Pilot View Post
    Let me preface this....I know next to nothing about computers. I have never owned a lap-top or tablet.

    I am looking for something fairly small to take in the truck and in the plane to do on-the-spot FAA forms, maps, doc writing and lesson plans. Plus I need to be able to go online at wi-fi spots for the FAA IACRA system and check-emails while traveling.

    Instead of an Andriod system I think that a windows system would be better so I can transfer documents back and forth to my home base computer.

    I would like a key board. A detachable keyboard would be nice so I could use it like a tablet in the plane for a moving map.

    I drove up to Los Anchorage for two days and went to Best Buy, Walmart, Fred Meyers, Sams Club and the BX on Elmendorf.
    I did not learn much other than the fact that customer service is DEAD in those stores.

    Business has been slow so price is a factor.

    Any Ideas???
    I tried to send you a pm but your box is full.

  17. #17
    Member Float Pilot's Avatar
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    Floatplane,Tailwheel and Firearms Instructor- Dragonfly Aero
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    A Windows Surface tablet runs the same system as Windows PCs (Windows 8.1) and is obviously then directly compatible with your PC. You can get detachable keyboards for just about any tablet. The Nexus 7 is really nice, though, and I think you'll like it. Garmin Pilot works very well on the 2nd generation one.

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