Evan Youngblood

Flying

ForeFlight Adds XM Weather Option

by on Nov.14, 2016, under Flying

ForeFlight now supports XM weather (https://www.foreflight.com/connect/siriusxm/). This addition gives pilots the option to have either (or both) ADS-B weather or XM weather. I fear this will be a bad thing for aviation.

Now that’s a bold statement. XM weather, a bad thing? No, seriously, I do. Hear me out. ForeFlight, and all EFB software, has brought unparalleled situational awareness to the cockpit of today’s general aviation pilot. This is wonderful. I’ve been flying with ForeFlight for several years now, and I never leave the ground without it. While it’s not my primary navigation (nor can it be for IFR flights), it provides me with quick information and airport references. Frequencies, runway lengths, instrument approach plates; all easily accessible on my iPad. I also get weather. My Stratus 2S unit receives free ADS-B weather and gives me radar, TFRs, and more. So why would XM weather be bad?

Most pilots who fly with ForeFlight have some ADS-B solution. The commercial Stratus or a homemade option. This implies that ForeFlight users are wanting XM (and they might be). But XM comes with a price, $40/month, and yet another box to hook up externally. The subscription price isn’t bad, and the box is well made. They have no weight in my opinion. So why the negativity?

Simple, pilots who have ADS-B weather, and then purchase XM weather are going to believe the XM weather is better. Why? They’re paying for it, it must be better. You get what you pay for, right?

The FAA has been trying to tell us datalink weather is not real-time for years. Pilots who have XM and ADS-B weather have been killed because they believed the radar to be real-time. It isn’t. Pilots want to believe the expensive iPad and Stratus units are giving them real-time weather. Let’s say a pilot listens to the FAA, and doesn’t treat ADS-B weather as real-time. Now, that pilot purchases an XM receiver and subscription. Now he or she can flip between the ADS-B radar and the XM radar. This will give two different radar pictures, as it would be impossible to link the weather exactly at the same time. The pilot can now choose the radar he or she wants to believe, and fly into trouble.

XM weather is wonderful, if you don’t have ADS-B. But ADS-B weather is good enough to keep you out of trouble, and it’s free. Stick with ADS-B and steer clear of weather you shouldn’t be flirting with.

Fly safe!

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Dallas Kicks Delta Out of DAL?

by on Sep.29, 2014, under Flying, News

Dallas has been supporting two major airports since the 70’s. But there was a time when people feared it could only handle one. The over-used Dallas Love Field (DAL) was “replaced” with Dallas Ft.Worth International Airport (DFW) in 1973. At the time, officials worried airlines would keep their comfy spots at Love Field and not make the costly move to DFW.

As usually happens, legislation was passed forcing airlines to move. The Wright Amendment restricted flights to and from DAL (and other airports) to force airlines to use DFW.

Fast forward a few years….

Southwest Airlines, the largest domestic airline in the US, calls DAL home. They’ve been forced to live with the Wright Amendment and have established bases at Houston Hobby (HOU) and St. Louis Lambert (STL) specifically to allow flights to get passengers from their hub in DAL to their hub at Chicago Midway (MDW).

The Wright Amendment expires next month. Southwest has been waiting. They’re fixing to expand operations at DAL quickly on October 13, the day the amendment expires.

But now, Dallas has told Delta Airlines they have to leave DAL. Delta currently uses two gates at DAL and flies to Atlanta. That service ends on October 12.

I find it amazing that the expiration of an amendment specifically designed to reduce traffic at Love Field finds the city actively reducing traffic, and competition. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a Southwest loyal customer, and I welcome the expiration. I just can’t understand how the city of Dallas believes it’s a good idea to throw an airline out.

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“Big Airport” Operations

by on Jul.12, 2011, under Flying, Learn General Aviation

So you’re thinking about flying your light aircraft to a “big” airport, but you’re a bit worried about what you should be prepared for. After all, you don’t want to be a burden to the big iron as you squeeze in between them.

I can’t say I blame you. Recently, I flew my Cherokee Six from my home base in Marion, Illinois to Houston. Which airport did I choose in Houston? Easy, KIAH – George Bush Intercontinental Airport. Yep, that’s right, hub of Continental Airlines. So how would I fit in among them? I’m happy to report that I was, at least as far as I know, no burden at all. (continue reading…)

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