Sunday, June 7, 2009

FlightPrep ChartCase

My flying buddy Ron bought the FlightPrep ChartCase Electronic Fight Bag with GPS and XM weather to use in his Cherokee 140 but the learning curve proved to be too much.

Ron is used to the Lowrance Airmap 1000 GPS and that’s a pretty simple to use GPS. The Chartcase is PC-based and runs on a tablet computer. After turning it on, you have to start the XM. Then you have to open up the ChartCase software. Then you have to turn on the GPS and make sure the computer is reading it. Then you have to go back to the XM weather and tell it what weather information you want downloaded. Then you can choose a flight path (like El Monte to Fullerton, for example). Then you go into the InFlight mode. Then you choose what charts you want to use (Sectional, Terminal, Low Enroute were what he had paid for and, thus, were available for selection). If you want weather info you click a couple more buttons to check that.

I took the unit with me for 3 days to try and get it all figured out and to be able to make it seem simple for him, but the bottom line is that it’s not simple. I can’t say that it’s extremely complicated, but there’s certainly a lot more to do to get ready than when using the Lowrance.

In the end...Ron’s head was spinning. Too much stuff to do in order to get it ready to go flying. He’s going to return it on Monday.

Might be ordering a 696, but I’ve encouraged him to find someone on the field who has one and see how it works before buying one.

(The photo was taken when I was using the GPS in my car to get used to it.)

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