REVIEWS

 

1.  UK AirspaceAVOID

2.  Garmin Glo GLONASS vs GNS2000 GLONASS GPS

3.  Condor The Gliding Flight Simulator

4.  Do you suffer from presbyopia?

long-sighted? We review the VoltX bifocal sunglasses which cost only £10:00 and provide a cheap solution to expensive bifocal prescription reading glasses, useful for pilots flying aircraft

NEW REVIEW COMING SOON!

 

On this page you will find information on useful applications and hardware that can improve situational and safety awareness when used correctly in flight. The reviews featured here may represent the view of one user only, and can only be offered for general user guidance.  Please remember that the use of software and devices while gliding/sport flying can become a serious distraction if not used correctly 

 

UK AirspaceAVOID

User rating  5/5 

 A review by Charles Forsyth December 2015

 

Use of AirspaceAVOID logo by kind permission of PocketFMS

 

UK AirspaceAVOID is a free application for Android and Apple iOS platforms. 

This application is free to download and use. This software is endorsed by UK NATS, (National Air Traffic Services) and is provided free to use in an effort to reduce the growing number of infringements into controlled airspace. The app' is uncomplicated and benefits from very clear and well presented vector maps. There are several map styles to choose from including the familiar CAA chart and Jeppesen formats. The use of vector maps ensures high resolution map styles and labels at any zoom level.

 

The application is configurable to suit user preference. Airspace warnings are very clear visually and

audibly. There are both vertical and lateral warnings with regard to airspace, the pilot will be warned thirty seconds before entering controlled airspace. The warnings are done very well graphically and pretty impressive! The app' will provide a bread crumb trace, (useful for gliding) if enabled in the easy to use settings menu. 

 

It is technically possible to create a direct-to flight plan with this software, (free version) however, flight plans can be created using third-party software which can be obtained from the internet and imported using the correct format. The full paid version will allow further advanced flight planning and has weather built in. Maps and navigation data are updated at regular intervals, the downloads are small due to the use of vector maps. NOTAM information will always be up to date if downloaded on the day of flying, no excuses for not having up to date NOTAM information!

 

For a modest annual subscription, a pay-ware version of this software is available from the PocketFMS

website, (see link above).

 

I have no hesitation in recommending this software in the interest of flight safety in both gliding and general aviation use.   

UK AirspaceAVOID was tested during powered flight and comparisons made between another top selling air/nav' application with cross references to aircraft instruments. The software performed flawlessly and accurately over several hours of flying.

 

The GPS data was provided to the software using the Garmin GLO portable GPS device.

 

If using an external GPS, Android devices require an application such as Bluetooth GPS Provider available on Google Play Store which provides

a bluetooth signal to your chosen GPS navigation software, this extra

software is not required on Apple iOS devices.

 

UK AirspaceAVOID was tested on the Motorola G2 smart phone.

 

Garmin GLO Portable GLONASS GPS  vs  

GNS2000 Portable GLONASS GPS

A review by Charles Forsyth January 2016

Garmin GLO Portable GLONASS GPS

AmazonUK user rating   4.5/5 

GNS2000 Portable GLONASS GPS

 

AmazonUK user rating   3.5/5 

RRP £89.00

 

 

Manufacturers Specification

 

Unit size, WxHxD: .70" x 1.65" x 3.04" (1.78 x 4.19 x 7.72 cm)

 

Weight: 2.12 oz (60.1 g)

 

Receiver Technology: GPS+GLONASS

 

WAAS: Yes

 

Update Rate: 10 Hz

 

Accuracy: 3 meters

 

Battery Capacity: 1100mAh

 

Battery Life: 12 hours

 

Hot Start Time: 3–5s

 

Warm Start Time: 35s

 

Cold Start Time: 60s

£57.90  AmazonUK  23/01/2016

 

 

Manufacturers Specification

 


The GNS 2000 offers a flexible range of applications in aircrafts, cars, motorhomes, motorcylcles, bikes or even on foot.

High sensitive 99-channel GPS/GLONASS chip.
Worldwide support for WAAS/EGNOS/QZSS/MSAS/GAGAN, SBAS enabled.
NMEA protocol  SPP, 57.600 baud or iPhone protocol (from iOS 3.0.1 on).
Certified transceiver using Serial Port Profile (SPP) ideal for all Bluetooth activated devices (PDA /Mobile/ Notebook /tablet-PC/ car-Pc and others).
Bluetooth multi connection support
Logger function.
Physical switch for power on/off.
Stylish design - small and ultra flat box (79.1 * 45.3 * 11.3 mm)
embedded Li-Ion battery , battery operating time >10 hrs

Package contents:
GNS 2000 GPS GLONASS BT Receiver
Cigarette-lighter charger device 
Charger cable
Suction mount 
Instruction booklet

This is a very basic review and side by side comparison of the Garmin GLO and GNS2000 portable GLONASS GPS devices.

 

If you are considering purchasing a portable GPS for an Android portable device, you will need to download some additional free software that will enable your external GPS device to communicate with Android, (this is not necessary with Apple iOS devices). One such free application is Blue Tooth GPS Provider, available from the Google Play store.

 

Bluetooth GPS Provider is highly configurable, the user can select between a 1-10Hz update rate. A good deal of performance tweaking can be achieved by using this small application which I highly recommend.

 

Why purchase a portable GLONASS GPS and what is GLONASS?

 

Many people choose to buy an external GPS device which features the ability to receive satellite signals both from the Russian GLONASS, (Russian Aerospace Defence Forces) satellite network and the American GPS satellite network, (GLONASS provides 24 additional satellites).

 

Receiving satellite fixes from both networks greatly increases the number of fixes from satellites and therefore increases accuracy. Typically, my smart-phone would only receive, on average, signals from between 3-5 satellites at one time, (it has basic GPS hardware) using a portable GLONASS GPS, I can receive up to 15 or more position fixes from satellites at one time!

 

Many top end smart-phones and portable devices may already have a quality GLONASS enabled GPS device fitted and such a device may not warrant the purchase of an extra GPS device. Some portable GPS devices such as the Garmin GLO have an update rate of up to 10Hz, (10 times per second). Providing your device/software can support a higher update rate of up to of 10Hz, the user will have more frequent position fixes which will result in greater accuracy, better performance and often, better graphical/operational smoothness of the software installed in your portable device.

 

Static positional fixes are going to be more accurate using a quality external GPS device especially when considered against the budget GPS hardware fitted in most low end smart-phones which probably would not work too well, if for instance you were attempting to plot boundary positions/object positions on a map etc.

 

Back country explorers, aviators and drivers often choose to use a GLONASS enabled GPS device because the ability to receive many more satellite signals improves positional accuracy when navigating through densely wooded areas and landscapes with high terrain features and city centres with high rise buildings.

 

The very popular Fly Is Fun application comes with a compass rose. The GNS2000 gave a very jerky experience when using 

applications with a compass rose

A handy portable friction mount is available for the Garmin GLO

Both the Garmin GLO and the GNS2000 devices are suitable for navigating an aircraft. If you decide to use the popular SkyDemon or Fly Is Fun navigation applications, I found from experience that the Garmin GLO gave a much smoother experience with both of these applications. The 99 channel GLONASS GNS2000 has an unpublished update rate, searches on the internet suggest this update rate is 1Hz or once per second. At walking speed below 3.5 mph the update rate of the GNS2000 is thought to be 0.2Hz.

The higher update rate of the Garmin Glo gave smoother graphical performance on both SkyDemon and Fly Is Fun air navigation applications, both of these apps' have a moving compass rose, the movement of this compass rose was very much smoother on my Moto G2 smart phone while using the Garmin GLO. The GNS2000 gave a very jerky experience with regard to the compass rose on my device which would jump in 10 degree or more steps which I personally found annoying. The higher update rate of the Garmin GLO makes this device more popular with ramblers.

 

Battery life of both devices appears to be around ten to twelve hours, each device can be charged via a standard USB cable. The Garmin GLO has an easily removable/replaceable 1100 mAh Li-ion Battery. Unfortunately the battery in the GNS2000 cannot be removed by the consumer.

 

The GNS2000 features an internal logger which saves your journey/flight in an IGC file format, your flight/drive can be plotted onto a Google map or similar map for later reference.

The software that came with the GNS2000 that allows you to transfer your flight recording to your computer was very hit- and-miss when using it on Windows 7, it took a little patience to get it to work and retrieve the logged flight. I never tried to view my flights this way and cannot comment on how successful this may have been. The navigational apps' on my phone provide a bread crumb trail which is suitable for my purposes.

 

The Garmin GLO does not have an internal flight logger, for me this is not a problem because if ever I needed one, there are many available for download from the internet that will record your flight three-dimensionally when run in association with your GPS device. An android device will still need an extra app' such as Bluetooth GPS Provider to send the GPS positional fixes to the flight recording software of your choice.

 

Both these units have bright LED lights which could become a distraction during a night drive/flight however, a piece of strategically placed masking tape would soon fix that.

 

If you are considering accessories then the Garmin GLO is well catered for. A small plastic belt clip can be purchased for around £6.00. The handiest accessory for the Garmin GLO is the portable friction dash/windscreen mount. The Garmin in placed inside a silicone blister which has a naturally clingy silicone pad for a base, which can be slapped on to the inside of a windscreen or placed on the dash/panel of an aircraft or car, (£13.00 approximately).

The Garmin Glo is also available as a Garmin GLO for Aviation version, essentially this is a Garmin GLO with an introductory subscription to Garmin Pilot, (navigation application) and the handy portable friction dash mount. Mendelsson Pilot Supplies currently sell the GLO for Aviation for £114.00.

 

The GNS2000 is supplied with a basic strap that can be used to attach the GPS to the inside of a vehicle window, the strap comprises of a simple rubber strap and two suction cups.

 

In summary then, both GPS devices are worth considering. If you are a rambler/walker and wish to use software with a moving compass rose, I would choose the Garmin GLO, it's ability to update at 10Hz is a no brainer for me. If you are using UK AirspaceAvoid without a moving compass rose, you might consider the cheaper and capable GNS2000.

 

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Essex Gliding Club

c/o Breckenridge

Smiths Court

Thornwood, Essex

CM16 6BD

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Ashen Road

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Sudbury

Essex

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