Tips: What the dates on the sides of approach plates really mean

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If you’re checking for valid dates of the plate by looking at the side of the plate, you’re being misled. The FAA prints two dates on the side of each plate. Although they look like expiration dates, they are not. They simply represent the print cycle of when that plate was last printed by the FAA. That is, even if a plate doesn’t change for two years, every 28 days, it will have a new set of dates on the side. FlyQ ignores these dates and uses a database that the FAA publishes to download only the plates that really have changed or been added. Thus, even when all your plates are current, you may see ‘old’ dates on the side. You have to keep in mind that, unlike IFR enroute charts or Sectionals, there is no planned expiration date for a plate — they just update it when necessary. Thus, it’s not possible for them to print an expire date on the plate since they have no idea when it might expire.

Plates do have amendment info on the lower left corner, however. This info remains constant even when the date on the side changes (unless the plate really was changed, of course). And, just to make things even more confusing, they also sometimes have a cryptic date in the upper right corner (not shown above) that may be newer than the amendment info.  This date is hard to decode as it’s what’s called a Julian date (two-digit year + day number within that year — e.g. “19059” means 2019, 59th day). Moreover, unless you know for sure what the “current” revision info is, it doesn’t help you much as there is nothing to compare it to. We all just have to rely on the FAA accurately marking plates when changed. The good news is that we’ve been doing this for 10 years and we’ve NEVER seen them make a mistake about this.

Finally, in the ChartData Manager, you can tell FlyQ EFB to download ALL plates, even the ones that have not changed. We do not recommend this, however, as it dramatically increases the download time.

New iPad Mini!

Apparently the reports of its death were premature — Apple has (finally) released a new iPad mini.

https://www.apple.com/newsroom/2019/03/all-new-ipad-air-and-ipad-mini-deliver-dramatic-power-and-capability/

The new mini has a vastly newer (more powerful) CPU that leapfrogs the standard iPad with the same performance as the new iPad Air (also just announced) and just a smidge (technical term) less than the iPad Pro.  It also costs more than the standard iPad, naturally 😉

For more technical and pricing details, see:

https://www.apple.com/ipad-mini/specs/

 

Spring Training for Pilots

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Update 3/22/2019:  The replays for both the Intro and Advanced webinars are now available on our YouTube channel.


It’s flying season again so it’s a great time for long-time FlyQ users, new FlyQ users (like refugees from ForeFlight), and prospective FlyQ users to see what’s new and brush up on their FlyQ skills.  Therefore, we’ve scheduled a number of webinars next week at different levels.  Note that we’re doing the Monday and Tuesday presentations at 4 PM Pacific and the Wednesday and Thursday ones at 6 PM Pacific.

(If you know why I picked that particular photo, email it to the folks in Sales and get 20% off a FlyQ renewal)

Also, remember that we have more than 70 training videos on our YouTube channel.

Date/Time
Topic
Monday,
March 18

4:00 PM Pacific

Intro to FlyQ EFB Click to sign up
Tuesday,
March 19

4:00 PM Pacific

Advanced FlyQ EFB Click to sign up
Wednesday,
March 20

6:00 PM Pacific

Intro to FlyQ EFB Click to sign up
Thursday,
March 21
6:00 PM Pacific
Advanced FlyQ EFB

Thoughts on Boeing’s Purchase of ForeFlight

Today’s news about Boeing purchasing ForeFlight is very interesting and, I think, changes GA in a material way.  And it sounds very, very familiar…

In 2000, a little data company based on Denver was purchased by Boeing.  In the press release about the Jeppesen acquisition from 2000, Boeing wrote:

“We are delighted at the prospect of becoming part of The Boeing Company,” said Horst Bergmann, CEO of Jeppesen. “We’re looking forward to working together to create an array of new digital information services and to speed the movement of our existing products to new digital platforms.”

Today’s ForeFlight press release said, effectively, the same thing.

Before the acquisition, Jepp had been a very innovative company that significantly increased GA safety.  They were admired and respected by GA pilots.  But after the purchase, I don’t think I saw anything innovative come from Jepp again.   Of course, there has been plenty of innovation in GA since 2000 and, to put credit where credit is due, much of that has been because of ForeFlight (not to mention other innovative companies like Seattle Avionics.)  In other words, Jepp was once innovative then wasn’t.  Will the same thing happen to ForeFlight?  In fact, has it already?  In the past two years, many of us have noticed a shift by ForeFlight away from GA and towards commercial aviation.

One major reason for the success of ForeFlight, FlyQ, WingX, Garmin Pilot, and other apps has been mass distribution of the FAA approach plates and airport diagrams.  Before these apps, pilots certainly could choose to use the FAA printed diagrams over expensive Jepp charts, but the ease of use of these apps combined with the vastly higher cost of Jepp plates, definitely drove the success of these apps.  Now that Jepp and ForeFlight are together under one roof, one has to wonder if it’s in Boeing’s best interest to continue to favor FAA plates or to push expensive Jepp data much more strongly into ForeFlight.  Perhaps “nudge” people towards using Jepp data by increasing the price of the FAA subscriptions?

So what’s the takeaway from today’s news?  In my opinion, based on 25 years of business experience, I would expect the past to be prologue.  I would expect a slower pace of innovation, higher prices, and focus on commercial aviation.

I’d love to hear your thoughts.

  • Steve

 

 

February 28, 2019 ChartData Released

In the Seattle/Tacoma area this weekend?  Come to the annual Northwest Aviation & Tradeshow in Puyallup, WA.  http://www.washington-aviation.org/NAC&TS.html  We’ll be there with presentations on Saturday and Sunday as well as show specials!


The next FAA data cycle begins next Thursday, February 28, 2019.  We try to release ChartData the Friday before the new cycle starts.  As that’s today, the new data for the US, Mexico, and Central America is now ready for download. European and Australian data will be ready soon.  However, be sure not to fly with this data until February 28.

If you’re using another data provider, check with them about availability.

Important notes for FlyQ EFB user:  Please do not download this new data if you plan to fly before next Thursday as the app does not currently (hint hint) have any concept of “current” versus “next” data cycle.  However, FlyQ EFB downloads TFRs, fuel prices, and weather automatically so rest assured that this data will always be current even without doing a manual update

Also, read this terrific post from Keith R if you use our ChartData Managerapplication for Windows to update your data.  It explains how to automatically download data and even copy data to a card or USB memory stick without any clicks!  No need to sit and wait for data to download or copy.

  • In FlyQ EFB:  Tap the ChartData Manager icon (the “down arrow” icon), review which states you have selected, then tap Update Now.
  • In FlyQ InSight or FlyQ Pocket: Select the Downloads tab on the bottom of the screen and tap Update Now.
  • In FlyQ Online:  Nothing to download.  Just go to https://flyq.seattleavionics.com and the new data is automatically used when the new cycle begins on Thursday (but not before).
  • For apps and devices that use our Data Manager, run the ChartData Manager (or select Settings from the little icon at the lower right corner of your Windows screen) and tap Update Now.
  • In Voyager, select Update Data from the Tools menu then choose the All Monthly ChartData item.

If you need to renew your subscription, click the appropriate link below:

Note that FlyQ Online (our Web-based flight planner) ChartData is enabled automatically on the day the new cycle begins (next Thursday) so what you see is always the current, legal data.  Unlike data for our apps and devices, we do not release FlyQ Online ChartData ahead of time since there is nothing to download.

This weekend! Come to the NW Aviation Show in Puyallup!

Dear fellow pilot,

I don’t know about you but I still have snow in my front yard yet spring is near because this weekend (Feb 23-24) is the annual Northwest Aviation Conference and Show in Puyallup, WA!  See us at Booth #108 and watch our two presentations.

Check out FlyQ EFB 4.0 and FlyQ Online at Booth #108

FlyQ EFB 4.0 is nearly ready to launch and it’s a whopper! The all-new visual logbook, tied to the flight recorder, is nothing like anything you’ve seen before. Not only that, new ADS-B weather products and a private, pilot-only social media network makes it easy and fun to follow your friends (or students) flights. Be sure to check it out at the booth (#108).

We’ll demo the apps, answer whatever questions you have, and, of course, offer show-only discounts.

We’re doing two presentations this year:

Saturday, 1 PM, Augmented Reality in the Cockpit. Pioneer Room (B)

Sunday, 11:30 AM, Combining Web-based Flight Planning with iPad Apps. Pioneer Room (B)

Closed due to snow

Seattle Avionics is closed today due to something that doesn’t happen too often here — up to 12 inches of snow falling in the last 18 hours.  It’s still snowing and the temperature is well below freezing (although not in the same universe as the cold much of the country has seen lately).  Many roads are packed with snow and ice so we don’t want folks driving into work as Seattlelites do not know how to drive in snow 😉

When possible, people are working from home but please do expect a delay to answering emails and such.

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