Seattle Avionics - Skypad

Discussion in 'Technical Corner' started by RMCN172RG, Oct 1, 2009.

  1. RMCN172RG

    RMCN172RG Pattern Altitude

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    Did anyone see this at Oshkosh or actually have one in use?

    http://www.seattleavionics.com/SkyPad.aspx

    It looks like as good an all around package as I can find.
    PC usable for other functions
    Flight Planner
    GPS
    Weather
    Interactive Charts and Plates

    Any thoughts would be appreciated.
     
  2. kthompson2k

    kthompson2k Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Looks really cool.
    Be interesting to see if it is as easy as they claim along with durablity.
     
  3. gismo

    gismo Touchdown! Greaser!

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    It does look pretty good but I didn't see any specs on the brightness of the display. Typically laptop displays are too bright for night use at the minimum setting and too dim at the highest setting if direct sunlight is involved.
     
  4. dougwells

    dougwells Filing Flight Plan

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    I have the SkyPad and LOVE IT!

    I have been on the sidelines regarding EFBs....always waiting for the perfect unit. While at Oshkosh this year, I had the opportunity to try FlightPrep's ChartCase and Seattle Avionics SkyPad. Both units are well thought out and will likely serve you well. I thought the SkyPad had the upper hand...here is why.

    - For me, the user interface and process of navigating around to the various tasks seemed a bit smoother.
    - The SkyPad is fast. Charts come up fast and changing from one style to another is quick & easy (ie, switching from Lo-Enroute to Approach plates). Frankly I was surprised that the SkyPad was faster than the ChartBook as I had read just the opposite. This might vary by user but it was my experience.
    - The SkyPad is very customizable. I'm a CFII and I have certain things I like when I am flying solo and some additional information when I am teaching. The SkyPad makes this simple.
    - Lifetime charts. Seattle Avionics offers a "Lifetime Chart" subscription. It ain't cheap but I am only 45 years old and hope to fly another 20+ years. Seattle Avionics just signed a 3 year deal to supply data for the Bendix/King AV8OR unit so the company should be financially secure for many years to come.
    - The team. I have to say that I genuinely liked the team at Seattle Avionics. I spent several hours at their booth at Oshkosh. I got to interact with the CEO and the President and got to see how they interacted with other pilots and non-pilots (including my 6 year old daughter). They are genuinely good people and very very sharp. To me, this is important in a small company. They were there first thing in the morning each day with a smile on their face and ready to help. I appreciated this.

    - Cons.
    * I like the hardware but frankly it is a bit too large. I think a 8" tablet will prove to be the ideal form factor for me. The convertible (ie, has a physical keyboard) is nice but really adds to the bulk. The SkyPad is 8.9" diagnal screen. This is perfect for approach plates but more than I need while in cruise. The nice thing about Seattle Avionics model is that when new hardware comes out, I simply xfer the software to the new unit. Their licensing allows for the software on up to 3 units.
    * External GPS. Its not a major pain but I really would like to see a tablet with an internal GPS. I don't need a WAAS GPS as SkyPad shows my aircraft on the approach plates but not having to deal with one more device and not having to carry the charger in my flight bag would be nice.
    * ViewAnywhere screen would be nice. The screen is viewable and usable in direct sunlight but I do have to focus on the screen to garner the information I need. Having 800-1000 nits would be nice.

    Hope this review helps. I've really enjoyed my unit and am glad I made the choice I did.
     
  5. gprellwitz

    gprellwitz Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Last edited: Nov 27, 2009
  6. RMCN172RG

    RMCN172RG Pattern Altitude

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    Well I ordered the base unit on sale. We'll see what we think when it gets here.
     
  7. Nortonious

    Nortonious Filing Flight Plan

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    Skypad users - Any more inputs/reviews??

    I've beeen doing a lot of research and thinking about buying one, just looking for some recent comments.

    Thanks!!
     
  8. kgruber

    kgruber En-Route

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  9. dmccormack

    dmccormack Touchdown! Greaser!

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  10. RMCN172RG

    RMCN172RG Pattern Altitude

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    Still have not used the Skypad on a real cross country, just a few day waste my time flights. I have worked with the flight planner a lot and like it's capabilities.

    Since the original purchase I 've added the Yoke mount and a kneeboard style velcro holder. After flying with the unit on the kneeboard decided that was not very useful. The yoke mount in portrait mode gives a visual perspective similar to an approach plate or Chart on a yoke clip.

    I have been able to power the unit on in the airplane parked outside the FBO, connect to the wireless and get a final weather update while prepping the aircraft. I have not added the XM weather since I am not doing any real X/C flying.

    I have all the available Charts, plates, airport info A/FD inormation loaded in it. That requires leaving it turned on in my office for a few hours each month to update everything. On my planning PC I only auto load the most used sectionals and let the program download anything else it wants during the planning process.
     
  11. jdangel

    jdangel Pre-Flight

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    I've owned the original Skypad since last September (bought it at Oshkosh). I have been at times impressed with the in flight capabilities and at others beyond frustrated. Keep in mind they just introduced what looks like a new lenovo tablet pc which replaces the one I have and fixes some of the screen issues shown below.

    For flight planning it is very good, though there are so many other choices out there now including good free web based ones that I would think twice if I were making the same decision again.

    I really bought it for in flight moving map/efb use and not really the planning aspects as I can get those anywhere. When it works, it works very well.

    Positives:
    - Decent interface once you get used to it
    - Everything is georeferenced if you have the correct subscription level
    - Very capable flight planner

    Negatives:
    - Multiple problems, all get fixed after at least working with support for a while (sometimes a long while): Fuel prices stopped working, ASOS data stopped showing up for one or two monthly update cycles, Airplane symbol was pointing the wrong way while in flight, etc.

    - Daylight readability is not very good.
    - Voyager hangs from time to time if you don't get the GPS going before you start it
    - Unless you take an extra step of locking the screen orientation you will find in flight that it rotates the display for you and requires you to restart voyager to get it going again.

    - More wires, seperate gps which you have to recharge
    - It is big. That is great for looking at plates and charts, but in my Cherokee my lap is currently the best place for it and that can be a problem at times.

    -----

    At this point while I really like what I have with the skypad I have been considering selling it and moving to something which has a quicker startup time and does not involve Windows. I would eventually like weather capability. The Garmin Aera combined with paper plates is one option. Another might be an iPad in the future, or a Kindle and a Garmin.

    If you have more questions feel free to PM or post here.

    Bottom line: I like it a lot, but there are so many other options out there right now you should consider all of them and figure out what is important to you.
     
  12. Nortonious

    Nortonious Filing Flight Plan

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    Thanks to all for their replies. I'd really like to try the Skypad2, but wish they would offer a risk-free trial as the above product does. Heck, I'd be willing to pay the shipping both ways for a demo model, but the 20% restock fee is kinda steep if i don't like it.
     
  13. lmeredith

    lmeredith Filing Flight Plan

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    I ordered one and am now returning it. Very unreliable with windows 7. Locks up. Only 1 hour battery life,etc. Just not as advertised. I hate paying Garmin fees, b ut when I power a garmin on, it works. Not as fancy but in the cockpit, dependability is the best ability!
     
  14. RMCN172RG

    RMCN172RG Pattern Altitude

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    That must be the skypad II with the Lenovo computer. They claimed much better battery life than that. I see were FlightPrep has also moved to that platform.
     
  15. Nortonious

    Nortonious Filing Flight Plan

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    Sorry to hear about that. My buddy and I decided to try one of these for free for 30 days. http://ifly.adventurepilot.com/Home.aspx Liked it enough to keep it.

    Don't know what your needs are, but this is a prety nice setup for the VFR pilot, can almost be an EFB.
     
  16. TangoWhiskey

    TangoWhiskey Administrator Management Council Member PoA Supporter

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    I have no interest in it, but if anybody is, they've got a non-published deal on these units right now:

     
  17. TangoWhiskey

    TangoWhiskey Administrator Management Council Member PoA Supporter

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  18. lmeredith

    lmeredith Filing Flight Plan

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    The Unit I returned was a Skypad not a ifly. The Ifly looks cool but I need xm weather. I spent the cash and bought an Garmin 696.
     
  19. cadams

    cadams Filing Flight Plan

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    I bought their software (Voyager) for a tablet PC which runs AviationSafety.com TrueFlight just fine. The Voyager product has nice flight planning but their moving map GPS was buggy as hell and would often lag a good deal or stop working. Seattle Avionics would not offer me a return on their junk software either.

    I eneded up buying it and finding it unusable while they strung me along for months saying that their newest version was coming out and told me to wait. After the new version came out and I found it unusable they would not honor a return.

    Be very wary of dealing with Seattle Avionics. Their business practices are poor.

    I now use only TrueFlight with XM Weather and have taken it aross the country and back twice in my Lancair. They also offer a small tablet called the Cheetah http://aviationsafety.com/