What do you want in a freeware aviation package

Discussion in 'Hangar Talk' started by SkyHog, Nov 1, 2006.

  1. SkyHog

    SkyHog Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Everything Offends Me
    I am gonna write a package called "Pilot FreeStuff." So far, I know it will have a logbook and Weight and Balance in it. Y'all have any other ideas for features? I am thinking weather and possibly a flight planner, if I can find a good way to do it without making the program too bulky.
     
  2. JasonCT

    JasonCT Pattern Altitude

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    Electronic E6B calculations?
     
  3. markb5900

    markb5900 Line Up and Wait

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    I think if you just included some of the links to the free sites for VOR navigation and things like that it would be a big help.
    Also, include how to get AOPA for free for 6 months, POA, and other sites that really try to help students.

    Mark B.
     
  4. Michael

    Michael Pattern Altitude

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    is this for student pilots Nick?
     
  5. mdreger

    mdreger Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Depends on how fancy you want to get.

    For cross country's: The ability to put in the departure and destination and return the the latest metar's for all the reporting points in between. Have the option to specify that you want the last 1,2,3, etc. metars for said reporting points.

    Same for the TAF's.

    If you want to get real complicated: Graphics like this: http://www.usairnet.com/cgi-bin/launch/code.cgi?sta=KMDW&model=avn&state=IL&Submit=Get+Forecast

    With each segment broken down into selectable time and distance so you could see visually what the weather is either is or is forecast to be for each time/distance period in your flight.

    Include in a site like above the winds aloft for several altitudes.

    An intelligent notam lister. i.e. I'm going in a VFR flight, I don't need to know the 40 intrument approach notams for the local (or distant) international airport.

    Same as above: Day VFR, I don't need to know about the tower light out 7NW of wherever.

    CONVERT THE NOTAMS, ESPECIALLY THOSE THAT TAKE UP SEVERAL LINES AND ARE FILLED WITH LEGALESE TO CTA OF ALL INVOLVED AGENCIES TO NORMAL CASES, so they are easier to read.

    If it includes a log book for both the pilot and aircraft, a column to annotate the type of flight: local, pattern, XC. This would allow the associated fuel burn calculator to determine your fuel burn for each of the flight types.
     
  6. terzap

    terzap Line Up and Wait

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    I want it to work on a Macintosh.
     
  7. kath

    kath Administrator Management Council Member

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    ... and Linux!

    --Kath
     
  8. mikea

    mikea Touchdown! Greaser! Gone West

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    After your first C class your gonna do this? :goofy:

    Make sure it has real time terrain warnings, NEXRAD radar weather images and traffic alerts.

    AND it needs to work with dialup bandwidth so it works with my usually broken Cingular EDGE and/or WAP on a cellphone.

    Is that too much to ask?

    Seriously, a cool thing is a fuel meter, but has to be configurable. Show two tanks and a graphic to show fuel remaining which reduces based on time. Configurable because I have 4 fuel tanks and some planes will have 3 or 5.
     
    Last edited: Nov 1, 2006
  9. ScottM

    ScottM Taxi to Parking

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    I second that. It is the one thing stopping me from getting a MAC laptop. But with the new Intel processors I am rethinking that as I could also boot it in Windows.
     
  10. mikea

    mikea Touchdown! Greaser! Gone West

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    You don't even have to boot into Windows. You can run Windows in a Mac window.
     
  11. AdamZ

    AdamZ Touchdown! Greaser!

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    If I got a free airworthy plane with it that would be cool!
     
  12. Ghery

    Ghery Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Quite a few people at Intel were pleased to hear that Apple shifted over to our microprocessors. Not so much for the business (which is great), but because now they can buy a Mac without feeling guilty. :D
     
  13. mikea

    mikea Touchdown! Greaser! Gone West

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    When I bought an Auspex (don't ask) they said that Motorola wouldn't buy the newer ones that had SPARC CPUs. They bought the older ones with Motorola CPUs.
     
  14. SkyHog

    SkyHog Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Okay....here's what the plan is so far (by the way, I don't even know what language would work on a Mac unless I wrote it as a Java Applet, and that ain't happening, so the Mac version would be a ways down the line, ,maybe v2.0 :D Sorry Terry and Scott, I wish I could).

    Its gonna do W&B, pull notams/metars from airports along a specified route, translate NOTAMS, have a good logbook (better than Logbook Pro!!). Will have links to Aviation sites like AOPA and PoA (and more).

    This'll be fun (and ALWAYS free).
     
  15. terzap

    terzap Line Up and Wait

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    S'okay, I use AeroPlanner, I get it free with my EAA membership.
     
  16. flyingcheesehead

    flyingcheesehead Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Java or Objective C. Not a whole lot of code required in many cases though other than simple function calls to the OS. There's a ton of stuff built in, including a database libraries (Core Data). Are you going to write your own database for the logbook???

    BTW, I'm amazed that you'd even consider writing for the Mac. I'm hopefully going to do the same type of thing at some point on the Mac, but with a lot more functionality (full flight planner a la RTFP without all the sucky parts, aircraft maintenance log type thing, etc.) but after all that work... I'm gonna sell it.

    So, Scott and Terry (and others) - What would you pay for such a thing?

    Jeez, with competition like that, why should I bother? ;) Heck, you may want to use the program to continue learning as you go through school, and then start selling it when you're out of school. You could probably even get some independent study credit for it later on!
     
  17. SkyHog

    SkyHog Touchdown! Greaser!

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    I have no desire to make money off the aviation industry. I really don't. This is something I want anyways, so why not make it publically available?

    And I'll write it in Visual Basic 2005. Say what you want about VB, but it is powerful as hell, and I know it. For the database, I'll probably either use SQL or maybe just write a stupid little simple database to do it. Not sure yet. That's gonna be a ways down the road. When it comes time to write for the Mac, I dunno while I'll write it in. I don't even know what languages you can write program in for the mac, besides Java Applets.
     
  18. gkainz

    gkainz Final Approach

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    Nick, you are familiar with the 7 Stages of an IT Project, right?

    Phase 1: Uncritical acceptance.

    Phase 2: Wild enthusiasm.

    Phase 3: Dejected disillusionment.

    Phase 4: Total confusion.

    Phase 5: Search for the guilty.

    Phase 6: Punishment of the innocent.

    Phase 7: Promotion of nonparticipants.
     
  19. tonycondon

    tonycondon Gastons CRO (Chief Dinner Reservation Officer)

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    Nick,

    Id love it if you included an Instant Messenger link to the weather products. the aforementioned weather products had a thing where you would add "wxtaf" or "wxmetar" to your buddy list and then you would IM that name with something like "kdsm" and it would reply with the TAF or METAR for kdsm. I found this very nice, now it is only available with a subscription.
     
  20. jason

    jason Administrator Management Council Member PoA Supporter

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    I think Tyler from the Flying Weather Thingy is planning on TAF and METAR over IM soon...
     
  21. ScottM

    ScottM Taxi to Parking

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    When Moto exited the Power PC business they also started allowing, in fact mandating, the purchase of Intel based PCs instead of MACs.
     
  22. glpilot

    glpilot Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Nick, good luck with this! If you manage to make this a success people will know your name through out the aviation community. You would be some sort of aviating coder hero. :)

    I didnt know you were a coder.

    Seems like great suggestions so far. Maybe for a later version you could create an app that allows for performance measurements. A user can enter the specifics to an aircraft, then enter temperature/altittude etc and see what sort of performance they might get on that short runway on a hot day. (Or they could just flip open the PIM/POH :))
     
  23. tdager

    tdager En-Route

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    Ummm...Flitestar for free? :D
     
  24. SkyHog

    SkyHog Touchdown! Greaser!

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    A little update:

    School got real busy. Work got real slow. I got a lot of work done last night on Pilot FreeStuff. The first step to be finished will be the logbook feature. It is almost done. It saves and reads data, displays it in a not very pretty format (will be more pretty soon).

    Screenshot included. (W&B is next. I have the calculator written, just not the graph display).

    edit: BTW - I am much more comfortable in Java now. Program will be available for Windows, Linux and Macintosh. It will be free for all three!
     

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  25. jesse

    jesse Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Eclipse is godly.
     
  26. SkyHog

    SkyHog Touchdown! Greaser!

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    It most certainly is.
     
  27. silver-eagle

    silver-eagle En-Route

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    ~John
    Years ago, I had a book that listed 120 programming languages. It was about 4 inches thick just highlighting the various "features" of the language and there were quite a number of esoteric languages listed. Stuff that passes for languages today are the electric, gas, and pnuematic tools of today compared to stone axes from way back when. There are 100's! Many uniquely programmed for one specific app.
    Too much stuff for an old dog like me to take in. (I thought JAVA and PERL were passing fancies...)
    The good news is the OS I've built my life career on hasn't changed much (presuming you discount the UNIX component now integrated in it). It's still the premeire OS, and mostly looks like the stuff I've been using for 30 years.
    Every OS as with every language has their own strength. The mark of a good DP/IS professional is to know those strengths and use them to their advantage.
    Good luck on a successful project. Me, I'm hovering around #7 on the above list and I'm not likely to be the rewarded one.
     
  28. RotaryWingBob

    RotaryWingBob En-Route Gone West

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    How about lateral W&B for us rotorheads? (We do both the normal CG plus a lateral CG envelope).