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Had a spectacular flight to Chilhowee gliderport in my 750 yesterday. However, the "severe clear" conditions gave me fits with my Android tablet! It was very difficult to see the screen despite an anti-glare screen protector: the excellent visibility of the 750 floods the cockpit with sunlight and therein lies the problem! I've been a long-term user of Control Vision's AnyWhereMap moving map and as of late, their AnyWhereMap "Freedom" app. However, CV has temporarily suspended support to their app (sounds like the death-knell is ringing!) which I found very troubling since there was a flood of activity in the app market, especially those that associate with ADS-B, at Sun 'n Fun ... and CV didn't even have a presence there last week! They also don't support ADS-B, so they're waaaay behind the competition!
Returning from the Chilhowee flight, I decided I had "had it" with the tablet and CV!!!! I decided to order Adventure Pilot's iFly 720 GPS. For those who don't know, it's a 7" dedicated moving-map/GPS. The previous model 700 had a screen brightness of 350 nits (that's pretty bright!), but the 720 has an effective brightness of twice that! So, it is supposedly sunlight-readable even in canopied aircraft. A big plus is that it's compatible with all of the flood of ADS-B receivers (that have wi-fi) hitting the market.
Now to the point ... I ordered the 720 yesterday (they had a Sun 'n Fun special with free shipping and 6 mos. of free VFR/IFR data). Today, I did a little web research and found that I really needed their RAM ball adapter to utilize my existing RAM mount secured to my panel. I ordered the RAM ball adapter today and they charged $3 shipping. Being a Scotch-Irish tightwad, I later emailed support and asked if the adapter could be shipped with the 720 and thus save the shipping charges. Guess what? In about an hour, on a Sunday afternoon, at the conclusion of Sun 'n Fun, I get a personal response from Patty at Adventure Pilot telling me no problem, they'll combine the shipments and refund my $3 !!!!
I just wanted to give them an "attaboy" for excellent customer service - a PIREP will follow when I get some flight-time on the 720.
It always encourages me when I see the true American spirit at work ... entrepreneurs developing unique products and providing exemplary custormer service and manufacturing their products in the USA ... another couple that come to mind are Grand Rapids Technology (EIS 6000) and AeroLED (Microsun landing ight). I always try to let others know about companies with superior products or great customer service - it's so easy to whine about the crummy ones! LOL!
Sad to hear about Control Vision, when I first started flying and for many years after I user Anywhere Map on a variety of devices, though now I use Foreflight on the iPad Mini.
Have heard good things about the iFly from friends, and it is nice to know that they are good people, too.
I received the iFly 720 yesterday evening. Naturally, I played with it yesterday evening in the house and found it to be very intuitive ... you really don't need to refer much to the user manual.
We had severe thunderstorms yesterday and it's sunny but quite breezy today - so no flying, but I rolled the 750 out of the hangar and mounted the iFly on my existing RAM panel mount. I wanted to check-out the sunlight legibility. Supposedly the screen is twice the effective brightness of the previous 700 - I "think" it's a "transflective" screen? For comparison, an iPad 3 is about 300 nits (the Retina screen is beautiful, but not that bright ... no pun intended!) , and iPad 2 is about 350 nits. The iFly 720 has a 650 nit equivalent, according to the manufacturer. By the way, that's the point of this post - the 750's cockpit is closer to a canopy in brightness vs the typical high-wing Cessna, for instance. My tablet (Toshiba Excite 7.7) was just too washed-out for comfort and legibility.
Once out in the sun, the iFly's screen performed definitely better than my tablet! It still has annoying reflections (helps to be dressed in dark clothing), but less so than most tablets. I don't know if they recommend an anti-glare shield, but I'm going to find out. I like having it on the RAM ball mount (vs a fixed positon on the panel like with an Air Gizmo dock) as that allows you to angle it so as to minimize reflections - it's got excellent side-angle viewing characteristics, so that helps, too.
Here's pics of my tablet vs the iFly 720:
I don't have a pic of the tablet with a "daytime" view - I found I had to use the "night view" (and vector map) in order to get a high-contrast map for sunlight readability. The iFly is legible in a "daylight" view, however, so you can use the Sectionals, etc., and not just a vector map.
One other feature AdventurePilot doesn't heavily promote is that the 720 comes with a remote control. You can adjust brightness, zoom, pan, change maps, request airport info, etc., all with the remote. It's really a handy feature vs the touchscreen when you're in turbulence! I plan to Velcro the remote to my center console so I can easily find it and secure it when not in use.
Hopefully the next few days I'll get some "real world" navigation experience with it! If this proves successfull, then I'm going to get an ADS-B box next - it's compatible with nearly all the wi-fi ADS-B's such as Sky Radar, iLevil, and Clarity.
Another severe clear day today - still windy but flyable for the 750! I found the iFly totally sunlight-readable as-is. There were some minor annoying reflections, but nothing I couldn't live with. I found both the Sectional and Vector maps - in "daytime" mode - perfectly legible. Just as with the AnyWhereMap I used previously on the tablet, I preferred the Vector map as it is relatively uncluttered (compared to the Sectional) - it'll be great for displaying Nexrad when I get an ADS-B receiver.
One sort-of amusing feature was the terrain alerts. My airstrip, TN66, is in the Sequatchie Valley, which is about 1000' deep and averages about 3-4 miles wide. Going in-and-out of the Valley gave the terrain alert fits! Fortunately, you can inhibit alerts (it'll still display conflicting terrain, but not alarm) for the duration of a flight.
Adventure Pilot (the manufacturer) does sell a "BodyGuardz" brand "ScreenGuardz" anti-glare screen protector. I ordered one, so I'll compare after I install it. I'm not so sure I reallyi need it, but it'll protect the touch-screen, anyway. I also ordered a 12vdc hardwire plug so I can run a dedicated power source to the 720 and not have to use the 12vdc accessory adapter plug and drape wires across the panel. I'll use the accessory plug in a car if I remove the 720 to use the street navigation feature at some destination.
Tried the anti-glare protector today. It definitely mutes the reflections and did not seem to have an adverse effect on the sensitvity of the touchscreen. Also, fingerprints are less prominent! Here's a pic with the protector installed - you can use the EFIS screen for comparison and see that the light was pretty challenging:
Please keep up the reports. I am trying to decide between the I-pad mini with Foreflight and the I Fly.
Rick - the iPad and mini are extremely popular. The problem is, Apple has never promoted them for aviation use - they have a highly reflective screen and don't tolerate direct sunlight/high temperatures and are known to suddenly shut down due to heat. I think they're fine in an air-conditioned and shaded environment, but they really don't do well in canopied airplanes and the 750 is almost as bright with all the glass and the top window!
It really takes a dedicated/designed for aviation unit to surmount these problems. The iFly was specifically designed for aviation and the effective screen brightness is about twice that of an iPad. I've found it totally satisfactory with an anti-glare screen protector. The touch-screen uses resistive technology which the military and industrial applications require rather than capacitance technology that tablets use. The screen functions just as well with the protector and you can even be wearing gloves or use anything for a stylus, you don't have to have a capacitance stylus.
I would go with the iPad if I really needed another tablet and planned double-duty with flying, but if that's not the case, I think a dedicated aviation unit such as the iFly is far better. By the way, the VFR updates subscription is only $69/yr, which seems very reasonable. Apparently the iFly 720 is compatible with almost any ADS-B unit that has wi-fi, so you're not locked-in to just one ADS-B vendor. They also have unparalleled customer service.
I have no affiliation with iFly other than a customer, just obviously a happy camper!
Thanks for the info - much appreciated.
I scored a just-like-new SkyRadar Model "L" ADS-B receiver on Ebay for $321 delivered! It's a very painless installation since it talks to the 720 by wi-fi. Just set it on the glareshield, plug the cord in a 12V outlet, a few menu choices on the 720 to connect by wi-fi and you're good to go!
The L model I bought is the previous model that utilizes an external GPS "puck" and an external antenna. (I don't need the external GPS since the 720 continues to use its own internal GPS even when communicating with the ADS-B box.) The current model L has the GPS and antenna internal, however, since mine comes with an external antenna, I actually find that preferable since that allows the unit to be remotely installed and the antenna can be relocated with a RG400 cable. I'm going to either install it behind the panel and run the antenna up through the glareshield hole where the windshield braces pass through, or, if that antenna location doesn't work well, I'll probably install it under my seat and use a TED mini-pole transponder antenna externally on the fuselage bottom.
I flew it for the first time today with the unit just sitting on the glareshield. I'm in a 1000' deep valley, but the moment I climbed above the valley rim onto the Cumberland Plateau, the weather data instantly popped up! Apparently, I'm line-of sight on the Plateau with a ground transmitter so I'm getting excellent reception. And although having an ADS-B "in only" unit is not very reliable for local traffic, I could even see the traffic going in and out of Chattanooga Class C and Nashville Class B airspace.
The best part - no subscription, all the data is "free" - which of course means we taxpayers are definitely paying for it! HA!
I did the remote install of the SkyRadar L today. I velcro'd it (it's extremely light) to the right inner sidewall under the glareshield and fabricated a RG400 male/female extension cable and attached the original antenna to that. Ran it up through the left slot for the windshield brace and zip-tied the antenna into position almost parallel to the brace tube:
Since the antenna is almost parallel to the tube and on the back-side relative to the pilot, the pilot can't even see the antenna. I know this looks like an awful position for the antenna since it is "laid-back" and has that big tube next to it, but I had seen a picture of a similar installation that worked well and this one does, too! I flew some 360's and even directly away from the approximate direction of the closest ADS-B ground transmitter and never lost signal. Just to be on the safe side, however, I did position the hinge in the antenna so that the antenna can be flipped almost vertical in case I ever had a marginal signal, thinking a more vertical position might just make the difference:
No wiring is necessary between the SkyRadar and the 720 - they "talk" via wi-fi. I had a nice line of weather displayed on the 720 today, but unfortunately, I forgot my camera for an in-flight pic, but take my word, it works great!