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New Mac And Garmin 296 Not Compatible; Ipad Options


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Recently bought a new Macbook Air, love it! Fast, light, Parallels runs Windows (Flightduty.xls) no problems. Great computer...


BUT it won't recognize my Garmin 296 gps. Both Garmin and Apple acknowledge the problem and have no plans to fix it. Apparently, while the USB 3.0 ports on the Mac are "backwards compatible", they're not compatible with a relic like the 296. Shyte! Anyone have a proven fix for this problem?


So I'm likely to be forced into the current decade and join the iPad cockpit crowd. Foreflight and Air Nav Pro both look pretty good, each with it's strengths and weaknesses. I really like flying with the topo maps on my 296, are there any iPad aviation solutions that include the option to display topos?



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Air Nav Pro will work with whatever compatible maps you can download to it, if that makes sense. I've downloaded Canada Topo 250k for BC and Alberta West, and I've set them to be priority. I also have the Air Navigation 4.0 western Canada stuff, which means the airport info (nice when you forget to write down radio frequencies :P), airspace classes (including restricted airspace) and all that stuff still show up. I can't remember where I found them to download - it may have been through Air Nav's website. I do remember it was pretty easy. I also like that the elevation info shows up on the little terrain profile window below the moving map (useful as a decision-making tool when working with low ceilings and rising terrain).


I don't have Foreflight, but some of my co-workers do, and it's a heckuva all-in-one flight planning tool if you're going to be spending any amount of time flying around airports or in busier airspace. As a dirt-poor low timer, I couldn't justify the expense and yearly subscription fees when Air Nav Pro does everything I need (like display topo maps). I also like that Air Nav Pro is a one-time purchase that works on all your i-devices, so if my iPad kacks it I could conceivably use my iPhone as a backup.


Some other things I've learned:


Sort out a power supply and/or backup battery. Lots of guys I work with have made cords with a 24v lighter plug on one end and a USB port on the other. We do have a couple machines that the engineers have installed USB ports, but I've opted to buy myself a big external backup battery that is good for several iPhone charges and a couple iPad charges. On its own the iPad should last all day if you turn off Bluetooth and wifi and all the extra stuff, and put it to sleep when you're landed for any length of time.


Also, they apparently don't like heat, so don't leave it in a dash mount bracket when you're parked facing the sun. If it's really cold and you're using the plastic ram mount holder, leave your iPad in the holder and unscrew the ram mount when you take your iPad out of the machine. One of my buddies found out the hard way just how brittle the holders get when he busted his while un-clipping his iPad at -25.


If you get the wifi-only version of the iPad, you'll need an external GPS dongle as these don't have internal GPS capabilities. The wifi/LTE iPads do have GPS capabilities, but you do not need a data plan nor a sim card for this to work.


Hope this helps. I'm still learning my way around Air Nav Pro myself, but so far so good!





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I wasn't sure if the IPad foreflight combo was the way to go so I bought a used IPad 3 with Retina display and the data/internal gps for $300. Subscribed to foreflight a year ago and now I'm a convert. Initially bought a 6500 milliamp back up battery but now I have a cannon plug set up with 24v dual USB adapter. Can charge the phone too. I found a free app TopoCanada where you can download the 1:50k and 1:250k topo maps. It's orders of magnetitude better than a 296 with mapsource topo. I also sometimes load the area I'm working with gogglearth and you can zoom in and watch yourself move through the terrain. I'm using an ottercase which came with a clip in mount. Easy to screw a Ram arm into and I have a suction cup. Got a Ram three way ball and extra arms so I usually attach to whatever GPS mount is in the machine but sometimes go suction cup. The whole set up is way better than a Garmin 796 and fraction of the cost. I did eventually buy the bad elf external gps but rarely use it cause the IPad gives me 5m accuracy and I don't need WAAS precision, not flying in clouds. The newest version of foreflight allows downloads of customer gps files but I was doing that to the 296 and haven't taken the time to figure that out yet. So for $450 bucks I pretty much have an EFIS on the dash. The next step would be the ADSB receiver for $800. and it adds attitude display, traffic, real time wx etc...

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Have the Samsung Tab 4-7, and don't have that problem at all, may be an actual battery problem.

MY biggest peeve with the Samsung tabs is they don't allow to save to external SD card without rooting the darn thing, but if you do, you have up to however large the micro SD cards are at the moment, for your database. For $180, rather than $300 for an Ipad, with more money for the foreflight system. You can add waypoints but it's a bit tricky. You have VNC's of the entire country, IFR charts, all procedures, CFS, CAP GEN etc. It's a terrific system that's free.

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