Real-time, in-flight weather is not a new concept. Sirius XM and WSI have been providing it to pilots for years.
ADS-B, the key element in the United States government’s plan for the NextGen air traffic control system, has been in a long and slow development process. The service, which provides weather, traffic—and ultimately will provide clearances and other ATC communications—is now becoming available as the FAA pushes toward its full implementation by 2020.
The first element of NextGen to become available has been the weather products. But in order for pilots to take advantage of this service, they need an ADS-B receiver and a way to display the data.
Most readers would agree that the Apple iPad has emerged as the dominant choice for in-cockpit informational display. Gulfstream is certifying the iPad as an EFB on its new G650 ultra-high speed business jet; Jeppesen is aggressively pushing its chart service toward electronic formats; and companies like ForeFlight have developed apps for the iPad that are both easy to use and extremely cost-effective.
A few months ago, I did my first coast-to-coast flight using only an iPad for charts. The technology is amazing. In the confines of a General Aviation cockpit, it is wonderful to have all that material at your fingertips.
ForeFlight continues to expand its product with the introduction of in-flight weather. It has teamed up with a company called Appareo that has developed a self-contained ADS-B weather receiver—Stratus—and displays the product on the ForeFlight app on an iPad.
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