Plane & Pilot
Tuesday, September 3, 2013

iLevil SW

Solar-Powered GPS-WAAS, ADS-B And AHARS

I tried both WingX and Xavion with the iLevil on a one-hour test flight near my home base in Modesto, Calif. Both apps worked well. If you could only have one, WingX offers a much more complete feature set. I found the attitude indicator in WingX both accurate and easy to use.

Xavion has no preflight planning functions, and while it includes a worldwide database, it doesn't provide electronic aviation charts—but automatic guidance to the nearest runway is a very impressive feature. I tested this on a simulated engine-out near New Jerusalem, an unattended runway, and flying through the HITS boxes got me on short final with no problems. It's a very impressive app.

Neither app displayed traffic during my test flight, which isn't a surprise, since my airplane isn't equipped to transmit 978 Mhz ADS-B out signals, and thus doesn't cause ground stations to relay traffic detected by RADAR or using the 1090 Mhz Mode-S frequency that's common on heavy aircraft. I don't consider the iLevil, or any other portable ADS-B device, to be an acceptable traffic solution. The ability of the iLevel to accept input from other devices, such as Zaon's PCAS XRX, might offer a way to get close-range traffic, but that would increase the already hefty price for this solution.

Since weather was clear during my test, I was unable to see NEXRAD imagery. I was able to display local field conditions on WingX, and there are screen- shots on both the Hilton Software and Xavion web sites that illustrate how the apps display ADS-B weather radar.

I have one gripe about the iLevil hardware: No mounting is supplied. I taped mine to the glare shield on a Skylane, and that was sufficient for a test flight, but I'd suggest at least a Velcro strip, which Levil ought to include in the box.

In addition to the iLevil SW, the company makes a more advanced version aimed at the experimental market. The iLevil AW lacks the solar cells, but adds a remote GPS antenna and internal pressure sensors suitable for use with pitot and static sources. In effect, used with appropriate software, it enables a completely portable digital primary flight display (PFD).

For more information on the $1,195 iLevil SW and $1,395 iLevil AW, browse Both WingX and Xavion are available on the iPad app store.


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