The portable iFly 700 navigation unit features a seven-inch touch screen with a moving-map GPS that overlays flight data on FAA sectional charts.
Imagine this: You’ve just launched on a trip to Las Vegas and have a magic sectional chart taped to your panel. You touch the Vegas airport symbol on the sectional—and a circle of red dots paints around your finger! A menu pops up with key choices. You select “Fly Direct To Here” with a tap of your finger. A high-contrast magenta course line pops up from your airplane icon to the destination. You’ve just created a simple flight plan!
En route, you touch airport symbols to read comprehensive A/FD airport information. A storm threatens. No problemo: You drag the course line to set new waypoints and virtually “bend” your course. Real-time readouts display speed, altitude, course information and more. And the chart is always current and displays all the sectionals, including Alaska and Hawaii!
Behind The Wizard’s Curtain
Of course we’re not just land-of-Oz dreaming here: Today, there’s just such a device that you can buy for $499. Behold the iFly 700, a handheld, seven-inch touch-screen, moving-map GPS that displays en route flight data on top of official FAA full-color, high-resolution charts. Private pilots should find the iFly a natural fit for the cockpit due to its simplicity, broad functionality, ease of use and low price. IFR pilots aren’t left out: Low-Enroute Charts and Approach/Departure Plates are available. The display is larger than any comparably priced handheld GPS. It weighs under 13 ounces, is bright in daylight, and powers up with a cigarette-lighter power tap, optional external battery or AC plug.
Adventure Pilot’s principals Walter Boyd and Bill Strahan are veteran software programmers for the corporate travel industry and longtime pilots. Their clients include Fortune 500 companies such as Intel and JCPenny, as well as Expedia and American Express. A ways back, they partnered up to form Adventure Pilot. “Rather than create something to change the world,” recounts Boyd, “we wanted to provide immediate benefit to a whole lot of pilots. We wanted a GPS that could evolve in features and capabilities over time, without having to buy a whole new GPS.”
Adventure Pilot is off to a great start with brisk sales and a flood of happy customer testimonials. Boyd and Strahan constantly revise the product’s functionality, and every several months, feature updates are available on the website www.iFlyGPS.com.
The charts include all pertinent legend information and are downloadable any time at a single data-subscription rate of $69 per year ($89 includes IFR Low-Enroute Charts).
Under The Hood
Like all handheld GPS devices, iFly 700 isn’t FAA-certified. Its primary purpose is to enhance a pilot’s ability to keep a situational “Big Picture” throughout the flight. As with many leading GPS handhelds, it employs the “gold standard,” the same SiRFstarIII GPS chip set that’s a key component of units from Garmin and other makers. It can process the signals of all visible GPS and WAAS satellites simultaneously, is very fast and is a real power miser.
A unique feature of the iFly is its lack of mechanical buttons. This is true touch-screen usability, with the same intuitive chops of an Apple iPhone or iPad.
Features...And More Features
The detailed charts display en route information you can easily zoom into or out of, effortlessly transition from one chart to another, and call up flight information, all with a tap or drag of a finger: fun and so easy.
Additional features include USB and MCX (external antenna) ports, an optional external GPS antenna ($18), a graphic display of TFRs, a “Nearest Airport” feature and a complete A/FD database. The operating voltage can range from 12 to 28 volts, for airplanes with 24-volt electrical systems. And there’s even a remote control. Why? In heavy turbulence, both button-centric and touch-screen input can be challenging. The handheld remote toggles commonly used features and mostly makes input a nonissue in a punchy cockpit.
Sophisticated and intuitive flight planning is input by touch or on-screen QWERTY keyboard.
Boyd and Strahan make software upgrades on a regular basis. The up-date due as of this writing included Terminal Area Charts and north-up/track-up orientation, oft-requested features from customers. “It’s a bit of a shock; I’ve always been a ‘north-up’ guy,” says Boyd.
Text on the sectional maps will be sideways when in track-up mode, but one touch can instantly toggle the system between track-up and north-up for quick reading.
For those who prefer always-up text, iFly has a “Vector” mode screen with basic GPS-common features such as airspaces and airports, major highways and the course line; and the text displays correctly, whatever the orientation.
ADS-B is another big feature on the upgrade horizon. This new technology uses satellite navigation to let aircraft and ground stations all see each other.
Vertical navigation, terrain warning voice prompts, streamlined IFR flight planning, NMEA serial output (for autopilots, fuel-flow computers and more—experimental aircraft only), simulated analog instruments including CDI (course deviation indicator), and road maps also are on the docket for future upgrades. All feature upgrades are software-enabled and included in the subscription.
The unit comes with a case, suction mount, AC and DC power cords and the remote control. How confident is the company in its product? Adventure Pilot offers a 30-day satisfaction guarantee or gives a full refund, including all shipping costs.
To learn more, visit www.iFlyGPS.com. A complete list of features can be found on the company’s website.