Stratux AHRS Android App under development

Okay so here’s the problem.  I started using Garmin Pilot because I didn’t have an iPad and it seemed like the best option at the time (about two years ago).  Yes, I know there are lots of other options that provide nearly all or maybe even more now but once you get married to an app and learn how everything works it’s hard to switch, even as someone who writes software for a living.  Garmin doesn’t support the Stratux ADS-B receiver, that also provides AHRS and GPS position.  I tried several different possibilities to get Garmin Pilot to recognize the data stream but never got it working to a usable state so instead I decided to just write a dedicated app for Android that displays the AHRS, traffic and GPS position.  Once it’s to a stable, usable, tested state, I’ll make it publicly available.

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Warrenton to Ottawa in Under 10 Minutes

Due to terrible winter weather all across the northeast over Christmas it just wasn’t possible to fly.  Well it was but I didn’t want to spend untold hours unburying the plane or getting stuck waiting for conditions to improve when we left, which was a highly probable so we just drove instead.  I mounted a GoPro and recorded the entire trip in time lapse at about 1 frame every 2 seconds.  There are a few sections of 10 or 15 minutes missing between when the battery died and I replaced it with a new one.  I should have just attached it to a big batter pack but I didn’t think of it because I had lots of spare batteries.  This is the last time we ever drive that far.

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Goofing off

We were supposed to go to Ingalls Field but ended up just goofing around near the airport.

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Stratux for Newbies

A couple months ago I cut together several short instructionals on building and setting up a Stratux ADS-B receiver.  It doesn’t get into the weeds about building since it’s as simple as buying the parts and putting them together.  Most of the video details creating the image on the SD card and connecting it to an Android tablet or iPad.

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Critters in the Cockpit

A few days ago I opened the side cockpit door of my Cherokee 140 to find bird poop on the seats, floorboards and even some on the glare shield.  At first I assumed something got through the hole for the nose gear and made it’s way through the hole for the rudder pedals but that hole is really small and didn’t seem that plausible but how else could he have gotten in?  I would have noticed a bird flitting around when I buttoned it up the previous week so he didn’t get in the easy way.  I posed the question on the AOPA group on Facebook and among some of the more smartass answers one very helpful member mentioned the air scoop under the aft seats that critters can crawl up and get into the cockpit if the holes in the front of the lid of the box underneath the aft seats are large enough a critter could get in.  The user mentioned using chicken/rabbit wire tucked into the hole would solve the problem which I might eventually do but for now I’ll just keep a piece of foam stuffed into the hole and add removing it to my preflight checks.

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Paxcess Power Bank

I was really how well this power bank performed on a recent four-day camping trip out in southwestern Arkansas.  It powered my CPAP machine all four nights for six to eight hours each, partially charged my phone one night and completely charged another camper’s iPhone.  It still had somewhere between empty and 20% capacity remaining (one out of five bars on the indicator).  This power bank was a much smaller, lighter and much less expensive option compared to larger offerings from Anker and others.  Many of those power banks all have good reviews but they’re very expensive and were overkill for what I was looking for and just too much of a weight penalty in the Piper Cherokee that was very very close to maximum gross weight with two people and all our camping gear.

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Ammo Box Power Supply

This was a quick project made mostly from stuff I already had.  I had seen the small plastic ammo boxes at Walmart but never really needed one since I prefer the larger 50cal metal cans for storing ammo.  In any case I built a Stratux ADS-B receiver that required more current draw than what my RavPower power bank could supply.  Rather than buy a newer one and run into the same problem knowing these are designed for charging phones and tablets, I decided to just build a supply from items I already had besides the ammo box and switches.  It’s basically a 12v scooter type battery with a switch bank that can energize the USB and 12v outlets individually.  The battery is friction fit inside the ammo can and the switch plate is screwed onto the front of the can and rewired to turn the outlets on individually.  There are probably lithium power packs that can accomplish the same thing that are lighter and smaller, but this solution is drop dead reliable and made from easily obtained items from Amazon and Walmart.

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The Great American Eclipse 2017 at West Carolina Regional

It was a long day of flying but worth it.  About three and a half hours there and another three and a half back over mostly mountains and some weaving around clouds to stay VFR but we made it there in time for the eclipse and were back home just before dark.  We stopped at Mountain Empire to refuel which wasn’t really necessary.  We made it from West Carolina Regional back home with well over an hour of fuel to spare on the way back flying mostly direct.  The eclipse was well worth seeing in complete totality.  Others who only saw the partial eclipse were very underwhelmed.  Even at 98% coverage there is still enough light for it to just get a bit darker and not be able to see the halo.  At totality it really is impressive and you are able to see the eclipse for a couple minutes without eye protection.  The trip was worth it even if the airports did overcharge for fuel.

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Akaso EK7000 4K Action Camera

I think my fascination with budget action cameras stops here.  Yes this camera does record in 4K but it’s not GoPro, Garmin, Sony, etc. 4K.  You really do get what you pay for and the video from those cameras is markedly sharper with more accurate colors than these budget cameras.  While I’m not so disappointed as to send it back, if I had it to do again I think I’d just get another Wimius Q1 since I like that camera better even though it’s a little older.  If all you want is a cheap camera to record whatever floats your specific boat (or flies my plane in my case) this camera is fine.  It’s function and quality are almost identical to the Wimius Q1 except the Wimius has a much better user interface, a solid driver for transferring via USB, better time lapse options, and the Wimius records in true 30 frames per second in 4K where the Akaso only does 25 frames per second in 4K.  I would highly recommend the Wimius over the Akaso if you’re looking for a budget action camera.

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Our flight to Shenendoah

Dominique is still getting used to the whole small plane thing so for her first bonafide cross-country trip we flew out to KSHD Shenendoah, stopped to stretch our legs, then back home.  In hindsight somewhere a little less scenic might have been a better choice with the wind that whips around the hills there but it is a nice airport to visit and the people at the FBO are super friendly helpful.  The flight itself was about two weeks ago on July 15th.

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