September 27, 2018
OK when I fly with my Garmin G900x I get Sirius-XM weather in flight and it is amazing: I can see everything before it happens.
BUT, it has two tiny little imperfections:
1: I have to select each tiny little bit of weather from a special weather screen in my Garmin G900, requiring my to navigate several different pages to GET to the weather page, and then several different SUB-MENUS within THAT to get to all the tiny little weather options!!!! Whoever wrote that system seemed to be a database programmer, not a pilot!!!! Who has time to nest through all these sub-ages and then sub-menus to get to each tiny little bit of weather!?!?!?!? For Gods’ sake, man!!!
2: If the Sirius-XM subscription runs out in flight due to some annoying little thing like an expired credit card or account error of some sort, then: NO WEATHER FOR YOU!
So, an amazing system has ta few limits that I could imagine being better.
Well, I wrote an App called Xavion that uses the FREE ADS-B weather, so there is no subscription required, so it won’t be turned off due to some annoying account billing issue.
So that’s all good, but what about Garmins’ never-ending sub-pages and sub-menus to GET to anything?
Why have so darn many buttons for weather, that are so hard to get to?
Well there’s no need at all, and here is how I do it in Xavion:
When I am flying, there is always a clear type of weather that I am actually worried about it.
And it ain’t icing conditions in South Carolina in the summer time.
And it ain’t thunderstorms and lightning in Vermont in the winter time.
And it ain’t headwinds and turbulence when I’m up to my eyeballs in either of the more-important things mentioned above.
Whenever we fly, depending on the flight, there is a CERTAIN TYPE OF WEATHER we are worried about:
Thunderstorms in the summertime of the Southeast.
Icing in the winter-time or spring and fall in the North.
Turbulence and headwinds when the more critical stuff above is not a factor.
Cloud tops and VFR airports when we just want to get away from the weather and fly VFR.
There is always a certain TYPE of weather we are looking out for… and it is only a few types.
Now with the latest updates in Xavion, there is a SINGLE option in the SETTINGS page called WEATHER.
You can turn it on when you first download the App from the App store and never touch it again.
There is no harm in leaving it on forever, because the info it presents in flight is as little or as much as you want!
Once that single option is turned on, then in the MAP screen of Xavion, a few little buttons show up in the lower-left:
Just five buttons! That’s it!
And just these four simple buttons display ALL of the ADS-B weather, including the new weather products that just came out this year!
Here is how we get the ENTIRE suite of new ADS-B weather with just five little buttons:
THIS is the button you hit when you are flying around storms!
This shows NEXRAD precip, and also the clouds around the precip so you can see how far out the clouds go from the storms, AND all of the lightning strikes in the area! All of this info is easily plotted at the same time, and is all relevant to summertime flying: This is what lets you avoid storms! Hit one button and you have all the weather you need to avoid thunderstorms and other types of heavy precip.
For those flights where ICING is you concern, just hit this ONE BUTTON!
This shows the icing forecast from the NOAA at all altitudes from 2,000 to 24,000 feet.
As well as the icing forecast, I also lay that over a cloud map so you can see where the visible moisture is (ice can only form in visible moisture!) and as well I throw down the freezing level as well so you can get a quick-look at how low you have to limbo to get out of the ice in the descent! This is especially cool because the ADSB broadcast does NOT include the freezing level!!! (WHUUUUUUUUT?) Yep, they never send the freezing level, but I still show it to you! How? Easy! They DO broadcast winds and temperatures aloft, so Xavion looks at the temperatures aloft and just finds where the freezing level must be from those temperatures aloft! Simple!
So, with a single button-press, you get the clouds, freezing level, and icing risk all on-screen at once: Surely enough to avoid icing!
Now for those flights where you are NOT afraid of bad weather, you are instead annoyed by headwinds.
We often want to try different altitudes to duck headwinds, but that often puts us in turbulence!
So, now with Xavion, we show the winds aloft as arrows with speed indicators overlayed on the turbulence forecast map!
This lets us see the winds and turbulence all at once, easily! Now, just one button press to see both the WINDS AND turbulence, so you can make your altitude selection.
OK maybe everything with storms, icing, winds, and turbulence is just fine, and you just feel like getting out of the clouds anyway.
Just hit the could tops button to see how high you will have to go to escape the clouds.
And if you just want to see where you can go in a hurry, then hit this button and all the airports with weather reports will be shown in color (green for VFR, yellow for MVFR, red for IFR), with clouds as well so you can see what is VFR or clear at-a-glance. This is the sum of escape options available with a single button-press.
So, that is how the weather (including the new ADS-B weather) is shown in Xavion, all with just five buttons right on the main map!
No more fumbling around for weather in flight: Everything is right there at a glance with one button-press for any given situation!