Avionics Report

November 2010 Issue

Feeding The Data Beast: Little Relief in Sight

The dark side of our data-driven cockpits is that all that data isn’t free. There are ways to scrimp wisely, and new options may offer hope.

We’ve been getting an increasing number of letters like this: "I will get together my Jepp bill for you. It comes to something like $17 per flight hour, figuring my decline to 150 hours per year. Nav data for two Garmin GNSs, one MFD and one PFD; all the same, but four different charges. (Granted, the two GNS get a discount.) Plus paper charts for the southeast and electronic approach charts for the MFD." That’s $2500/year just for data. And that doesn’t include a $50/month subscription for weather, or periodic updates of terrain and obstacle data. On the road from four-dollar NACO chart books and en route charts to the modern cockpit, we’ve somehow gone off into the abyss.

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