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View Full Version : Flight planning software auto-feeding VFR route into GPS? How?


DeltaRomeo
08-27-2007, 05:38 AM
I've been playing around with Golden Eagle Flightprep (http://www.flightprep.com/) (the free version) for a few weeks.

Is there a way, once you save a flight in this application (or in some other free application) to have it automatically feed it into your GPS as a route? Here's why I ask....you could easily plan a flight on the computer at home (like this sample flight from my home field down to Galveston) that includes flying over many private and public airstrips on your way. I REALLY like the idea of, with only a couple degrees deviation, of having a suitable landing area just off the nose at all times. When you really drill down into the map you can usually find a private grass strip every ten miles or so (in Texas, at least).

Plan B would be the 'nearest' button on the GPS, of course, but there is comfort for me in a plan that includes a landing spot just over the spinner every few miles.

Entering all these waypoints into the GPS by hand would be a typing nightmare. If I could have this software auto-feed the route into my Garmin 496 so I could just pull it up and engage the autopilot....well, that would be dreamy.

In the example below, all these deviations added five minutes to the flight - and most of the waypoints are private strips. Cheap insurance...

I also like the idea of planning little sightseeing 'tours' on the home computer and uploading them to the 496...then letting the autopilot do the driving.

Ideas? Does the software already do it and I just overlooked it?

b,
dr

http://img516.imageshack.us/img516/1750/ross1hu0.jpg



A 'tour' of area private runways followed by breakfast at Hicks.

http://img505.imageshack.us/img505/2301/route1ua2.jpg

RudiGreyling
08-27-2007, 07:48 AM
Hi Doug,

Yes you have just stumbled on a very easy way to do flight planning!

The portable Garmin units are very well supported by GPS planning PC software! You can even download the Garmin version it is called MAPSOURCE.

The first problem is to get all the airfields as a waypoints file. Do a bit of searching on the net for your area. Once you have it you are set to GO!

In South Africa, I manage to get the Waypoints for every little strip, farm strips etc. You plan your trip on the PC and with touch of a button it uploads the Waypoints and Routes to your GPS.

See something interesting while flying or a strip not on your GPS, simply mark it while flying, when back home download all those points for reference to your PC. Ready for when you want to do planning again...

Some of the more expensive GPS planning tools specific for flying even has aircraft specifics, weight and balance, fuel consumption and able to file a flight plan for you, airways radio frequencies etc etc.

Good luck and enjoy!

Regards
Rudi

mburch
08-27-2007, 08:16 AM
Doug,

I believe that Jeppesen's flight planning software (http://www.jeppesen.com/flitestar) will do this, as will certain other packages (whose names I can't remember at the moment).

mcb

GrayHawk
08-27-2007, 08:44 AM
I'm going to be a little less positive about Mapsource than Rudi. While it is true that you can generate all the private air strip and other waypoints for use in Mapsource (TX shown below); the base mapping system for these programs are NOT aviation oriented in nature.

http://www.cherryfarm.com/windmillers/albums/userpics/10001/texasprivate.JPG

For Mapsource (Garmin) you get North America City Streets VXXX or whatever and very little information on aviation. For MapCreate (Lowrance) you get a little more with topo lines, hunting information, and there is a way you can get some aviation information into the "planning" software. Then when you go to plan your 'route' (flight) all of the planning tools are oriented towards hiking, hunting, or driving.

While all of this land based information is useful, it is somewhat secondary in flight planning. What I want are all the public & private airports, air space information, TFRs, SUAs, weather overlay, etc; and then be able to load the route once planned into the GPS. If the GPS is portable, then interface at the PC. If the GPS is panel mount then use data cards or plug the plane into the hangar network.

This requires a little more than any of the flight planners I've seen. The 'premium' ($$$) version of Aeroplanner is similar to this but cost$ which does not meet Doug's criteria of free. Golden Eagle should consider a GPS interface.

azrv6
08-27-2007, 10:25 PM
Doug, it's not free, but Flightsoft from RMS (http://www.rmstek.com) will do this via the FILE > EXPORT command. The garmin GPS's are an export format. Also, the latest version also supports export to Google earth. The Live Weather feature of the latest rev is pretty cool too. Dave

ksauce
08-27-2007, 10:46 PM
Hey Doug,

Another option is to use EasyGPS (http://www.easygps.com/) to do the planning and exporting. It's not built for aviation, but it's a fairly painless process. It doesn't come with any waypoints, but you should be able to pull the waypoint data from the Garmin. If not, you can get all the waypoint info you need in GPX format from NavAid (http://www.navaid.com/GPX/). I haven't done this with a proper aviation GPS unit yet as I'm still waiting on my Garmin data cable. I did, however, use EasyGPS and navaid.com to turn a StreetPilot into a poor man's aviation GPS as a temporary measure.

AeroLEDs_Support
08-27-2007, 11:42 PM
AirPlan can do this:
http://www.razorsedgesoft.com

RudiGreyling
08-28-2007, 01:31 AM
I'm going to be a little less positive about Mapsource than Rudi. <SNIP>

Hi Gary,

I agree, I did not actually recommend Mapsource as tool of choice, all I tried to say is Garmin has their own version, and I think it is FREE, there are much better GPS "FligthPlanning" software out there, but at a price. For FREE you can make Mapsource work and do what you need, but not without your VFR maps and frequency charts.

PS: In South Africa I use www.easyplan.co.za because it is a local product and has the latest updates, the big international players data is out of date and don't have the small airfields and prviate strips. It only supports Garmin GPS's, pitty since I bought an AVMAP for the RV.

Kind Regards
Rudi

Michael Burbidge
08-28-2007, 08:17 AM
I use Jeppesen Flitestar. The VFR version is only $140. It will down and upload routes directly from my Garmin GPS directly using the USB port. I have a Garmin 96. I've tried many of the free or subscription based flight planners but always come back to Flitestar.

It is a good solid product backed by a company with Aviation roots. Somehow that makes me feel better about using their software for flight planning.

GrayHawk
08-28-2007, 11:33 AM
AirPlan can do this:
http://www.razorsedgesoft.comI took a look at this one. Like it!
Designed for aviation............

Chomp
08-28-2007, 12:40 PM
Dont forget uploading to the Garmin Panel mounts as an interest as well.

GrayHawk
08-28-2007, 01:05 PM
Dont forget uploading to the Garmin Panel mounts as an interest as well.Well, if I could afford one...... :)

But seriously, what kind of interface do they allow? serial? data card?

Mike S
08-28-2007, 01:25 PM
Any of the above support Avmap????

Rudi Greyling is looking for the same in this thread

http://www.vansairforce.com/community/showthread.php?t=20063

And, I will be needing it when my 10 is done, so any input is appreciated.

GrayHawk
08-28-2007, 01:46 PM
Any of the above support Avmap????

Rudi Greyling is looking for the same in this thread

http://www.vansairforce.com/community/showthread.php?t=20063

And, I will be needing it when my 10 is done, so any input is appreciated.This is mostly the 'fault' of the various GPS manufacturors. Each of them has seen fit to 'invent' their own interfaces, file system, and proprietary storage cards, in an attempt to lock you in to their software updates, etc. As a result, there are many interfaces, and unknown file structures. There is a program called "GPSBabel" that tries to translate as many as they can.

Personally, I'd just like to see an open system, maybe using XML and standard (buy them at Walmart) data cards. After all, most of the aviation database is created using public funds. Why not let it belong to the public?

logansc
08-29-2007, 02:30 PM
What about panel mounts (someone asked)? I'm still building but I have already bought a GNC300XL. Can it be loaded from a flight planner that is used off-line/ Would be nice to plan trips the night before and to be able to load them before takeoff.

Regards,


Lee...

N858JK
08-31-2007, 07:04 AM
I downloaded the trial version of AirPlan and have been playing around with it as a flight planning tool. It seems quite usable. Except, I cannot get it to connect with my Garmin 496. The Garmin gives me an message saying it recognizes it is connected to my PC via the USB cable. Setting the AirPlan to look at Comm4, it "sees" the GPS, tries to connect, then gives me a protocol error message. A dialog box stays on the screen saying it is "Connecting" and nothing else happens.

The AirPlan user manual is useless and gives no suggestions nor do I find any menu options in the program for setting or selecting a GPS protocol. Does anyone have any suggestions?

AeroLEDs_Support
08-31-2007, 09:27 AM
I downloaded the trial version of AirPlan and have been playing around with it as a flight planning tool. It seems quite usable. Except, I cannot get it to connect with my Garmin 496. The Garmin gives me an message saying it recognizes it is connected to my PC via the USB cable. Setting the AirPlan to look at Comm4, it "sees" the GPS, tries to connect, then gives me a protocol error message. A dialog box stays on the screen saying it is "Connecting" and nothing else happens.

The AirPlan user manual is useless and gives no suggestions nor do I find any menu options in the program for setting or selecting a GPS protocol. Does anyone have any suggestions?

Unfortunately AirPlan does not support the USB interface, but it does support the RS-232 interface to the 496. If you can get your hands on an RS-232 cable for your 496 (Garmin sells them on their website) it will work with your 496, and it matches the internal database for airports and VORs (won't create user waypoints for stuff already in the database).

GrayHawk
08-31-2007, 12:47 PM
Unfortunately AirPlan does not support the USB interface, but it does support the RS-232 interface to the 496. If you can get your hands on an RS-232 cable for your 496 (Garmin sells them on their website) it will work with your 496, and it matches the internal database for airports and VORs (won't create user waypoints for stuff already in the database).
I liked my trial of AirPlan so I just registered it in support of the author. I have been able to use the GPS. My set up is GPSMAP 196 with serial cable, but using a serial to USB dongle, Windows XP....

N858JK
12-19-2007, 08:24 AM
I purchased a copy of AirPlan (seems like a great flight planning program for an incredibly low price of $10!) but am having difficulty getting it to upload flight plans (routes) to my Garmin 496. I am using a Garmin serial data cable and have set up the serial port on my PC as Comm 1 (per device manager, Windows), 9600 b/s. no parity, 1 stop bit, no flow control. The Garmin is set to Garmin serial data format, Host.

When I click on the AirPlan connect command I get a dialog box saying Garmin product ID is 595. If I try to ack the dialog box it comes back a few times and then says Protocol error, attempt to connect failed..

What am I doing wrong?

BTW, if I change the Garmin's protocol to NMEA In/NMEA out, the Garmin will drive the moving map display of AirPlan. But using that same protocol on the Garmin does not allow AirPlan to upload files to the Garmin!

bigbill25
12-19-2007, 06:43 PM
Personally, I'd just like to see an open system, maybe using XML and standard (buy them at Walmart) data cards. After all, most of the aviation database is created using public funds. Why not let it belong to the public?

GPX is an open-source XML schema for GPS data. A lot of programs are starting to support it.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GPX

--Bill

bigbill25
12-19-2007, 06:45 PM
BTW, if I change the Garmin's protocol to NMEA In/NMEA out, the Garmin will drive the moving map display of AirPlan. But using that same protocol on the Garmin does not allow AirPlan to upload files to the Garmin!

NMEA 0183 is purely a position reporting format, so you would not be able to do any uploads or downloads using it. I haven't used AirPlane or a 496, but with all of my other Garmin devices, it needs to be in "Garmin" mode to move data.

--Bill

GrayHawk
12-19-2007, 08:00 PM
GPX is an open-source XML schema for GPS data. A lot of programs are starting to support it.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GPX

--Bill
Yes, I use GPX quite a bit but I can't seem to get my SD card to slip into my Garmin GPSMAP 196. :(

However since I will be doing a panel upgrade to an EFIS system that DOES have an SD card slot and DOES use GPX, I guess the 196 will get demoted to backup.

ppxdf
04-23-2008, 06:17 PM
Hey guys,

Could someone post here or send me the profile information (Basic Aircraft Data, Aircraft Setup information for Jeppesen FliteStar,
I know I can go to "create new aircraft" but if you already have done it, plz send me.
I can see RV6 there, but not RV9.

Thanks in advance,
Helio from Brazil.
ppxdf@hotmail.com

Norman CYYJ
04-23-2008, 08:45 PM
Just use the RV-6 data and modify the numbers to match your plane and then save the file as an RV-9. Piece of cake. Probably faster than downloading a file and added it in.

ppxdf
04-29-2008, 08:20 PM
Thanks Norman CYYJ,

You are right;
I am trying to do that. My problem is I dont know the differences between both planes. So, I dont know where I have to modify in order get a profile similar RV9.
I want to help my friend who is a RV9 owner.

Thanks so much

Helio.
MII-1948