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Old 12-28-2011, 06:00 PM
Dances with Bassets Dances with Bassets is offline
Join Date: May 2011
Location: Arlington, Texas
Posts: 11
Default IPAD VS Garmin 796

Since Skyview is coming to the RV-12 as a single screen I was interested in getting some feedback on the pluses and minuses of an IPAD or Android tablet and the Garmin 796. I would prefer actual usage comments as opposed to I love my IPAD fanaticism. As a side note I'm composing this on a Sony Tablet S. Any hard numbers on yearly subscription updates would be appreciated. Thanks - DWB
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Old 12-28-2011, 08:07 PM
Peterk Peterk is offline
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Texas
Posts: 1,378

the resolution on the 796 is designed to be seen in a cockpit, the IPad is not. for that you will pay another $1200. The 796 also has the ability to interface with you other equip (autopilot, XM weather, traffic) and the IPad does not. Both have geo-referenced charts (your little plane on the chart). I have an IPad that I use for the charts. I use it as you would paper charts...look at it now and then for situational awareness, then put it away. If they are current, they are legal and certainly easier to carry than paper. Most IPad chart subscriptions are annual with free chart change updates. The 796 VFR/IFR map update is a $99/year subscription.

Personally, if I was buying today, I would put the 796 in the plane and keep the IPad at home for all the other wonderful things it does (books, etc).
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Old 12-28-2011, 08:16 PM
newamiga newamiga is offline
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Barneveld, NY
Posts: 178

I own both and fly with both. My plane is a Gobosh 700 LSA with a full canopy over my head so lots of sun in the cockpit. The 796 is better in the sun by far. The performance of the iPad in the sun just doesn't compare. I am getting a LOA from the Aero Poland to install the 796 permanently to replace the 496 I have permanently installed now. I prefer flight planning with the iPad using ForeFlight. It is easier to use the drag and drop points, fuel prices along the route and turning on and off layers in ForeFlight. It is also easier for me anyway to take the ForeFlight out and bring it into the FBO at a stop to make updates to the plan. That said, the 796 is heads and shoulders above the 496 in ease of use in my opinion.

I have used the external GPS with the iPad and it does work fine as a moving map and is very accurate. One thing it can do the 796 can't is show you flying over the charts as the base layer of the moving map. It appears to me that the 796 can't do this unless I am missing something. The price difference is there for sure but to me I will feel much better with the Air Gizmos mounted 796 than a permanently mounted iPad. The other things it has that the iPad doesn't XM radio and Weather as well as pseudo synthetic vision in the 796 make it a better moving map solution for me than the iPad. I do believe however the iPad is a great tool for aviation use.

Private Pilot
RV-12 (sn 120513) empennage kit done, wing kit done, fuselage kit done.
RV-14 (sn 140356) QB Fuselage on order, Wing, Empennage kit in my hangar.
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Old 12-28-2011, 08:23 PM
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Brantel Brantel is offline
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Newport, TN
Posts: 6,784

I have an Ipad and have used it in the RV. The screen stinks in the brite light of a typical RV bubble canopy. The 796 is reported to have a sunlight readable display. The Ipad is not even close. Any report to the otherwise claiming the Ipad is great in brite light....well, I have some ocean front property in....The Ipad can also overheat if left in direct sunlight. If it does, it will display an error message on a black screen until you cool it down.

As was mentioned before, don't expect the Ipad to talk much to your other avionics although there are some apps capable or soon to be capable of displaying in flight XM and ADS-B products like weather and traffic.

Other than that, the Ipad works great for all the other great things it does.
Brantel (Brian Chesteen),
RV-7/TU, #72823, N159SB
Lyc. O-360 carbed, HARTZELL BA CS Prop, Dual P-MAGs, Dual Garmin G3X Touch
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Old 12-28-2011, 09:11 PM
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LeeM_2000 LeeM_2000 is offline
Join Date: May 2009
Location: KS
Posts: 107

I fly with both, but if I could only have one, it would undoubtedly be the 796. iPad is frustratingly difficult to see in sunlight and unless you mount it to something, I find it a bit unwieldy in the cockpit--granted I have the heavier 1st-gen iPad and no place to mount it. Because of this, the iPad usually stays in the flight bag while the 796 rides on a yoke mount (I belong to a spam-flying club). I like the 3D and panel views on the 796, the terrain alerts, and the fact that it is easy to see and easy to use. Besides, there is just no substitute for XM weather and AOPA airport information when you are traveling cross country.

Take all that with plenty of NaCl. I am a sucker for gadgets, but one who has never quite bonded with the iPad. I just can't seem to get the utility out of it that I can a laptop for my everyday use. Several of my iPad owning non-flying friends have all but abandoned their laptops.

The 796 does display the airplane and route overlaid on a chart similar to ForeFlight.

I have also experienced the iPad overheat issue. On or off, you just can't leave it in the sun. No permanent damage, but it just won't work for awhile until it cools off.

Lee M.
RV-7(A?) in work.

Last edited by LeeM_2000 : 12-28-2011 at 09:16 PM.
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Old 12-29-2011, 04:29 AM
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Capflyer Capflyer is offline
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 1,055

I have an HTC Flyer 7" tablet and find it great in the small RV4 cockpit. It is much better in sunlight than the iPad comparing it side by side with buddies holding their iPads in other planes. They always comment on the screen brightness comparison. It is an Android tablet and the program is Naviator. Not as powerful yet as Foreflight but definitely getting there. If you have an Android phone or tablet already download the app, you get the first 30 days fully featured free. The yearly subscription cost is $50 which includes all charts and plates, geo-referenced charts, updates, TFR's, airport info, etc. It will also route you via airways and allow rubberbanding. Geo-referenced approach plates, approaches, SIDS & STARS, and WX are coming. The tablet itself has built in GPS and I have never lost the signal. So far it has been very accurate. My personal opinion is that the 796 is an aviation dedicated unit that is extremely expensive to keep updated and when you get to your destination it gets to stay in your plane. With a tablet you take it with you to your hotel or tent (Oshkosh) and use it for video, pictures, mail and internet making it a great multi-use alternative that is very reasonably priced and maintained. I really like the Foreflight on the iPad but the 10" size is too big for 2 seat RV's that have a stick between your legs, sunlight readable issues,and it's Apple which I'm not a fan of but that's a whole 'nother discussion not for this site.
Based in the DC SFRA where the Forces of Darkness gaze upon our every move
Current Project - RV8 Hot Rod
Currently Flying - RV8
RV4 - FAST & FUN! 0320 GRT IFR Panel - Sold to another Very Lucky Guy
RV-7A Built, Flown, then Sold to a Very Lucky Guy

Last edited by Capflyer : 12-29-2011 at 04:31 AM.
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Old 12-29-2011, 10:13 AM
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N395V N395V is offline
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Mendon South Carolina
Posts: 1,391

I think it probably better to discuss the purpose of, attributes, and weaknesses of each system based on their intended use rather than a discussion of one vs the other.

The Garmin 696/796 is a piece of purpose built hardware with specifically designed software to be an in cockpit aid to navigation and situational awareness as well as provide some hardware interfaces with existing avionics.

The i pad is a computer primarily designed to fill a role in social and entertainments settings. Numerous apps, ( software) such as foreflight, have been designed as an aid in flight planning and as an EFB.

The Garmin products do a marvelous job for what they were intended to do in the cockpit.

In my experience with the i pad I find it does a marvelous job as a flight planning aid and an EFB, replacing paper charts at a much more economically acceptable level.

From my standpoint I do not think the 796 is a good substitute for the i pad and certainly the i pad is not a substitute for a 796. This of course will depend on what you are expecting from the unit and what you intend to use it for.

Economics are another factor if you goal is to always have current charts in the cockpit and to a large degree this depends on the are of coverage you need and what charts.

If you fly VFR only in a small geographic area it is hard to cost justify an i pad or 796 and chart subscription over the cost of a few sectionals. If on the other hand you NEED the total US in sectionals, plates low alt IFR charts etc. an i pad and foreflight are hard to beat.

Bear in mind that for part 91 operations in our aircraft there are no FARs that require charts of any type be in the aircraft at all much less current charts.

Milt Concannon
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Old 12-29-2011, 10:39 AM
DanWright DanWright is offline
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Ridgecrest, CA
Posts: 126

Originally Posted by N395V View Post
I think it probably better to discuss the purpose of, attributes, and weaknesses of each system based on their intended use rather than a discussion of one vs the other.
That is a key point. Different missions, different target markets, and seriously different price points.

With the RV-12 being limited to one Skyview monitor, post certification I may add a Ram ball to the right hand side and experiment with various tablet like addons. While I have a preference for Android based solutions, the Ipad ones are clearly much further along.
Dan Wright
Building RV-12 #511 in the Mojave desert (1976W reserved)
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