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Old 06-07-2016, 02:41 PM
John Owen John Owen is offline
Join Date: May 2011
Location: Liberty, MO
Posts: 188

I am considering buying an EFIS that uses SA (haven't decided whether to go Dynon or AFS vs Garmin). I am used to fast downloads on my FF and Garmin applications. I can't imagine it taking hours to get a partial USA download. Like one poster, I would rather pay more and get a faster system. This is very timely for me.

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Old 06-07-2016, 03:32 PM
PilotBrent PilotBrent is offline
Join Date: Dec 2011
Location: Hackettstown, NJ
Posts: 439

Everyone has different experiences for different reasons. I use a MAC (which is more challenging than straight Windows) and the Parallels emulator which I already had in place. For me, it really works smoothly - yet depending on how much of the US territory you need/want it certainly can take what can seem to be a long time. Once a month I stick in the thumb drive, start it up and go cut the grass or something. Its like running the dishwasher which I occasionally do as well. By the time I'm back I've updated more of the country than I'll ever fly to and even southern Canada.

Definitely takes longer than Foreflight updates which I also keep up with. Still nice having a complete set of maps and other data in the panel.
Brent Connelly
Hackettstown, NJ
RV-12, N913BC

Check out & subscribe to my Youtube channel for latest RV-12 flying videos...
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Old 04-14-2018, 02:18 PM
ben barron ben barron is offline
Join Date: Sep 2013
Location: Fall City, WA
Posts: 113
Default Seattle Avionics update

Would appreciate any recent users of SA to provide comment on product quality and download speed.

I have ForeFlight but I am looking to get better map imagery on my Skyview
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Old 04-14-2018, 03:43 PM
Tony_T's Avatar
Tony_T Tony_T is offline
Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: Lacey, WA
Posts: 1,227
Thumbs up SA charts

Ben, I just recently became a SA charts user. I have fairly fast internet connection and it took about 2 1/2 hours to download WA, ID, OR, CA sectionals, low alt IFR, and all the approach charts and airport diagrams. The data goes to a thumb drive and the drive needs to be installed in the SkyView USB jack to have the charts available. This was my first download, future downloads only update what is new so will be faster.

I suggest a quality USB stick, not a cheapo, and make it at least 32GB.

If you have two screens there needs to be a data thumb drive in each screen. I like having the sectional on the right screen and use an uncluttered Dynon map for navigation on the pilot EFIS. It is easy to swap the screens if you want to see something on the sectional up close.

I use a Mac now after too much frustration with Windows but I still have an old IBM laptop with WinXP and the SA download manager works fine on that machine. The download manager program is not real user friendly but once you see how it works, it is acceptable and I had no glitches downloading the charts.

As far as product quality is concerned, the chart imagery is good and very nice to have on the SkyView. One feature I really like is being able to toggle between the map and the last chart viewed or an airport taxi diagram with the right joystick button. Once on the ground at a busy airport like PAE or BFI you can pull up the taxi diagram quickly when you call ground for taxi instructions. The taxi diagrams are geo-referenced so the little airplane tags along with you on the screen.

I don't think the imagery is any better than what is on FF. The big thing for me is just having everything needed on the Dynon.

I too have FF on the iPad and will now only have it aboard for back-up. I'm not too sure I even need it for back-up. I never liked using the iPad in the cockpit. With the SA charts you have the electronic flight bag right on the screen in front of you. Yes, it is another annual subscription, but I think it will be worth it.
RV-12 #202 -- Flying
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Old 04-14-2018, 03:58 PM
dlloyd3's Avatar
dlloyd3 dlloyd3 is offline
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: Locust, NC
Posts: 391

Everything Tony said plus to ease the pain of long download times, have extra thumbdrives plugged in all the time and let the SA Data Manager do the updates at its leisure. Two thumbdrives can be updated at the same time. Before heading to the airport with an update, download the current obstacle and database from the Dynon site to each thumbdrive. At the airport, swap the old/new thumbdrives, upload the Dynon database from either (if you have the Ethernet cable both screens will be updated). You will be good to go.
I flew for 35+ years with a WAC or Low enroute chart opened on the seat. Now I just use the Dynon map as it is so much easier to use. Rarely look at the sectional. Only use the instrument chart to verify well clear of an airway before going upside down.
RV-7 Tipup, Flying, I0-360,
Hartzell, Dual Skyview
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Old 04-14-2018, 04:15 PM
RVDan RVDan is offline
Join Date: Jun 2012
Location: Frederick, MD
Posts: 572

I have used SA for several years. In the early days download was pretty slow and you could do only thumb drive at a time. Not much of a problem today if you keep these things in mind

1. Use a computer with USB 3.0 ports. Real USB 3.0 ports are faster than wired 100 mb Ethernet. Beware of some of the aftermarket Ports as the data rates can be quite low. Beware that most laptops come with only one USB 3.0 port and the others are 2.0. Make sure you use 3.0 ports.
2. Use only high speed USB 3.0 thumb drives. There are all sorts of USB 3.0 thumb drives with write speeds not much better than USB 2.0.
3. Set the SA program to download in the background. It will download and validate the download when available so that the data is on your computer when you need it.
4. If you have 2 thumb drives you can plug them both in at the same time and they update in parallel. Make sure both are plugged into 3.0 ports.
5. Donít download the whole country if you donít need it. I typically only download the states that are within 5 hrs flying unless planning a specific longer flight.

My thumb drives update typically take 15 minutes or less. I find this acceptable, given that they validate the file writes to prevent corrupted data.
Dan Morris
Frederick, MD
RV6 built and sold
N199EC RV6A flying
Learn the facts. "Democracy dies in darkness"
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Old 04-14-2018, 05:13 PM
bmarvel's Avatar
bmarvel bmarvel is offline
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Grand Junction, CO
Posts: 39
Default Something that hasn't been mentioned

I have an SA subscription and load all IFR high and low enroute charts, VFR sectionals, Airport diagrams and approach plates for every state in the country each time an update comes out. As has been mentioned, this is very easy if you use two sets of thumb drives and let SA work in the background on one set while the other set is installed in the SkyView displays. I have no idea how long it takes for the downloads because the next morning they are all done.

There is something I discovered about the Dynon maps and the SA charts that hasn't been mentioned. With ADS-B in, the Dynon terrain map will show color coded Metar circles for reporting airports out to whatever distance you set for displaying airports on the moving map. Unlike Foreflight, where you can see Metar circles for the entire country at one time, you cannot do that with SkyView but have to use the joy stick to toggle around the country to see all of them.

But with an SA chart displayed instead of the Dynon terrain map, these Metar circles do not appear on either the IFR or VFR charts with one exception. Metar circles will appear on the SA IFR and VFR charts for those airports that are in your flight plan. As an example, if you flew non stop from airport A to airport B the SA chart would show Metar circles for only those two airports. But if you flew the same exact route but put several airports in as waypoints along the way, you would see Metar circles for all of those airports but not for any others.

Dynon could not explain why this is and I assume it is not unique to my airplane or installation.
Bill Marvel
Grand Junction, CO
RV-8A N751MB -1700 hours, sold
RV-14A N465MM - 355 hours and climbing
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