Lots of new aviation product announcements arrive in the days leading up to Oshkosh, and Garmin delivered an exciting one today for iPad pilots. They announced that their Connext wireless cockpit system is now compatible with both the ForeFlight and Jeppesen Mobile Flight Deck apps, allowing for the first time a data exchange between Garmin avionics and a non-Garmin iPad app. This allows pilots to wirelessly receive ADS-B weather and traffic, as well as display precise GPS position data and backup attitude information right on the iPad when using these apps with the Garmin Connext system.
The heart of the Garmin Connext system is the Flight Stream module, which acts a Bluetooth wireless interface between the Garmin avionics installed in your airplane and your iPad. Up to this point it was only compatible with the Garmin Pilot app, and delivered an excellent in-flight experience by allowing you to keep important in-flight data synced between your iPad and the panel. We recently went flying with the system and were really impressed–read all the details about how it works here. The big limitation we observed though, was that you had to be all-in on Garmin and use their app to take advantage of the technology. That’s a tough sell to the large group of pilots that use ForeFlight as their go-to app.
This is no longer the case though, as the Flight Stream module will now interface directly with ForeFlight. It’ll wirelessly send ADS-B traffic and weather data if you have a GDL 88/84 installed, along with highly accurate WAAS GPS position information provided by the GTN 650/750 or GNS 430W/530W navigators. The internal attitude sensor within Flight Stream 210 also powers ForeFlight Synthetic Vision with dynamic pitch and bank information.
The main thing missing is the ability to transfer flight plans back and forth between these apps and your panel-mount GPS, but Garmin says additional capabilities are expected in the future, so stay tuned. ForeFlight customers need to update to the latest ForeFlight Mobile version 7.2 to unlock ForeFlight Connect for Garmin.
The Jeppesen Mobile FliteDeck app is also expected to support the display of ADS-B traffic and weather, as well as WAAS GPS position information from a compatible source, but this capability is still “coming soon.” Also of note is that the Flight Stream box will soon be compatible with the Garmin 796/795 portable GPS, allowing pilots to display ADS-B weather, traffic and attitude information, all driven by the same Garmin panel-mount avionics. Expect a software update later this year to unlock this capability on the 796 and 795.