Last August, we reported on the new Delorme inReach, a Bluetooth device that provides two-way satellite communication capability for any iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad or Android device (check out the original report here). In a lot of ways, this device is perfect for general aviation pilots who often fly to out-of-the-way places. We’ve heard from many pilots who are using this on a wide variety of missions, and a recent firmware update brings even better tracking.
In our opinion, the two key features for pilots are:
- Two way text messaging from anywhere. Remote landing strips, emergency landings, even the capability for en route messages (your passengers, of course) make this box worth its weight in gold. Whether you’re pheasant hunting in North Dakota or floating in a life raft in the North Atlantic, you are covered.
- Tracking. You can easily set up a Google map for loved ones to check on you while you’re out chasing that $100 hamburger. When in tracking mode, inReach will send location data every ten minutes. The bread crumb trail shows up on the map and loved ones can track your adventures. Ten minute intervals not enough for your spouse? Shorten them to 2 minutes with a new firmware update from DeLorme and a special data plan. It’s a little more expensive, but provides a better track log for those monitoring the map. If this is the route for you, we highly recommend picking up the cigarette lighter adapter as the frequent update rate will burn through batteries. The adapter will also allow you to use the auto-on feature. As soon as power hits the box, it starts tracking. You won’t get halfway to Albuquerque before realizing you’re “off the radar.”
The inReach does require a service plan, but a variety of affordable plans are available.
Getting started is a simple three step process: