Appareo introduces Stratus 3 with more app support, lower price

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The Stratus line of ADS-B receivers has been one of the most popular iPad accessories for pilots since the first one was introduced in 2012. We’ve seen them flying in everything from antique taildraggers to V-22 Ospreys, as the mix of subscription-free weather, traffic, GPS, and backup attitude on ForeFlight found a lot of fans. Now there’s a new top-of-the-line Stratus, with some interesting new features, more app options, and a low introductory price.

Stratus 3 with ForeFlight
Stratus 3 works seamlessly with ForeFlight.

That price is the first thing that most pilots will notice. At $699, Stratus 3 is $200 less than the Stratus 2S model it replaces, but without any reduction in features. It still features FIS-B weather reception, dual band ADS-B traffic, WAAS GPS, built-in AHRS, pressure altitude sensor, and flight data recording. The battery life remains 8 hours, and in our testing the ADS-B reception was still excellent.

Smart features

One mistake we’ve made more than once is leaving Stratus on after a flight. In the busy time after shutting down the engine, it’s easy to forget to push the power button, but that leads to a dead Stratus battery. Stratus 3 will now turn itself off after it senses your flight is over, preventing this mistake. It’s smart enough to stay on during touch and goes or a long taxi, so we haven’t had any issues with it turning off when we didn’t want it to. This option can be selected in the Stratus Status menu, which is accessed from the settings symbol at the top of the Maps page.

Auto shutoff Stratus 3
Auto shutoff is a setting in the Stratus Status menu.

Another new feature is called Smart WiFi, which gives pilots with LTE-enabled iPads some extra flexibility. Usually when the iPad senses a WiFi connection it will disable the LTE radio, since it assumes there is a WiFi internet connection. That’s not true with Stratus – the WiFi connection is only a short range data connection, not an internet connection – so the disabled LTE radio isn’t always desirable. With Stratus 3, pilots can connect to Stratus on the ground but still use their LTE connection to send an email or check a weather website. Some additional options may come to EFB apps down the road – perhaps filing an updated flight plan in ForeFlight while the app still looks to Stratus for traffic and weather.

Other updates include an improved WiFi security setting that allows pilots to hide the WiFi network or add a password. Stratus 3 also works with ForeFlight’s new synthetic vision traffic feature and the FAA’s new FIS-B weather products like lightning and cloud tops (coming later this year).

GDL 90 support

The other big change with Stratus 3 is support for additional apps. Stratus has always worked with ForeFlight at a very deep level (Appareo and ForeFlight developed the product together), and that’s still true. Pilots can monitor the status of the Stratus battery, adjust the brightness of the indicator lights on Stratus, and perform firmware updates right in the app. There’s also a handy Stratus Replay feature that allows you to turn off your iPad screen, then receive all the weather data you missed when you turn it back on.

Open ADS-B
To enable GDL 90, open the Stratus Horizon Pro app and turn on Open ADS-B Mode.

Now there’s another option. Stratus 3 also supports the GDL 90 protocol, an industry standard format for sharing weather, traffic, GPS, and attitude with EFB apps. That means the new model will work with a wide variety of apps, including Fltplan Go, WingX, FlyQ, iFly GPS, and others. Some higher end features like flight data recording and Stratus Replay are not available over GDL 90, but the essential features like weather and traffic are there.

To use Stratus 3 in GDL 90 mode, first download the new Stratus Horizon Pro app from Appareo. It’s a free app that includes backup attitude and settings. There are also some audio recording and playback features, with more coming in this area (stay tuned for a PIREP on this new app). Turn on Stratus, connect it to your iPad, and open the app. From the settings menu, select Open ADS-B Mode. Then you can open your favorite EFB app and use Stratus 3 in flight.

Details

Stratus 3 on dash
Stratus 3 now comes standard with a dash mount.

Appareo retained the same case shape and dimensions, so Stratus 2S mounts will still work with Stratus 3. Likewise, the power, GPS, and ADS-B ports are identical, so any existing wiring can be maintained for current Stratus 2S owners. That’s especially nice for pilots who have installed a Stratus ESG transponder and connected their Stratus to it – it’s an easy swap with no wiring changes.

Stratus 3 is available now for a $699 introductory price. That includes the dash mount, charging cable, and wall plug. The change to the dash mount from a suction cup mount is welcome in our opinion. The suction cup mount kept the unit out of sight, but it had a tendency to fail after heavy use. Stratus 3 also has a longer, 2-year warranty, the best in the industry.

Trade-in program

For existing Stratus 2S owners, Appareo is offering a $200 trade-in value towards the purchase of Stratus 3. Simply send in your Stratus 2S, the completed upgrade form, and your Stratus 3 receipt to receive credit. There’s also an upgrade option for Stratus 2 owners – click here for details.

Watch our video review below:

You can compare ADS-B receivers below in our updated Buyer’s Guide. We’ll have a PIREP on Sentry next week.

41 COMMENTS

  1. What about a firmware update for Stratus 2 users who have already purchased your product st a higher rate?????

    • Appareo is working on a firmware update. Some features will probably be available soon, but not all (for example, Open ADS-B).

      • John, I’m confuse about the LTE connection. Is Stratus 3 requires iPads with cellular connections – data usage will be enormous and will have to upgrade data plan = additional cost.

        • Stratus does not require an LTE iPad – all features work without it. But if you’re ipad does have LTE, you can continue to use it while connected to Stratus 3. That’s all.

  2. I bought the 2S at full price from Sporty’s less than a year ago and it looks like most of the new features in the 3 are software changes. While it’s nice that they’re providing a hardware upgrade path, I’m sure hoping Appareo will also “do the right thing” and provide a software upgrade path as well.

  3. Our Stratus 2 shuts off when the engine shuts off, as in the Settings.
    Why would we need the Stratus 3??? Our s2 battery has stayed in the (hangared) plane 3 Maine winters and always holds its charge.
    Very happy with our Stratus 2.

    • It depends on the app so if there is a compatible app on Kindle Fire it would work. I’m not aware of any aviation apps that work on that platform.

  4. Anyone using Stratus in Europe, with weather and ADS-B not useful here, not sure this is of interest yet ?
    I flew few times this year in US and all the guys I was with in Cirrus had one and ForeFlight and loved it.

      • The GPS and AHRS work worldwide so you would have moving map position and attitude. Traffic works but it will only show ADS-B Out equipped aircraft so it’s limited. ADS-B weather only works in the US.

    • The GPS and AHRS work worldwide so you would have moving map position and attitude. Traffic works but it will only show ADS-B Out equipped aircraft so it’s limited. ADS-B weather only works in the US.

    • Stratus 2S has the same connections as Strtatus 3, so the same wiring would work. Stratus 2 has the same ADS-B connection but a different GPS/power plug.

  5. I am very dissatisfied with the fact that I purchased the stratus 2 only 60 days ago at the higher price from Sporty’s. I even asked about new product at the time of purchase. The only solution given to me by your customer service agent was that I could receive a $200 trade in toward the 3 .Rather than promote the stratus 2 at Sun n Fun you should of informed customers that this new model would be released at a much lower price but I guess inventory overages needed to be moved. A $600 loss in 60 days is insulting. I hope that Sporty’s and Appareo find a solution to take care of the customers and do what’s right ….

  6. I concur that it sucks. This is a gimmick. I have a 2s and I only get $200. I am one could sell higher on eBay. I do not understand why there would not be a smarter upgrade path. Sooner on later, monopolies chase users.

  7. This is what happens with all electronics. You can buy a computer today and have something completely new/better for the same price tomorrow. Has nothing to do with Appareo. If they would tell everyone a new one is coming, all the existing stock they have would need to be thrown out.

  8. I’ve just sold my 2S on eBay for 150% more than what Sporty’s (or is it Appareo?) offers with this trade in program. It’s a terrible deal, especially when Appareo offers “refurbed” units on their own store for $499. I was going to turn around and offer the 3, but there are A LOT more options than there used to be. I’m not sure I want to be locked into using only ForeFlight, but the Sentry offers an awful lot more for $200 less. (And if I’m willing to deal with more bulk, the Stratux is even cheaper!) Decisions. Decisions…

  9. So, let’s do the math for us 2S owners. We paid $900 for the 2S, we can upgrade to the 3 for a net additional $500. So, we end up paying $1,400 for a model 3 while everyone else pays $700. Of course that makes no sense whatsoever. Besides, I have no interest in paying $500 for auto shutoff and open ADS-B as I use it with ForeFlight.

    What IS clear is that Appareo got dumped by FF, which is now offering its own product. Hence the new and improved, at a lower price, device.

    • Nobody is making us pay anything. Apple certainly isn’t making me pay for an iPhone X just because I have an iPhone 7 – it works well for me and I don’t need the upgrade. I don’t understand the entitlement on electronics.

  10. Sounds like a similar experience with the Gamin Titanium watch I purchased. After debating purchasing for almost a year I made the deal. About a month later they brought out the Charlie watch with no exchange program. Electronics are always improving and you just have to decide when to bite the bullet on what meets your needs. Same with computers, laptops and tablets. Upgrade programs would always be nice, but that’s the way it is.

  11. When using Stratus 3 AHRS attitude indicator without synthetic vision on ForeFlight, ForeFlight has a big message window blocking part of th AHRS. Message says a subscription is needed for synthetic vision. Makes the AHRS almost useless. Come on, Stratus, get after ForeFlight to close the message.

    • Hi Andy,

      Fortunately another pilot reported this issue to us at team@foreflight.com and we found the glitch. We’re working on a fix, but for now you and anyone else who doesn’t have an SV subscription can follow these steps to close the 1/2″ x 3″ banner that says “Synthetic Vision Subscription Required”:

      – Tap More > Downloads > United States (or if you have a Canada subscription instead, tap Canada).
      – Turn the High Resolution Terrain switch ON.
      – Tap the black <Downloads button to go back to the Downloads status page.
      – Tap the blue Download button to download the data.
      – Once the data is downloaded tap Maps, then tap the button to display the SV view.
      – Tap the "X" at the left of the banner to close it.

      Regards,

      -Josh B.
      ForeFlight Pilot Support Team

  12. Hi John:
    I own a Cirrus with a G1000 Perspective. Included are a Garmin GDL 69 with a
    John:
    I have a Cirrus with a Garmin G1000 Perspective. Included are a GDL 69
    Data Link Satellite Radio Receiver for WX formation to the MFD and a Garmin GDL 88 for ADS-B Traffic. For the WX I have a Sirius XM subscription.
    The other day the GDL 69 failed, thus – zilch WX info.
    Q: If I buy a Stratus 3 as a backup for above – can I run Stratus ADS-B and Garmin ADS-B in parallel? Any chance to turn off the ADS-B on Stratus?
    If you don’t know the answer, who would, please?

    Thx much
    Jan

  13. Hello,

    I bought my s2 a few months ago. I find this to be very arrogant on how you guys lack the willpower to push or allow this software update to current s2 users. I feel this upgrade path is not really a fair trade in value. JUST PUSH THE SOFTWARE UPDATE and do the right thing. That being said, for those 2 and s2 users who will like to take advantage of the “Smart Wifi” Feature, you can manually do this. Go into the wifi setting and set the IP address to static. Make sure to remove the router and DNS settings, leaving them blank so that your iPad or phone are forced to use cellular.

  14. I feel like the 3 should cost the same as the 2S. That would take the sting out of my recent 2S purchase. $200 is insulting, and a software upgrade ought to be offered. I really just want my LTE to be useable while connected to Stratus, but I won’t pay a premium for it.

    • Go into the wifi setting and set the IP address to static. Make sure to remove the router and DNS settings, leaving them blank so that your iPad or phone are forced to use cellular.

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