In addition to ADS-B weather and traffic, Sentry Plus is also a full-featured flight data recorder. Whenever it’s powered on, the device is logging GPS position, altitude, attitude, and G-load—all of which can be automatically imported into ForeFlight as a track log. This makes it easy to create quick digital logbook entries or to review your flight from the comfort of your home or flight school. (Read this article for step by step instructions.)
While the Track Logs page in ForeFlight is a great way to get an overview of your flight, for detailed post-flight analysis we like to use CoudAhoy. This powerful app (available for iPad and in your web browser) adds some helpful tools and even automatic scoring. Here’s an example from a recent training flight.
We mounted Sentry Plus on the side window and went flying—we never even opened up ForeFlight since we were busy with stalls, steep turns, and landings. After the flight, ForeFlight automatically imported the track log from Sentry Plus and displayed it on the Track Logs page. From there, tap the arrow button in the top right corner, then “Open KML in…” and CloudAhoy (the app must be installed on your iPad).
This will open the flight in CloudAhoy, from where you can debrief the entire flight or specific segments. Use the Segments Manager on the left side to pick a takeoff, steep turn, approach, or landing, and the app will declutter the map and display only that section of the flight. You can then use the Viewing Options menu at the top to choose your map overlay. This can be set to IFR chart, VFR sectional, road baseman, or satellite, plus a HUD view:
When debriefing a specific maneuver, CloudAhoy Pro subscribers can use the handy CFI Assistant tool to measure how well you’re completing maneuver. The app automatically detects maneuvers, then assigns it a score based on your speed, altitude, sink rate, and other factors. It uses type-specific data like V-speeds to grade you, so make sure the airplane type is entered correctly. In the example below, CloudAhoy gave us a 93 for our steep turn, but you can always score yourself by tapping play and watching the maneuver unfold. Here you can judge the shape of your turn (left side) and watch how well you controlled bank and altitude with the HUD view (right side).
Another great application for CloudAhoy is instrument approaches. Once again, the app does a lot for you automatically, including showing the METAR at your airport. In this case, we chose an altitude/airspeed graph instead of the HUD view on the right side, which makes it easy to see whether we flew a stabilized approach or not. Below that graph we have a VCDI, which shows how many “dots” we were high or low on approach. This all makes a post-flight debriefing session much more productive, and is also a way to track your progress over time—hopefully you’re getting better.
Sentry Plus is available for $799. CloudAhoy is free to download and use for flight tracking. A standard subscription is $65/year and a pro subscription (which includes the CFI assistant feature) is $150/year. More info at CloudAhoy.com.