Pilots who have been flying with an iPad for more than a few years likely know the Stratus ADS-B receiver well, as it was the first portable ADS-B receiver to hit the market ten years ago. The original Stratus was revolutionary when released in 2012 and opened pilots’ eyes for the first time to the real benefits of the ADS-B system, in the form of subscription-free traffic and weather.
The latest model, Stratus 3, has grown up significantly since then and adds many additional capabilities when compared to the first-generation unit. Most notably, the original Stratus was designed to work exclusively with ForeFlight, but today Stratus 3 works with nearly every aviation iPad EFB app available. And thanks to a recent update from Avidyne, it can even supply ADS-B weather and traffic to some certified panel-mount avionics systems.
Let’s start by taking a look at app compatibility and configuration options.
Stratus 3 app compatibility
One of the big differences with Stratus 3 over previous-generation models is that it added 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.
Stratus 3 also supports the GDL 90 protocol, an industry-standard format for sharing weather, traffic, GPS, and attitude with EFB apps and avionics. That means it’ll work with a wide variety of apps, including Fltplan Go, WingX, FlyQ, iFly GPS, and others. The list continues to grow, too, with Garmin Pilot as the latest app to add Stratus 3 support.
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 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.
Avidyne adds GDL 90/Stratus 3 support
Avidyne recently released a new software update for their IFD series of panel-mount GPS/NAV/COM systems. The update includes a long list of feature updates and refinements, including support for the display of ADS-B traffic and weather devices from portable devices, like Stratus 3, over the GDL 90 protocol.
Using a portable device like Stratus 3 to provide ADS-B traffic and weather to panel-mount avionics provides a more cost-effective option over a certified/installed receiver and provides the same weather and traffic information. The IFD software update is available free from Avidyne avionics dealers.