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Recommended Electronic Flight Computers  
User currently offlineSuperstring From Austria, joined Jun 2007, 46 posts, RR: 0
Posted (7 years 1 week 3 days 17 hours ago) and read 6452 times:

Well has anyone experience with electronic flight computers as I want to get rid of the circular ones?
For example the Jeppesen TechStar has been discontinued. Are there any models which are performing well? (What's about the ASA CX2?)

24 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineUnited757 From United States of America, joined Jul 2006, 103 posts, RR: 0
Reply 1, posted (7 years 1 week 3 days 13 hours ago) and read 6424 times:

I use the ASA CX2, it works really well, though the interface in some aspects is a little counter intuitive, especially when it comes to entering time in minute form.

[Edited 2007-08-13 02:41:24]

User currently offlineShyFlyer From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 2, posted (7 years 1 week 2 days 19 hours ago) and read 6369 times:

I have Sporty's E6B. I'm reasonably pleased with it, and it is certainly easier to use than those darn paper/plastic/metal E6Bs.

User currently offlineCWUPilot From United States of America, joined Feb 2004, 126 posts, RR: 0
Reply 3, posted (7 years 1 week 2 days 12 hours ago) and read 6352 times:

If you don't need it for a written exam and have a palm pilot or handheld computer, try the king schools E6B software. It is easy to use and has a lot of extra features that help with W&B and hold entries.


"The worst day of flying still beats the best day of real work."
User currently offlineMir From United States of America, joined Jan 2004, 21554 posts, RR: 55
Reply 4, posted (7 years 1 week 2 days 9 hours ago) and read 6340 times:

Quoting Superstring (Thread starter):
I want to get rid of the circular ones

I'd keep one in your flight bag, even if you use the electronic ones. They don't take up much room, and they make a very good backup.

-Mir



7 billion, one nation, imagination...it's a beautiful day
User currently offlineNucsh From United States of America, joined Apr 2004, 238 posts, RR: 0
Reply 5, posted (7 years 1 week 2 days 8 hours ago) and read 6339 times:

I use an ASA CX2, and think it's a great tool for flight planning.

Still wouldn't throw away my whiz wheel, though.



If landing is about "kissing" the ground, you just about raped it.
User currently offlineSuperstring From Austria, joined Jun 2007, 46 posts, RR: 0
Reply 6, posted (7 years 1 week 2 days 1 hour ago) and read 6312 times:

Quoting Mir (Reply 4):
I'd keep one in your flight bag, even if you use the electronic ones. They don't take up much room, and they make a very good backup.

Of course I dont't want to throw my whiz wheel away, and I think its never a mistake to take it up into the air (imagine the batteries are running out....) however I think that this pencil entering, erasing, turning... is not my thing, and well everybody knows the problems (well is this now a WCA of 3° or 4°...)

However thanks for the hints, I think the Sporty'S E6B looks quite fine.


User currently offlineYWG From Canada, joined Feb 2001, 1146 posts, RR: 2
Reply 7, posted (7 years 1 week 1 day 20 hours ago) and read 6290 times:

Quoting Nucsh (Reply 5):
I use an ASA CX2

Best thing since sliced bread.



Contact Winnipeg center now on 134.4, good day.
User currently offlineSlamClick From United States of America, joined Nov 2003, 10062 posts, RR: 68
Reply 8, posted (7 years 1 week 1 day 20 hours ago) and read 6281 times:

Quoting Superstring (Thread starter):
I want to get rid of the circular ones?

Whatever for? They are ten times faster than button-punching, never have a dead battery and are accurate enough for airline operations. Oh, if you already own one you will never again have to spend another € on it.

When I was training Aircraft Dispatchers (taking raw-meat non-pilots and training them to airline pilot knowledge in just six weeks) I made my students use both a standard pocket calculator (not an aviation-oriented one) and the whiz wheel for calculations until they were very handy with both devices. After that they could use whichever they preferred. Just over half stuck with the whiz wheel.

I would not allow the use of the aviation-specific ones because the FAA would not permit their use on the practical exam. My thought; why practice something you are not going to be allowed? Why go into the FAA exam having to use unfamiliar tools.

The key to my program was two pages of really simple formulae they would memorize. The cheatsheet had the instructions for both whizwheel and pocket calculator. The formula is the same for each device.

The fact is, once you have a few hundred hours (maybe less) in a particular airplane you can guess time, distance and fuel, for example with your fingers on a roadmap. Putting too fine a number on it just produces an illusion of accuracy.
ATC and weather are still senior to mathematics.

Maybe that is just the old gray head talking here, but I hate to see too much reliance on electronics and not enough on common sense.

Semi-related note: I just watched on TV where they handed the same message to a kid with a blackberry and an old fart with a telegraph key. Telegraph and morse code beat text messaging by about ten to one. Another story from tv: Four kids shot, three died in Newark NJ. They were TEXT MESSAGING each other to "run" Like text messaging is faster than screaming?



Happiness is not seeing another trite Ste. Maarten photo all week long.
User currently offlineDKCFII From United States of America, joined Feb 2007, 22 posts, RR: 0
Reply 9, posted (7 years 1 week 1 day 14 hours ago) and read 6248 times:

I have had the Sporty's E6B for several years and have been pleased. It's a worthwhile investment.

User currently offlineFLY2HMO From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 10, posted (7 years 1 week 1 day 14 hours ago) and read 6242 times:

I gotta say, as much as I am into electronics and computers, and as much as I hated learning using the whizwheel, I've been really happy with it and don't plan on buying an electronic one anytime soon. I'm very quick with the whizwheel (or at least I was last time I did a x-country flight plan, almost 4 months ago Big grin ) and it is maintenance free (except for this one damned screw that keeps popping out)

Quoting SlamClick (Reply 8):
The key to my program was two pages of really simple formulae they would memorize. The cheatsheet had the instructions for both whizwheel and pocket calculator. The formula is the same for each device.

I'd be really interested in seeing your formulae.


I got a cheatsheet on my kneeboard but its pretty basic.

[Edited 2007-08-15 02:16:05]

User currently offlineMeister808 From United States of America, joined Jan 2000, 973 posts, RR: 1
Reply 11, posted (7 years 1 week 1 day 13 hours ago) and read 6233 times:

Quoting SlamClick (Reply 8):
I want to get rid of the circular ones?

Whatever for?

Amen brother. I think I'm gonna print out your reply right there and hang it up in my office for all my students to see.



I wouldn't mind seeing that cheatsheet either.

-Meister



Twin Cessna 812 Victor, Minneapolis Center, we observe your operation in the immediate vicinity of extreme precipitation
User currently offlineSuperstring From Austria, joined Jun 2007, 46 posts, RR: 0
Reply 12, posted (7 years 1 week 1 day 9 hours ago) and read 6219 times:

Quoting Superstring (Thread starter):
Well has anyone experience with electronic flight computers as I want to get rid of the circular ones?

I want to express that my statement above was a little bit "cruel", of course I don't want to "throw" my wheel away. Well I really wonder why a question about experience with electronic flight computers really starts to become a "question of belief". Well if anyone wants it that way, I beliefe in electronic stuff, and well which aircraft of nowadays does not need electronic energy?


User currently offlineLAPA_SAAB340 From Spain, joined Aug 2001, 390 posts, RR: 4
Reply 13, posted (7 years 1 week 1 day ago) and read 6193 times:

Quoting Superstring (Reply 6):
however I think that this pencil entering, erasing, turning... is not my thing, and well everybody knows the problems (well is this now a WCA of 3° or 4°...)

Why would you need that level of precision if you wouldn't be able to hold a heading to that level anyway? (can you tell the difference between a 359 and a 360 heading on the compass?)

Quoting SlamClick (Reply 8):
Maybe that is just the old gray head talking here, but I hate to see too much reliance on electronics and not enough on common sense.

I don't think it's gray head talk, what you say makes perfect sense. Heck, being familiar with your aircraft and learning a few rules of thumb you can pretty much do away even with the whiz wheel altogether...and it certainly is much faster than punching keys on a calculator/flight computer.


User currently offlineSlamClick From United States of America, joined Nov 2003, 10062 posts, RR: 68
Reply 14, posted (7 years 1 week 23 hours ago) and read 6188 times:

Quoting FLY2HMO (Reply 10):
I'd be really interested in seeing your formulae.



Quoting Meister808 (Reply 11):
I wouldn't mind seeing that cheatsheet either.

I'd be happy to share it and will look for a way.

You are probably already familiar with most of these, in some form or another. Some would never be of any real use to use, like "equal-time point" on overwater flying. Some I've seen posted on here. I'll take a look.

Formatting equations in HTML is part of the problem.



Happiness is not seeing another trite Ste. Maarten photo all week long.
User currently offlineN231YE From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 15, posted (7 years 1 week 22 hours ago) and read 6177 times:

After using my "whiz wheel" enough, I have figured out most of its formulas and how it works, enough that I can either pencil out the equations like the good 'ol school days, or any cheap (non-aviation) calculator will work. Hell, for the fun of it, I developed a program for my old Ti-83+ (left over from High School math classes). I'd like to bust the wind correction angle into a formula, but haven't got there yet.

Quoting Mir (Reply 4):
I'd keep one in your flight bag, even if you use the electronic ones. They don't take up much room, and they make a very good backup.

 checkmark 


User currently offlineSlamClick From United States of America, joined Nov 2003, 10062 posts, RR: 68
Reply 16, posted (7 years 1 week 22 hours ago) and read 6174 times:

What I think the various whiz wheels do better than anything is the wind face.

If you use an electronic calculator, your inputs and the results are just numbers. Error-trapping is almost non-existent. On the wind face of the computer you see the relationship, the trig is displayed for you and a credibility check is there at a glance.

That is one of those areas where I think many pilots and dispatchers fall down a bit - getting the wind vector relationship. Even the FAA got it wrong on one of the questions on the ATP and AD written exam. You have to give the wrong answer to get it "right" or accept the loss of points. That's been a couple years since I looked at the db but that is how it was for many years. Of course the FAA will never tell you what the 'right' answer is to any of their questions, only whether yours was correct or not.

This is all the topic of a good one-hour class on whiteboard. De-mystify all in just sixty minutes.

I used to be a non-sked captain and did my own flight planning. (no dispatchers under 121.597) I used a table for time and fuel burn and only planned any given flight ONCE. I kept a small binder in my flight bag which had a page on each airport I flew to regularly. This page would have the city-pairs in or out of there that I'd flown, with filed route, nautical miles and no-wind time/fuel. A rough adjustment for forecast winds aloft and I was close enough. I would not be willing to shave my fuel load down six hundred pounds just because a calculator told me I could. The numbers were plenty good enough without running them to seven decimal places.



Happiness is not seeing another trite Ste. Maarten photo all week long.
User currently offlineFLY2HMO From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 17, posted (7 years 1 week 13 hours ago) and read 6144 times:

Quoting SlamClick (Reply 14):

I'd be happy to share it and will look for a way.

That would be greatly appreciated  yes 

Quoting SlamClick (Reply 14):
Some would never be of any real use to use, like "equal-time point" on overwater flying. Some I've seen posted on here.

Actually, I'd be really interested in seeing the ETP formula.

I just had Domestic and International Navigation this last semester (very very fun class) basically we'd use our E6Bs to flightplan flights from say, JFK-LHR etc, and we would use actual current computerized flightplans and double check them with E6Bs, make ETOPS circles, plot routes, the works. Our instructor was a Lockheed P3 navigator for the CAF, really cool guy. My only gripe is that the ETP formula seemed unnecessarily complex, and was 4 different formulae put together, IIRC.


User currently offlineShyFlyer From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 18, posted (7 years 1 week 8 hours ago) and read 6136 times:

Quoting SlamClick (Reply 14):
Formatting equations in HTML is part of the problem.

Would it be possible to write them down on paper, then scan it, and display it here as a jpeg file? Save a lot of keystrokes.


User currently offlinePilotpip From United States of America, joined Sep 2003, 3150 posts, RR: 11
Reply 19, posted (7 years 1 week 8 hours ago) and read 6133 times:

Be a MAN, use the whizwheel. Two years of instructing and I've yet to see somebody use one of those electronic ones in the plane without spending a dangerous amount of time with their head down and hands off the controls.

I would challengs students to see who was faster, me with the wheel, or the students with the electronic ones. Yeah, they were more accurate, but I was done and back flying the plane and the wheel is accurate to the minute.



DMI
User currently offlineSlamClick From United States of America, joined Nov 2003, 10062 posts, RR: 68
Reply 20, posted (7 years 6 days 22 hours ago) and read 6109 times:

Quoting FLY2HMO (Reply 17):
Actually, I'd be really interested in seeing the ETP formula.

Okay, as an example, the ETP formula.

Most of these are expressed as four-part equations which makes them easy to do on a generic pocket calculator or a whiz wheel. On the whiz wheel the values above the line are on the outer, non-rotating scale and the values below the line are on the inner, rotating scale.

On a pocket calculator you just "cross-multiply and divide"

So here is the ETP. For those of you not familiar this tells you on an overwater flight at what point along the route it is equal time to go in either direction, in other words, what you might have called a "point of no return."

********************* the formula **************************



GSR
ETP

___________________________ = ___________________________
(GSR + GSC)
Total Distance


Now, some terms.
GSC is Ground Speed if you continue. Take assumed airspeed with an engine out. Add tailwind component or subtract headwind component.

GSR is Ground Speed if you return. Take assumed airspeed with an engine out. Add tailwind component or subtract headwind component.

Total Distance is the overwater segement.

ETP is the distance out the overwater segment from its starting point.

NOTE: You must use like units. If you use knots for airspeed/windspeed/groundspeed then you must use nautical miles for all other values.

NOTE: You need to use wind component to get these ground speeds. This means that you need to solve the TAS/GS for each direction of flight. You cannot simply plug in the actual wind velocity.

Okay, let's plug in some sample numbers. Let's say we have a 600nm overwater flight. We are flying south. The wind is out of the north at 40 knots. Our engine-out true airspeed will be 320 knots.

Okay, continuing southbound with the tail wind our ground speed would be 360K. Returning northbound it would be 280K. Add them together you get 640.

So we plug in our actual numbers and it looks like this:


280
?

___________________________ = ___________________________
640
600 nm


Now we are ready to solve. "Cross multiply and divide." We always do this diagonally across the "equals" sign so there is only one way to start. So unless you know how to multiply by a question mark, we have to begin with the direction where we have values plugged in in both places. In this case we can only multiply 280 times 600. Now we divide by the remaining value and that gives us the "?" value.

Like this on a calculator:

2 8 0 X 6 0 0 then [=] and we get 168000

now press [/] 6 4 0 and [=] and you should get 262.5 which means that once you begin your overwater leg up until you are 262.5 nm out, you should return. After that you should continue, all other things being equal. Note that the actual mid-point would not be until 300nm out so you would be "committed" well before that.

* * *


So this formula would be spoken "GSR over (GSC plus GSR) equals ETP over Total Distance. Okay, you don't know how to pronounce the "(" and ")" in that? Just remember to add those two values together as the very first step of this process. Sorry it takes a long time to describe and seconds to do.

Some other common and useful formulae:

"Ground speed over sixty equals distance over time." (LIKE UNITS - remember that part)
"Fuel flow over sixty equals burnoff over time."
"Mach number over 1 equals True Airspeed over the Speed of Sound."

Just about any problem that can be run on a whiz wheel will run on a standard (cheap) pocket calculator in that manner.



Happiness is not seeing another trite Ste. Maarten photo all week long.
User currently offlineFLY2HMO From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 21, posted (7 years 6 days 17 hours ago) and read 6077 times:

Quoting SlamClick (Reply 20):
So here is the ETP.

Thanks a million cap'n Slam

Looks similar to what I was taught, but It looks waaay more simple, heck I actually understood this one. My D&I Nav instructor wanted us to average winds for EVERY waypoint on the way and take fuel burn and god knows what else into consideration, too anal if you ask me.

Quoting ShyFlyer (Reply 18):
Would it be possible to write them down on paper, then scan it, and display it here as a jpeg file? Save a lot of keystrokes.

Would you? Pretty please?  blush 


User currently offlineSlamClick From United States of America, joined Nov 2003, 10062 posts, RR: 68
Reply 22, posted (7 years 6 days 15 hours ago) and read 6069 times:

Quoting FLY2HMO (Reply 21):
wanted us to average winds for EVERY waypoint on the way and take fuel burn and god knows what else into consideration

I taught a module in my dispatcher course that I called "the arithmetic of flight operations" because "mathematics" would have made it sound too complicated.

I opened by paraphrasing Nathaniel Bowditch (every navigator should know who that is) on the subject:

"One should resist the temptation to solve a problem to too many decimal places.
It produces an illusion of accuracy.
"


He didn't say it exactly like that but my version is shorter.

Solve it, I say, just fine enough that ATC, traffic and unforecast weather are all more important than your accuracy.

In hand-built flight plans I had my students use a new line only when something changed: Wind component, temperature, power setting/fuel flow or mach number/airspeed - each of these were deemed worthy of a new line.



Happiness is not seeing another trite Ste. Maarten photo all week long.
User currently offlineFLY2HMO From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 23, posted (7 years 6 days 15 hours ago) and read 6067 times:

Quoting SlamClick (Reply 22):
Solve it, I say, just fine enough that ATC, traffic and unforecast weather are all more important than your accuracy.

Good point


User currently offlineN231YE From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 24, posted (7 years 6 days 14 hours ago) and read 6065 times:

Quoting SlamClick (Reply 20):

Oooh...nice use of the html code, SlamClick. That's the exact thing I was talking about, busting the magic of the whiz wheel into simple formulas to get what you need.


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