nickllhill
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Posts: 13
Joined: Wed Sep 20, 2006 5:19 am

GPS during flight

Thu Aug 04, 2016 12:10 pm

Since iOS 8.3 Airplane mode still lets the (passive) GPS work on iPhones.

I love using this to see where I am, but have noticed something strange:

This works on BA Cityflyer E-Series jets but not on any other I've tried. (767,A320, A380)

Could it be the construction of the E Jets? I have also noted that it stops working once below a certain altitude..
 
rnav2dlrey
Posts: 330
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Re: GPS during flight

Thu Aug 04, 2016 12:31 pm

i can get it to work (ipad air, ipad air 2, ipad pro) on any aircraft in the UA fleet.
 
AndyEastMids
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Re: GPS during flight

Thu Aug 04, 2016 12:44 pm

I have had no problems with the iPad gate-to-gate on aircraft including UAL 777, DLH CRJ9, EZY A320, LOT 737 - it is easier to get a GPS location on the ground and then keep it active, rather than trying to get it in the air, and it helps to be in a window seat but I have managed continuous reception from the second seat in (i.e. aisle on the CR9, middle on the A320). It is brilliant in conjunction with flying apps (e.g. Skydemon in Europe, Foreflight in the US - both require subscription though) that show runways, navaids, waypoints and airways. A passenger sat next to me on the DLH CR9 seemed to get a bit nervous when he saw the aviation charts on the screen and raised concerns to the crew before take off, but after a quick chat to the pilots I was told I was welcome to use it and they asked me to the flight deck again after landing to look at the track log etc.
 
a320fan
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Re: GPS during flight

Thu Aug 04, 2016 1:41 pm

I was playing around with this on my Iphone in a 737 on Sunday. I could only get it to work with airplane mode off however. It was good to get a general overview of where I was exactly however I couldn't load any detail into the maps to see what towns I was flying over. What was odd though was while I had airplane mode off I picked up 2 or 3 bars of 3G service for about a minute, at a cruise of FL380 however, no internet would load and I didn't try sending a text or sms.
A319, A320, A321, A330-200, A350-900, A380, 737-700, 737-800, 777-200ER, 777-300, 777-300ER, 787-8, Q300, Q400
 
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SomebodyInTLS
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Re: GPS during flight

Fri Aug 05, 2016 11:44 am

Used GPS inflight on a Samsung Galaxy S and Sony Xperia T. The (very) old Galaxy didn't work very well but the GPS was always flaky on that one. The (also old) Xperia has been quite reliable as long as I'm in the window seat. I think I've only done it on smaller aircraft, mostly because they're the flights without IFE, but I have a feeling that the smaller the aircraft the faster I get a lock.

So I'm guessing that your iPhone doesn't have a very good GPS receiver and that the E Jet is probably blocking your signal less than the other aircraft types.
"As with most things related to aircraft design, it's all about the trade-offs and much more nuanced than A.net likes to make out."
 
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novak500
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Re: GPS during flight

Fri Aug 05, 2016 11:55 am

I used it on my iPhone the other day on a 767 with no problem (LIS-YYZ). I was in a window seat and was able to get my location pretty quick.
 
traindoc
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Re: GPS during flight

Fri Aug 05, 2016 12:52 pm

On a side note. Flying into BRU in January, I took a picture (with my iPhone 6 in airplane mode) of the sunrise. We were somewhere over France, and my phone recorded the GPS location. I did not know this until the location showed up when I viewed the picture on my laptop.
 
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CrimsonNL
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Re: GPS during flight

Fri Aug 05, 2016 12:54 pm

Try holding the phone against the window. That's usually the only way I can pick up a GPS/GLONASS signal with my phone inside an aircraft.

Martijn
Always comparing your flown types list with mine
 
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SomebodyInTLS
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Re: GPS during flight

Fri Aug 05, 2016 1:46 pm

On a slightly related topic - I wonder if the electrical shielding added to the 787 and A350 allows more GPS signal through...

Anyone have any GPS experience on the plastic planes?

I also wonder if they've already got any comparisons of cosmic radiation levels on the metal and composite aircraft.
"As with most things related to aircraft design, it's all about the trade-offs and much more nuanced than A.net likes to make out."
 
traindoc
Posts: 351
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Re: GPS during flight

Fri Aug 05, 2016 1:58 pm

Regarding GPS in the 787, using my Garmin handheld, in the window seat. Absolutely NO satelite reception! This is on a total of 5 flights, 2 trans Atlantic, 1 trans Pacific, 1 in Japan, and 1 in the U.S. Don't forget that the windows are electro chromic. I would expect some signal getting thru the non metallic fuselage, but it does not. My GPS can pick up signals in the 737, 747, and 767 even away from the windows. Anyone have better insight as to why?
 
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BartSimpson
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Re: GPS during flight

Fri Aug 05, 2016 3:00 pm

I just read a small article in the Lufthansa inflight magazine about an app called "flyover country" which gives you offline information based on your actual location - of course GPS operated. Before your flight you request the information by typing origin and destination and the app loads all available information onto your phone.

Has anybody tried that app? Does it work?
 
pygmalion
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Re: GPS during flight

Fri Aug 05, 2016 3:10 pm

traindoc wrote:
Regarding GPS in the 787, using my Garmin handheld, in the window seat. Absolutely NO satelite reception! This is on a total of 5 flights, 2 trans Atlantic, 1 trans Pacific, 1 in Japan, and 1 in the U.S. Don't forget that the windows are electro chromic. I would expect some signal getting thru the non metallic fuselage, but it does not. My GPS can pick up signals in the 737, 747, and 767 even away from the windows. Anyone have better insight as to why?


Graphite blocks signals pretty well and the fuselage is graphite epoxy so... not surprising that it is blocking a low power signal.
 
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SomebodyInTLS
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Re: GPS during flight

Fri Aug 05, 2016 4:29 pm

pygmalion wrote:
traindoc wrote:
Regarding GPS in the 787, using my Garmin handheld, in the window seat. Absolutely NO satelite reception! This is on a total of 5 flights, 2 trans Atlantic, 1 trans Pacific, 1 in Japan, and 1 in the U.S. Don't forget that the windows are electro chromic. I would expect some signal getting thru the non metallic fuselage, but it does not. My GPS can pick up signals in the 737, 747, and 767 even away from the windows. Anyone have better insight as to why?


Graphite blocks signals pretty well and the fuselage is graphite epoxy so... not surprising that it is blocking a low power signal.


Interesting. I would have thought - given the fact that additional electrical mesh is required for lightning strike purposes - that CFRP would be more leaky than solid aluminium as far as the radio spectrum is concerned. I suppose it might all depend on frequencies and fibre length/density.
"As with most things related to aircraft design, it's all about the trade-offs and much more nuanced than A.net likes to make out."
 
rnav2dlrey
Posts: 330
Joined: Mon Apr 13, 2015 1:10 am

Re: GPS during flight

Fri Aug 05, 2016 4:37 pm

BartSimpson wrote:
I just read a small article in the Lufthansa inflight magazine about an app called "flyover country" which gives you offline information based on your actual location - of course GPS operated. Before your flight you request the information by typing origin and destination and the app loads all available information onto your phone.

Has anybody tried that app? Does it work?


i have. it's a good idea, but poorly executed. the one cool thing it does is cache relevant wikipedia articles of POIs along your route. other than that, it's somewhat cumbersome and not worth your time.

my go-to is to cache google maps of the anticipated flight path to a reasonable zoom level. my ipad is showing that i have 379MB of google maps data. you don't have to do the "ok maps" trick - just zoom to a level you're happy with, and then scroll along your flight path when you have a data connection. it should then be saved onto your device and be usable without a data connection.
 
AirFiero
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Re: GPS during flight

Sat Aug 06, 2016 3:01 am

Last year, I flew SJC-DFW-CLT, and used Foreflight on my iPad. The GPS worked perfectly, and it was cool to be able to follow the flight in software I use for navigation. Also, if you look up the flight in flightaware, you can transfer the filed flight plan to Foreflight and follow along the IFR routing with airways and fixes.
 
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atypical
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Re: GPS during flight

Sat Aug 06, 2016 7:49 am

I have a Dual XGPS150 paired to an iPad. It generally works very well and since it has its own battery the GPS doesn't drain the iPad battery. The unit itself is small enough to put between the shade and the window.
 
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cougar15
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Re: GPS during flight

Sat Aug 06, 2016 9:29 am

slightly off topic, but I always wonder about all this shielding & how it works, or for that matter how signals reach mobiles. Flew on a 744 over Afghanistan recently (it was a freighter so obviously upper deck) and at 39K Ft suddenly got an SMS/Text on my old Blackberry Edge. Unlike on Pax flights, nobody gives a hoot about switching mobiles off on our freighters, but needless to say I was baffeled when the old berry suddenly blinked with a text just having arrived, especially in such a totally remote region.
some you lose, others you can´t win!
 
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cougar15
Posts: 1416
Joined: Thu Sep 05, 2013 6:10 pm

Re: GPS during flight

Sat Aug 06, 2016 9:32 am

slightly off topic, but I always wonder about all this shielding & how it works, or for that matter how signals reach mobiles. Flew on a 744 over Afghanistan recently (it was a freighter so obviously upper deck) and at 39K Ft suddenly got an SMS/Text on my old Blackberry Edge. Unlike on Pax flights, nobody gives a hoot about switching mobiles off on our freighters, but needless to say I was baffeled when the old berry suddenly blinked with a text just having arrived, especially in such a totally remote region.
some you lose, others you can´t win!
 
greg3322
Posts: 210
Joined: Fri Aug 27, 2004 3:35 pm

Re: GPS during flight

Sat Aug 06, 2016 5:53 pm

I have been using various GPS units for years in flight with mixed results. I currently use a Nexus 7 Android tablet, with its built in GPS, with the Garmin Pilot app and it works fairly well in most aircraft (A319/320/321, B737/757/767/777) but it will not work at all in a B787!

The biggest problem I have had is if it loses GPS lock while at cruise, I will almost never get it back as the aircraft is moving fast and the GPS signals are weak inside the aircraft. I usually get the GPS back on approach when speed is less than 200 knots. I try to make sure I have a good GPS lock at the gate and AGPS is updated and hope it doesn't loose GPS lock during taxi.

I also try to sit on the south side of the aircraft for that direction of flight, if possible - it seems to work better. I had a recent flight from LAX to DEN in a B739 and had gate-to-gate GPS with the tablet sitting in my lap. On my next leg, DEN to BNA, I lost GPS lock just as we hit cruise and I never got it back until short-final at BNA.

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