Feb 25 2009

Quest for Affordable Aviation GPS

Category: Aviation GPS,RamblingsDaniel @ 5:58 am

As I’ve been flying more and more in our club’s newest Cessna 172SP, I’m really loving a moving map GPS system for situational awareness.  Unfortunately, only ONE of our club’s planes has this moving map and guess what, that plane is usually booked the most.  The other 172’s do have GPS, but nothing with a visual/map.  Furthermore, since it’s usually just my wife and I flying, I wouldn’t mind taking the 152’s up more again (like in my training days), but they don’t have any GPS at all.

Granted, I am still comfortable flying with VOR navigation and good ‘ole dead reckoning pilotage, but I must admit I like having the GPS to remind me of controlled airspace, distances from airports (very useful), and my general location.  As a result of all this, I’ve always been on the lookout for a nice handheld GPS system at an affordable price.  The relatively new Bendyx/King AV8OR looks really cool and relatively affordable at ~$700 versus the $1500+ for a good color moving map aviation GPS system, but that’s still way above what I’d want to pay to support my hobby at this time.

I’ve always thought it should be easy enough to “hack” some sort of other GPS system to use for aviation, and sure enough other people on the web agree (Google it).  After researching a ton, I heard great things about the Mio handheld GPS systems, built originally for car/walking navigation, but they run the Windows CE  / Pocket PC operating system and there’s plenty of other software to throw onto it.  Anyway, figuring I wouldn’t mind a decent navigation system even for my car, I dropped a minimal $93 to buy the Mio C320, which I received this week.

I’m going to play with my new Mio C320 with every/all aviation GPS mobile applications I can find and report back with my experiences on each.   Hopefully one will prove a winner!  My first test will be with the Pocket FMS application (as that was what was recommended elsewhere on the web)…wish me luck.

If anyone else has experience with either the Mio C320 or another personal navigation device (PND) and using it for general aviation, let me know!

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6 Responses to “Quest for Affordable Aviation GPS”

  1. Gil says:

    Hi there,
    Any news using the MIO320 with aviation software?
    Ie just bought one of those and need to use it in my plane too.

    • Dan says:

      See my page dedicated to GPS Software Reviews…it has a few of my experiences with various applications on the MIO C320.

  2. Gil says:

    What is the address to your website????

  3. Don Snider says:

    I use apic on an ipaq hx4705/bluetooth GPS and it works great!
    cost less than 200.00 total

  4. Toshi Somenaka says:

    Please let me introduce our product.
    The GmapAir is a digital map to display US airspaces necessary for the VFR flight in Garmin GPS (Oregon, nuvi, eTrex, GPSMAP).
    It is excellent in the cost performance as a casual equipment and/or the backup of aviation GPS.

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