What’s Cookin’ ?

Some updates from the CloudAhoy kitchen:

° Two new analysis modes of CloudAhoy have been released after beta testing:  glider flight analysis and rotorcraft flight analysis.  Like in previous beta programs, I was fortunate to receive excellent feedback from the beta testers.  THANK YOU!   And talking about beta testers, several helicopter pilots liked the new analysis mode, but hated the fixed-wing icons which represented the helicopter’s position. As of today, these icons are replaced by helicopter icons.

° The profile graphs have been improved and extended,thinkgs are cookin' at CloudAhoy! both in the Flight Profiles and in each “segment information”.  A new ground profile has been added to the Altitude graph, allowing you to see both the MSL and the AGL altitudes in one graph.  The ground profile is currently available only in the “entire flight” segment.  Also, we fixed all the known graphs bugs in Internet Explorer.

° It is not necessary any more to manually add aircraft to “My Aircraft”.  When you use a tail number of a new aircraft, its information is added automatically to “My Aircraft”, including its type and make.

° Per popular demand, I have increased to 8 the max number of devices per user.  BTW, this limit will be eliminated in the next major release which we are now hard at work on, expected in early 2013.

And hot off the press: the fix for the external GPS not working bug may be in sight!
As you recall, the problem is in iOS 6.0 handling of the communication with an external GPS. Two days ago Apple released to developers iOS 6.1 beta 3, and it’s the first beta of 6.1 which seems to have fixed the bug .  I will update you as more information is available.  Right now I believe that as soon as Apple will release iOS 6.1, hopefully soon, you’ll be able to dust off your external GPS and use it with CloudAhoy and all your other aviation apps.

Helicopter pilots needed: CloudAhoy beta

Call for Beta: to all the helicopter pilots our there – the long-anticipated rotorcraft analysis is ready for beta testing.

How it works;
The rotorcraft flight analyzer kicks-in automatically when the flight being debriefed has a tail number of a rotorcraft. It will help you debrief your traffic patterns, your approaches and your autorotations. The cockpit view is now better suited for helicopter flights.
The new analyzer will kick-in also if you debrief an old helicopter flight.

Several CloudAhoy users helped educate me on helicopters and were very kind to try earlier versions of the software. I never met any of them, yet they contributed their time and wisdom. Thank you! Special thanks to Thomas Hirsch, who graciously shared with me his wealth of knowledge and expertise in flying helicopters.

How to participate
> Login to the beta site.
> If needed enter the tail number in the debrief page.
> Debrief your helicopter flights.
> Email me your feedback.

I am looking for any comments and ideas you may have. What did you like? What didn’t you like? Which additions would you like to see?

And thanks!

Call for beta: glider pilots

Those of you who have been using CloudAhoy to debrief glider flights know that sometimes the analysis has been lacking. The reason: CloudAhoy has a rule-based analysis engine, and its rules thus far have been focused on powered fixed-wing airplanes.

I am now in the process of extending the rules to analyze other kinds of aircraft, starting with gliders (helicopters will soon follow).

If you are a glider pilot I am looking for your help.  Here’s how:

> Login to the beta program

> Debrief your glider flights.  Make sure that the glider’s tail number is correct.

> Email me at support@CloudAhoy.com and tell me what you think.

Was the debrief useful?
Was the flight segmented correctly?
How accurate was the track and altitude?
Are the Profiles useful?
Are the (i) buttons in each segment useful?
What other analysis would you like to see?  New segment types?  New graphs?

And thanks!

External GPS devices and iOS 6

I received a number of inquires from CloudAhoy users asking whether there would be any impact on CloudAhoy after upgrading to Apple’s iOS 6.

The answer: it depends on whether you are using an external GPS device or not.  If you use an external GPS I would advise against upgrading to iOS 6.  There seems to be a bug in Apple iOS 6  related to communication with external GPS devices.

I have tested CloudAhoy running under iOS 6 with these external GPS devices: GNS 5870 MFI, Dual 150, Garmin GLO and Garmin GDL-39.  I have used iPad and iPhone devices.  With every one of these devices there have been cases in which the flights were only partially captured.  The symptom is that after tapping the Start button with an external GPS, CloudAhoy displays a green GPS light indicating a good GPS signal, but sometimes the accuracy deteriorated in flight, e.g., displaying a yellow light, and the data is not captured.

If you are using iOS 6 with CloudAhoy and with an external GPS device, the following workaround seems to work, but I don’t have enough statistics to tell whether it always does.

Before a flight:
– Close all the apps
– Settings –> General –> Reset –> Reset Location & Privacy
– Make sure the external GPS is connected via bluetooth.
– Start CloudAhoy.  Tap “Start”.   Then tap OK to “CloudAhoy would like to use your current location”.

If you are using your iPhone or iPad’s internal GPS, CloudAhoy will work equally well in iOS 6 as it did in iOS 5. Specifically, CloudAhoy is not affected by Apple’s new Maps program – it still uses the same mapping technology it used in iOS 5.
10/17/2012 addition:
The workaround above does not always work.  Other aviation software vendors have published their own workarounds (e.g., ForeFlight, WingX), but it’s my understanding that these workarounds are not fail safe either.  As I have indicated in one of the comments, I am now flying without an external GPS, and waiting for Apple to fix this.

CloudAhoy app 2.2 was released yesterday

This release includes:

o  support for iOS6 and iPhone 5,

o   support for two new external GPS devices from Garmin: the GLO and the GDL-39,

o   A fix of a communication problem.

Interesting inside story about the GDL-39: after returning from Oshkosh I have asked Garmin to send me a unit for evaluation, to benefit the users of both companies.  A Garmin rep replied with a an official “No”.  Meanwhile several users wrote to me about GDL-39 support, and I had to reply that it’s not coming any time soon because I don’t have access to the $800 unit.  As it turned out, Garmin started receiving calls and emails from these users.  Richard Yerian, a CloudAhoy user (name used with his permission) contacted a Garmin sales manager whom he knows, and a week later I received the GDL-39.  Thank you Richard and other CloudAhoy users for your help in making CloudAhoy better!

CloudAhoy app 2.1: fixes a bug affecting iPad 1

Immediately after app 2.0 was released, I started receiving reports that CloudAhoy does not recognize the internal GPS in iPad 1.  Wayne Smith (name used with permission) was the first to report it.

The bug was fixed the next day and uploaded for Apple’s review.  Today Apple approved the fix, and it’s now in the app store.