I recently had the pleasure of reconnecting Ben, an old pilot friend of mine who raved about the most recent addition to his aircraft – Flight Stream 210. After saying things like, “I really love my Flight Stream… when people hear what it does, they are blown away,” I kindly asked him if he’d detail his experience with Flight Stream and tell us just why he loves it so much.
Ben is a commercial, multi-engine-rated pilot who flies for pleasure roughly 200 hours each year. Making regular trips between North Carolina and Pennsylvania, he uses his 1978 Beechcraft Baron 58 to also go on vacation and travel to a variety of destinations. In his well-equipped Baron he has a GNS 530W/430W, as well as a GTX 330 ES transponder, (to comply with ADS-B Out – good job Ben!) a GDL 69A Sirius XM satellite antenna and of course, Flight Stream 210.
Q. Why did you elect to integrate Flight Stream into your cockpit?
A. I chose the Flight Stream 210 for my cockpit for several reasons. First, I don't like all the wires that come with multiple portable devices, not only for aesthetic reasons but also because of all the time that’s required for set up of each device at the beginning of every flight and making sure it all communicates, which often makes the use of those external devices a real hassle. So, a solution that got GPS data to my iPad, along with the weather data from the GDL 69A, all with the bonus of easy flight plan entry - I was sold. I also found the price to be very fair for all of the capability. Often inputting flight plans was time-consuming with a lot of knob twisting. The ability to have weather on the iPad overlaid on Garmin Pilot on my iPad seemed like the perfect solution. I also thought it was cool to be able to control the XM radio with the iPad; my son especially likes this option!
A. What feature do you like best about Flight Stream?
Q. For me, the best feature of Flight Stream is the weather overlay onto the charts in the Garmin Pilot app. I can be several steps ahead of the weather and controllers, even suggesting a route that takes me around it, while using the iPad to wirelessly send that new flight plan to the 530W.
Q. Describe a time with Flight Stream came in handy and made flying easier for you:
Recently I was flying to a new destination a little over three hours away. I had spent time picking an airway route that seemed reasonable, loaded the flight plan into the Garmin Pilot app, filed my flight plan and thought I would be good to go. I jumped in the airplane and opened up the iPad. It had already received my expected clearance from air traffic control, which was not what I filed. It didn't have a single fix in common with what I had filed, except for the starting and ending airports! I called ATC for my clearance and heard, "And N20292, this will be a full route clearance, advise ready to copy." I received my clearance and sure enough, it was exactly as the Garmin Pilot app had received. All I had to do was send it to the Garmin GNS 530W, accept it, and I was ready. It saved me so much time idling on the ground in the hot sun twisting and turning. As you may have guessed, I only flew the first few waypoints of this flight plan before getting cleared direct - at least I hadn't spent all that time entering it!
Q. What feature do you like most about Garmin Pilot?
Navigating within in the app is classic Garmin, which needless to say, is easy and familiar. Probably my favorite feature is synthetic vision. I also really like how easy it is to update the charts within the app.
Q. How does Garmin Pilot help make navigating, flight planning or flying, easier for you?
A. With Garmin Pilot, I love how easy it is to file a flight plan and also to get my legal flight briefing. I can't say enough about how awesome it is that the app is able to receive my expected ATC clearance and Flight Stream 210 makes it extremely easy to send to the GNS 530W.
Q. What feature do you use the most throughout your entire Garmin avionics suite while flying?
A. Certainly the Garmin 530W is the piece of avionics I use the most. I have become very familiar with it and there isn't a single flight where it isn't front and center. So, to have the Flight Stream add to its utility has been wonderful. It overcomes the dated aspects of the unit and allows it to fly on!
Q. Advice to a customer considering Flight Stream:
My advice to someone considering the Flight Stream is just to do it. It may not seem like a huge upgrade (and thankfully it is not, at least from an install perspective), but the capabilities are huge in comparison to the cost. I can't think of a better purchase I have made in avionics, or in airplane upgrades in general. It expands upon the capabilities of the Garmin 530W/430W, along with extending their useful life. It also will grow with you in the future with an upgrade to the GTN 750/650. If you already own a GTN 650/750, stop reading this and just install Flight Stream today.
Q. Is there another avionics upgrade in your future?
I definitely want to make the jump to a G500 and upgrade my 530W/430W to a pair of GTN 750s. I had a GTN 650 in a previous airplane and loved the touchscreen functionality. I also have accumulated some glass cockpit time at this point, and just love flying behind them. However, with the panel I have now, there really is nothing I can't do, and I think a big part of that is my upgrade to Flight Stream.