NBAA Convention News

WingX Adds GPWS, X-Plane Compatibility

 - October 30, 2012, 1:00 AM
A steep turn in an Avanti in WingX Pro, left, on the X-Plane flight simulator is contrasted with the same data playing on a WingX attitude indicator on an iPhone, right.

Hilton Software (Booth No. 3064) has added key new features to its WingX Pro 7 iPad moving-map software, including integration with the X-Plane flight simulator and a terrain and obstacle ground proximity warning system (GPWS) that includes a terrain profile. The GPWS also provides a look-ahead function to warn pilots of impending impact with terrain or obstacles.

With the simulator integration, X-Plane users can fly with WingX Pro 7 and view all of the WingX features during a simulated flight, without having to cable the iPad to the computer running X-Plane. The X-Plane integration runs on a WiFi network and includes the “position” of the simulated aircraft depicted on WingX’s moving-map and geo-referenced approach plates. A unique feature offered by the X-Plane integration is that the user can try out advanced WingX features such as synthetic vision with pitch and bank, without needing a separate attitude heading reference system (AHRS) device.

In an aircraft, to obtain pitch and bank with WingX synthetic vision, an AHRS is needed to feed attitude data to the iPad. Currently, two such AHRS devices are available, the AHRS-G Mini by Levil Technology ($795) and Clarity SV ($997) from Sagetech. These devices are not inexpensive, but one advantage they also offer is not only providing pitch and bank data for WingX’s synthetic vision but also for the iPhone version of WingX. (The Clarity SV also provides ADS-B IN data.)

In the iPhone version, WingX includes an attitude indicator, and an AHRS device could make the iPhone attitude indicator work as a dire-emergency backup device if everything in the instrument panel were to fail. (See photo for illustration of X-Plane Avanti alongside iPhone attitude indicator, during a steep turn maneuver.) On the iPad, this feature is called “heads-up display.”

WingX pioneered the split screen on iPad moving-map apps, and the benefits of this approach are easily apparent when testing WingX with a computer running X-Plane and an iPad running WingX. To do this, the latest version of X-Plane, 10.10r3, is required ($69.99), and it runs on PC, Apple Macintosh and Linux computers. WingX Pro 7 costs $99.95, plus $99.95 for synthetic vision and $74.99 for Seattle Avionics geo-referenced ChartData to display own-ship position on approach charts.

With the split screen, you can run a variety of displays on two screens at the same time. While shooting an approach, for example, you can view the approach plate with own-ship position on the top half of the iPad display and the en route or sectional chart on the bottom half. Plus, you also can view terrain on the en route or sectional chart as well. Or, the other half of the screen could show the synthetic vision view so you can “see” terrain and obstacles.

Other recently added WingX features include a “passive radar altimeter,” which shows GPS altitude above the ground or the elevation of the terrain over which you are flying. The terrain profile shows the current flightpath along the bottom of the screen and the relative elevation of any terrain based on the current flightpath or along the planned route. To view the relative position of the aircraft to the terrain, select the “GPS” instead of “Route” display on the terrain profile.

For flight departments with multiple iPad-using pilots, Hilton Software recently added the FlightShare function to WingX. You can create a route plan on one device and share it with other iPads and iPhones that have WingX installed. This feature would also be useful for training, allowing students to share their planned route with their instructors.

You don’t need to use X-Plane to try out WingX features; the app includes a simulator function that will run a flight in simulated mode, although it doesn’t include simulation of the AHRS. Synthetic vision will run without an AHRS, but you won’t see any pitch and bank, just a static animation of the view outside the windshield.

Apps like WingX have become so feature-laden that pilots need to spend time learning to use them. And the integration with X-Plane makes it easy to learn and try the WingX’s features and practice incorporating the app into normal procedures, much more safely than trying to do so in the air. o