Jeppesen, Bad Elf Simplify Database Updates

 - April 2, 2018, 8:15 AM
Bad Elf's Wombat device allows updating Jeppesen navigation databases using an iPhone or iPad to download the data.

Jeppesen has released an iOS app version of the Jeppesen Distribution Manager (JDM) flight data updating software and announced a strategic alliance with Bad Elf, which has just released its Bad Elf Wombat portable dataloading/-downloading accessory. The Wombat device is a wireless data transfer system, and JDM enables downloading updates via an iOS device, for avionics that use Jeppesen databases, without having to carry a data card to an Internet-connected computer.

The Wombat is available in piston and turbine versions from both Bad Elf and Jeppesen, and it also is a backup battery, equipped with a 9800-mAh battery pack for charging up to two mobile devices simultaneously. For avionics that allow downloading of aircraft data, the Wombat can be used to download flight and engine logs, then share that data with apps and services such as CloudAhoy, SavvyAnalysis, and CirrusReports.

The piston version costs $249.99 and can be used to update Jeppesen databases in Garmin (not including G3000/G5000) and Avidyne avionics. Bad Elf plans to add support soon for Aspen Avionics, Dynon Avionics, Advanced Flight Systems, Genesys Aerosystems, Grand Rapids Technologies, and MGL Avionics.

The turbine version sells for $499.99 plus an annual $100 service fee and supports the same avionics manufacturers as the piston edition, plus Rockwell Collins and Honeywell avionics. Support for Garmin G3000/G5000 and Universal Avionics is coming soon.

Updating a database with the Wombat is a simple three-step process: download the update via Wi-Fi or cellular networks on an iPhone or iPad using the JDM app; connect the iPhone or iPad to the Wombat’s Wi-FI network; insert a USB drive, SD card, or Garmin NavData card (using the Skybound adapter) into the Wombat; plug the card into the avionics to compete the update.

“Previously, many aircraft operators needed to update data cards offsite, which often meant working a long distance from their aircraft due to a dependency on traditional landline PC technology,” said Mike Abbott, director, Jeppesen Data Solutions, Product & Portfolio Management. “Through our relationship with Bad Elf, most of our general and business aviation customers will now be able to use JDM Mobile and the Wombat device to wirelessly update essential charts and data, right in the cockpit. This capability also extends to tens of thousands of customers operating legacy avionics that are not designed for wireless navigation data update capabilities.”

Bad Elf had pre-announced the Wombat in 2015, but held off on releasing it because of the opportunity to add the new features just announced. “By working [with Jeppesen] we’re able to bring wireless database updating to over 80 percent of the general aviation market, including legacy avionics,” Bad Elf CTO and co-founder Brett Hackleman told AIN. “We think pilots are going to love the convenience of iPhone- and iPad-based database updates with JDM Mobile and the Wombat Piston Edition.”

Bad Elf also saw an opportunity to serve the business jet market. “[We were] approached by several large business jet operators who saw how Wombat could improve their decentralized fleet operations,” he explained. “We worked closely with them to refine the Wombat app and hardware solution to meet their requirements. Over the last 18 months the Wombat Turbine Edition has been deployed in 400-plus business jets worldwide, equipped with Honeywell, Rockwell Collins, and Garmin avionics.”

Bad Elf is planning to announce “several OEM partnerships around the Wombat’s flight and engine log collection capabilities,” according to Hackleman.