Dual XGPS 150 Bluetooth GPS receiver
Much to the dismay of many wise old pilots, iPads and their moving map apps are almost standard equipment in the cockpit these days. But they’re not much use if they don’t have cellular connectivity – Wi-Fi only iPads don’t have a built-in GPS. The Dual XGPS 150 is a universal GPS receiver that pairs with almost any smart device to supply it with GPS signal.
Even if you have a phone or tablet with built-in GPS, the Dual XGPS 150 will give you improved GPS accuracy. Using an external GPS also reduces the battery drain on your device, although this is offset to some extent by having Bluetooth switched on. Battery life on the rechargeable Dual receiver is 8.5 hours, and it recharges to full in 2.5 hours.
As the airline jocks will tell you, the thin laminate of gold threads used to heat or defog the windscreen in airliners blocks the GPS signal. The Dual XGPS 150 receiver comes with a non-slip pad that will stick to most surfaces, so you can put it up against the side window to receive signal.
There is a quick set-up process that includes pairing the receiver to your tablet. Once this is done, the receiver will automatically connect to the device with which it was last paired, and you will be able to use it with most apps that require location information.
The GPS receiver has a Bluetooth range of 10 metres, and Dual claims it has an accuracy of around 2.5 metres, acquired in under 30 seconds. Position updates happen at least once per second, and the receiver is said to work at speeds up to 1,000 kt and up to 59,000 ft altitude.
Dual has its own GPS Status Tool app, available for free on the iTunes store, which shows:
Your location (or whether the device is still working out where you are)
How many satellites the device sees and the signal strength of each satellite
The battery level of the GPS receiver, and whether or not it is charging
Confirmation that the GPS receiver is successfully connected to your smart device
The Dual XGPS 150 is available from Amazon for US$99. At the current exchange rate nothing is cheap, but it’s not a bad price for a reliable GPS in the cockpit.