View Full Version : RansMail free and 149 GPS mapping device ?

09-01-10, 17:28 PM
I've only just discovered this forum after years on BMAA & PFA/LAA ones. I was looking for anyone with hands on exerience of the new NATS/Airbox AWARE gps. Feed-back would be appreciated as it looks to be in budget for the basic model at 149 delivered.
This note really set out to offer RansMail a monthly free amateur e-mailed news letter for Rans S4 & 5 afficionados, but stuff on flex and other lif=ght two seat a/c as well.
Contact me, mikehallam at btinternet.com

09-01-10, 18:15 PM
I am hopefully getting a Airbox Aware on 'Appro' and will certainly tell you my findings.

09-01-10, 18:25 PM
Will you be getting the full kit that does flight planning as well? I think I read that it's available for a small extra cost.

09-01-10, 18:33 PM
Have to wait and see which version they loan me ;-)

09-01-10, 19:08 PM
Hi Mike, welcome to the forum.

If you want a cheap sat nav. You wouldn't got wrong reading the article that is at the top of the home page of this site by Rick Moss. It explains how to add CAA charts to a cheap sat nav that you can buy off e-bay for about 60 quid delivered. I know, I've followed the instructions, got one and use it.... brilliant. :D

andy dixon
09-01-10, 19:27 PM
i got 1 too

10-01-10, 00:16 AM

How do you find it, or is it too soon ?
And is it the basic model, if so is it useful or a bind looking at map and screen together ?


Bill Scott
10-01-10, 21:01 PM
I don't really think 149 is that amazing in terms of value.
I've run MM on a PDA for some time and am about to use a 7" touch screen with MM that stands me at less than 149 and has the ability to plan routes and synch with the MM software on my laptop.

One reason I like using the MM CAA charts is that it gives excellent awareness of your position in relation to restricted airspace because you can see those previously invisible lines in the sky ;) I don't need the computer to warn me, I just fly accurately with the benefit of the moving map.

I also can't abide that woman on TomTom "Turn around where possible" Aaargh! Volume OFF :)

11-01-10, 06:35 AM
I also can't abide that woman on TomTom "Turn around where possible" Aaargh! Volume OFF :)

Well, she speaks very highly of you..... :)

11-01-10, 20:01 PM
Getting the Airbox Aware on Appro next week......would have been this week but due to such high sales demand I have to wait :p

Email message: from William Moore
to PETER KELSEY <ferryair.worldwide@googlemail.com>
date Mon, Jan 11, 2010 at 9:52 AM
subject Re: Contact from Airbox Website

hide details 9:52 AM (9 hours ago)

Hi Peter,
Thanks for writing. Due to unprecedented demand, weve actually sold every available unit that we have. We are expecting another shipment this week. If you call on Friday, Ill try and pull one off the line to send to you.



Terry Viner
11-01-10, 22:28 PM
You must be getting it for nothing Peter, You know that the 7" we have shows all does all, and can speak all.
http://www.microlightforum.com/attachment.php?attachmentid=1052 (http://www.microlightforum.com/%5BIMG%5Dhttp://www.microlightforum.com/attachment.php?attachmentid=1052%5B/IMG%5D)

11-01-10, 22:44 PM
Airbox are loaning me one to see how it compares to others, obviously it will be compared with the TV SKR Version and you will be able to do the comparison yourself (the idea is to let a few play with it)

11-01-10, 23:32 PM
Terry, is that the memory map software you're running on that as well? Thinking about giving that a go once I've got the plane flying again.

Terry Viner
11-01-10, 23:46 PM
Yes it is the Mem Map Software,
if you pm me I will tell all.

29-01-10, 20:01 PM
My Airbox Aware Arrives tomorrow on 'appro' I will be playing with it to see how good it is !!!! If anyone in the Lothians wants to find out for themselves what it's like.......they can have it for a few days to try themselves.

30-01-10, 19:50 PM
Well the Postman woke me up at 0815am with a signed for parcel..... Yes it was the Airbox Aware.

I was really excited to see what it was really all about, well I eagerly opened the box and took out the GPS unit. The unit comes with a very nice suction mount that will affix to Screens or any polished or flat surface, as well as this...you get a USB uplink cable to upload new airspace updates. Other accessories are a cigarette socket power lead and a Wall charger. The Quality of the GPS unit is good and all the data for the Airspace & Mapping is stored on a SD Card. My one criticism of the unit is that the instructions are very non descript and to be honest you need to play with it to work out what functions it has.

Taking into account that I am still getting used to this GPS UNIT I will only give an initial impression from what I have seen today by messing about with it.

The GPS unit is built to a very high standard and has a solid feel to it, the screen resolution is very good and we tried it in very bright sunlight conditions and then in very dim conditions, I do think that the 4inch screen is suitable for use in microlights where space is at a premium and today we affixed it to the Panels of the Foxbat and also in the Quik and it was suitable for me to be able to clearly see the screen without any bother. I liked the compact size as it can also be affixed to your screen without affecting the outside view too much.

As a test, the unit was constantly placed in different positions within the cockpit to check whether the GPS signals were affected and it remained a good signal strength throughout.

As we were testing it at our strip in an area that is part of Edinburgh's Airspace we were constantly getting the Airspace alert coming on and the audible alarm is loud enough to alert you to the impending infringement in the event you miss the 'on screen alert in red writing' or the red highlighting of the actual airspace that you will be entering. The audible alert can be played through your intercom system to alert you through your headset or you could just place any mono earpiece into the GPS jack plug and place the earpiece in your ear under the headset. I did find the Audible alert slightly annoying after a while as we were remaining in Edinburgh Airspace , but it is so annoying that you wouldn't infringe any airspace unknowingly if you know that noise means 'Check your position'

Now from the limited time we played with it today, these are the things I found either slightly lacking or just not explained well enough in the instructions:

(1) The Audible Alert doesn't seem to have a mute button (or if it does have a mute function the instructions don't explain it) I did somehow get the Audible Alert to stop Alerting me Audibly, but actually hadn't a clue how to do it ( I had played with settings & tools and it stopped the audio in some program)

(2) The unit shows you the Position you are by having an Aircraft plan view in green as the locator and whilst moving it places a Blue & White line ahead of your position defining a 10minute line (i.e.where you will be in 10 MINUTES ) The line changes based on your Groundspeed (60kts = 10nm & 45kts = 7.5nm and so on) Whilst the GPS will give you a 10minute warning if heading directly at airspace, if you are skirting the edge of it the blue & white line will not alert you to adjacent airspace if it doesn't touch the airspace at any point.

(3) The unit shows you your Altitude in Feet based on a barometric pressure setting of 1013.2mb in a little black rectangle on the LH side of the screen, but the screen seems to have no facility showing your groundspeed, showing the groundspeed would have been something I would expect on the screen, these 3 bullet points are just what I found today whilst we were initially trying it out and with further investigation these functions might actually be in the program, so at this point I may not have found the full potential of the Airbox Aware.

My initial thoughts are that if someone doesn't want to invest in a Colour GPS from the likes of Garmin or Avmap due to Cost, then this unit is ideal if you just want a basic GPS screen that will alert you to Airspace, I am assuming that the Aware + will be more useful as you can Plan a route on that..... the Airbox Aware doesn't have planning database on it so it is simply a Airspace avoidance system.

I will place some photos later on and also some video of it taken on the drive home (battery was flat when it was in the Aircraft without a cigarette lighter socket !!!!!)

Bill Scott
31-01-10, 14:53 PM
I really can't see the point. If you can't interpret the CAA chart on the screen and recognise your position relative to controlled airspace, then there is something wrong.
All the flashing warnings and bleeps would be an annoying distraction to me.

Am I having one of my Victor Meldrew moments ? Or, do others have the same feeling on this bit of kit?

31-01-10, 20:25 PM
Today I have played with the Airbox Aware further and I am starting to see the benefits of the unit now, as well as having Airspace Alerts it also has Obstruction Alerts, now in our area we have quite a few Windfarms and also some fairly high bridges that are considerations when flying locally, so immediately I have seen how the Aware can benefit the pilot by giving audible alerts for Obstacles as well as Airspace.

As a pilot who religiously has a 1:500,000 map with me on every flight ( but usually stowed in my flight bag or stowed in a door pocket or other such orifice ) I can see that having the Airbox Aware is going to be a benefit to my flying, I normally fly with a Garmin GPS that has the Jeppesen Database ( my choice of GPS varies from a GPS III Pilot up to the GPS 496 depending on space available in the aircraft )

I actually like the idea that the Airbox Aware will allow me to have the CAA recognised 1:500,000 map available to my view as a 4 inch section of the map with my position centred giving me awareness of my aerial surroundings without the need to have the problems of having to keep that large laminated 1:500,000 to hand. The Aware allows you to zoom out to see what is ahead by a fair distance without losing clarity of the mapping.

I can easily see that having this Aware unit as a mapping system as well as a Airspace/Obstacle AVOIDANCE system in any type of open cockpit environs would be a very handy tool (try unfolding a 1:500,000 map in a Quik or a Spectrum for example).

I am very quickly getting to like the Aware gps unit and think it is an ideal sized unit for use in microlights that have limited panel space or limited space in general to fit the unit. The 4 inch Screen is good resolution and very easy to see and has variable backlighting to suit brightness, now as we have all recently been discussing the Memory Map & the Aware systems I believe that Pilot Magazine are currently doing a TEST REPORT comparing the two units and will be publishing their findings in a forthcoming edition of the magazine.

I know quite a lot of microlighters have opted for the 7 inch GPS units that Terry Viner sells and having seen the units myself I think they are good value and don't really see the Aware competing against those units where space is available to have the 7 inch units fitted, the Aware is also good value for money based on that it can be affixed to a panel surface where space is limited and still offer a clear picture of the Airspace around your position.
I am hoping that Terry Viner will give a subjective comparison of the Airbox Aware against his own units, my personal opinion is that I am starting to like the unit immensely and will be continuing to use it as my chosen map whilst flying.

I should point out that the Airbox Aware isn't a GPS that you can put a route into and fly the route, it is simply an Airspace AVOIDANCE system and for that purpose alone I will be using it..... with the added bonus that it saves me having to keep the 1:500,000 map on my lap I see quite a benefit to having this unit.

The attached pictures are taken with the unit affixed to the lower panel of a Quik. (except pic 4 which is on the panel of the Foxbat)

Terry Viner
31-01-10, 22:03 PM
One thing you have to bear in mind Peter is that as microlight pilots we tend to look out of the window and at our maps whereas the general GA pilots that Ive seen spend most of there time looking at the dash Panel and the GPS.
We look out, they look down, If you cant plan a route on it then it isnt much use to me.

02-02-10, 22:47 PM
Further playing with the Airbox Aware has proven that although it is based on UK Airspace, it actually works on the near French area...... it covers from Calais going southwards to Yerville then taking a linear to Bernay across to Caen and then Essay then all the way up the West coast of France to Vauville, it covers the Channel Isles as part of the UK as well. All Airspace in between the UK and the French Coast is also inclusive.

I would have reported this last night, but the local boys in blue invited me to go and sample their hospitality for 32hrs starting 0920 on Monday morning in 'Chez Clink' !!!!