The Future of Wireless Cockpit Connectivity: Garmin Connext


Aircraft cockpit connectivity has been simplifying and streamlining the way we aviate, navigate and communicate in-flight and on the ground for years. As the integration of smart phones and tablets quickly become a staple in most aircraft – big and small – pilots are interacting with the avionics more efficiently and therefore, navigating aircraft in a more economical manner. As a result of this enhanced connectivity, more information is introduced into the cockpit, helping pilots to make better decisions as it relates to each individual flight.

The future of wireless connectivity is now available to general aviation with Garmin Connext, a connected cockpit ecosystem that simplifies the way pilots navigate the national airspace system. The technological advances made in general aviation just within the last two decades have provided pilots with access to valuable information in-flight, including weather, traffic, text messaging, phone and more. Additional capabilities include wireless connectivity between certified navigation systems in the cockpit and portable devices such as a Bluetooth-enabled iPad or Android tablet and phone. These advancements have given general aviation luxuries that ultimately simplify flying.

Efficient Flight Planning

Flight planning is transformed with Garmin Connext and Flight Stream – a small, Bluetooth wireless gateway, which is easily interfaced to the aircraft’s avionics. Beginning well before the flight, pilots can start planning for a flight on a mobile device using the Garmin Pilot app for iOS and Android, checking weather at the departure and destination airports and simultaneously identifying adverse flight conditions along the route of flight. Once arriving at the airport, seamless flight plan transfers occurs in seconds between the certified navigation system in the aircraft and the pilots’ mobile device. For added flexibility, flight plans can be modified within the avionics and transferred to a mobile device and vice versa.

Wireless Weather and Traffic

In addition to wireless flight plan transfer capabilities, Flight Stream enables the display of more information within the cockpit across multiple devices. When paired with an appropriate transceiver, weather interpretation is easier with Flight Stream, which duplicates weather products typically found on cockpit displays and transfers the image wirelessly to a mobile device.

Along with weather, pilots can optionally display other traffic targets near them on their mobile device so it’s easier to see and avoid other aircraft in the area. Pilots can take advantage of these wireless capabilities available to them to make better, more informed decisions as it relates to traffic and weather along their route of flight.

Connectivity Extended Beyond Avionics

Pilots can make and receive phone calls, send text messages all through the most convenient place in the aircraft – the cockpit display. A variety of Garmin avionics displays connect through the Iridium satellite network to provide a seamless connection between pilots and loved ones or business partners on the ground or while in-flight at 9,000 feet. Entertainment control options are also extended to include SiriusXM radio channels, allowing pilots and/or passengers the flexibility of changing channels and controlling volume levels via their smartphones. Beyond mobile devices and avionics, the D2 Bravo aviator watch doubles as a navigation device, displaying the nearest airport and providing direct-to navigation to an airport of the pilot’s choice. Weather information, as well as groundspeed, distance, estimated time enroute (ETE) and more all conveniently populate on the face of D2 Bravo for easy reference. Garmin Connext is extended to include the option to wirelessly control VIRB Elite and VIRB XE action cameras through the avionics in their aircraft, via their mobile devices or D2 Bravo, so pilots are provided an easy path to control an externally mounted camera on their aircraft. Pilots who wish to capture high definition video of a flight through the Grand Canyon or during a sunset tour of the New York skyline, can easily do so with VIRB as mounting options are limitless thanks to the remote capabilities offered by Connext.

Fully Integrated Flying Experience

Cockpit connectivity and overall flight deck integration is important and as technology advances in general aviation, avionics will too. Connext brings together a wealth of information amid a growth-oriented architecture that enhances flight-planning capabilities within general aviation aircraft to enable a more efficient and enjoyable flying experience. With the connected cockpit capabilities offered by Connext, pilots can gain a better sense of situational awareness and the options available to them enroute to their destinations. With these unique connectivity options, pilots can feel confident that taking advantage of new and existing Connext-enabled products will equip them for the future and beyond.   

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