Satellite weather downloads in Europe

When I was studying for my instrument rating in Orlando, I flew an SR-22 that had the ability to receive weather information in the air. It displayed a radar picture on the multi-function display and TAFs/METARs for airports. It was very cool and a valuable safety system for longer flights. Unfortunately, this option is not available in Europe.

Timm Preusser rigged up a system using a pocket computer and a Globalstar satellite phone to do the same thing. However, Globalstar has some problems with their satellites and his approach – though effective – seemed a bit Heath Robinson (that’s Rube Goldberg for my American readers.)

Avidyne recently announced the MLX-770 Two-way Datalink Receiver. Instead of using satellite radio broadcasts, it uses the Iridium satellite phone system and integrates into the Cirrus’s avionics.

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It downloads a radar mosaic for most of western Europe (the same display you get from Meteox, from the looks of things) and METARs/TAFs. You can also send and receive text messages in the air, which might be useful.

In short, I want it.  Actually, I think I’d rather have this than the new Garmin avionics from Cirrus.

One Response to Satellite weather downloads in Europe

  1. keith G. December 8, 2008 at 21:14 #

    About 4 years ago, I had the original GlobalStar phone to obtain the weather mosaic here in Texas. However, I was very dissappointed with the performance. With a phone, you are using the request/reply form of information gathering. This is very inconvenient while in the midst of circumnavigating thunderstorms. I also had many issues with reception. Naturally, the times when the information was most needed was when reception was poor resulting in no data or partial data that locked up the portable PDA. With the arrival of the XM satellites, the continuous broadcast of weather data meant I had what I needed, when I needed it without having to do anything. I will not fly anywhere in stormy/thunderstorm weather without it.

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