Thursday, November 2, 2017

Dynon SkyView Software Upgraded To Version 15.2.0

One upgrade I wanted to make during the down time for the condition inspection was to upgrade the Dynon SkyView’s software from version 14 to version 15. When upgrading the SkyView software, I like placing a battery charger on the Odyssey battery so the battery does not discharge while the software is being loaded and menus sifted through after the software instillation has been completed. But prior to hooking up the battery charger felt it would be a good time to test the SkyView’s backup battery.

One task that should be completed as part of the annual condition inspection is testing of the Dynon SkyView’s backup battery. The test is simple enough … remove power from the SkyView by powering off the master switch then push a button to enter the battery test mode. A countdown timer will appear on the screen along with a window that shows the backup battery’s voltage. The test timer begins at 45 minutes and counts down …. if all goes well, the counter will successfully count down and after 45 minutes has elapsed, the display will show a test completed message. The goal is to receive the test completed message prior to the backup battery’s voltage dropping to an unusable voltage. Dynon’s documentation states, if fully charged, the SkyView’s backup battery will typically power the SkyView for approximately one hour.

After completing a successful testing of the SkyView's backup battery, a battery charger was hooked up to the RV-12’s Odyssey battery so the master switch could be ON and the SkyView could begin charging the backup battery during loading of the new software and while I sifted through the menus to check out settings and see how & where some of the new features are implemented. The new Skyview software installed changed the SkyView’s software from version 14 to the current latest version which (at the time of the condition inspection) is 15.2.0. The software was obtained from the Van’s WEB site because Van’s does take the time to vet the software to make sure new features and settings are functional in the RV-12. Speaking of new features, version 15 of the SkyView software gives the user quite a few new features (some of which I’m truly looking forward to experimenting with) plus there are many improvements to existing features along with quite a few fixes for minor glitches previously discovered. There is also a software upgrade for the transponder to version 2.11 which took me off guard for a few minutes as mentioned below.

The key new features of SkyView version 15 are:
New: Extended Runways Centerlines.
New: Highway in the Sky (HITS). (HITS is a method of displaying a string of rectangular boxes on the display screen which if “flown through”, will lead the pilot down to the runway. Looking forward to checking this new feature out).
New: Airport Signposts in Synthetic Vision.
New: Maintenance Logging.
New: Weight and Balance Calculator.
New: Support for SV-ADSB-472 Dual Band Traffic and Weather Receiver. Customers upgrading from the SV-ADSB-470 should update the device under serial port setup to SV-ADSB-472.
New: ADS-B Traffic and Weather from SkyView’s SV-ADSB-470 is now transmitted via Wi-Fi for use by 3rd party apps (FlyQ, etc).
New: NEXRAD weather radar animation.
New: Airspace proximity notification. This includes airspace you are in, upcoming airspace along your flight path, and those that are above and below you.
New: Activating “Direct-To” with a runway selected under airport runway info will create a 5nm leg to the chosen runway along the extended centerline.
New: VNAV from SkyView’s flight plan to your destination airport, arriving either above the airport or right at the runway itself.
New: EGT/CHT widget now available in “vertical” orientation.
New: A fourth size of EMS widgets has been added which has larger text for displaying values and labels than any of the other three sizes. The overall size of the widget remains the same as the largest of the other three sizes, and thus, the graphical area of widget is reduced in size to make way for larger text. For EGT and CHT widgets, just the label text increases in size, as there is not enough space to make the value text any larger.
New: Pitot/Static test mode that eliminates the need for display restarts during transponder checks. Available via SETUP MENU > HARDWARE CALIBRATION > ADAHRS CALIBRATION > PITOT / STATIC TEST MODE.

The updating of the SkyView is easy. Copy the file containing the new version 15 software onto a USB flash drive making sure the file ends up in the root directory of the flash drive and NOT in a folder. Place the flash drive in any one of the SkyView’s USB ports and power up the SkyView making sure the Avionics and Autopilot switches are also powered on. Enter the Setup Menu by simultaneously pressing buttons 7 & 8 and select System Software then select Upgrade System Software.

The version 15 software includes an update for the transponder that, as I discovered, is not directly installed at the time the version 15 software is loaded into the SkyView … however, the update is “queued” so to speak. After completing the version 15 software instillation, I began looking through the menus and noticed the transponder status was showing yellow text (which is not normal).

So after loading the version 15 software, the user needs to enter the Setup Menu once again and navigate to Transponder Setup and enter that menu. The first line in the Transponder Setup Menu is the Status line and it will have yellow text indicating the transponder software is not up to date. When the Status line is highlighted, the right side of the screen will display an option to press a Load button to load the new transponder software update. Press the Load button and the transponder will be updated to version 2.11.

The update to SkyView version 15 software went smoothly once I realized the transponder software needed to be updated manually. I’m truly looking forward to dabbling with some of the new expanded features such as highway in the sky, extended runway centerlines, direct to with runway selected, weight &balance calculator, VNAV to airport or runway and the NEXTRAD weather animation. SkyView version 15 is an exciting feature filled update to be sure. Dynon should be commended for their ongoing commitment to improve and expand the capabilities of the SkyView product line for the experimental community.