...And XM Offers More Cockpit Weather

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XM Satellite Radio and Heads Up Technologies announced Monday that the FAA has granted a Supplemental Type Certificate and Parts Manufacturer Approval (STC-PMA) for the XMD075-01 aviation data receiver manufactured by Heads Up. XM WX Satellite Weather provides pilots with graphical information about weather conditions across the United States, including NEXRAD radar in a high-resolution, full-color graphical format overlaid on a map. "The XM WX service significantly improves the quality and timeliness of weather information available in flight, and we're proud to introduce the first FAA-certified XM data receiver," said Rob Harshaw, president and CEO of Heads Up Technologies. David Groos, a spokesman for Heads Up, told AVweb yesterday that this system is unique in that it provides a very strong signal that was developed specifically for mobile applications, and the user interface is very straightforward and easy to use. The system consists of a receiver, antenna and dataport that can be installed in the aircraft, costing $3,750, Groos said. The dataport has a USB connection for connecting a laptop computer or other device that functions as the display. The software costs up to $400 for the premium package, and the monthly fee is $49.99 for unlimited use. Weather data includes wind speed and direction at 3,000-foot intervals up to 42,000 feet, lightning strikes from the National Lightning Detection Network, storm-cell identification and tracking for strong storms, projected storm paths over the next 15 minutes, and continuously updated current and forecast conditions at airports across the country. The system is compatible with a wide range of electronic displays, XM said. "This service will help pilots make better-informed decisions under all weather conditions," said Roderick MacKenzie, XM's Director of Advanced Applications. The XM WX Satellite Weather service is powered by location-specific weather data and technology provided by Wx Worx Inc., an affiliate of Baron Services Inc., which is a provider of analytical weather services to the TV broadcast and emergency-management industries. XM said it is now the only provider of FAA-approved solutions for both satellite radio and satellite weather for aircraft -- so if you like to listen to hot jazz or cool classics while bopping along in the clouds, now you can do both.