During the November 2010 AOPA Conference in Long Beach, California, you may have seen three guys roaming the convention center by the Internet kiosks or vendor booths. If they saw you holding an iPad, they likely approached to showcase their single product – an aluminum iPad case. If there was interest, they led you to the Internet kiosk area, brought up a website storefront and sold you one on the spot! With 150 cases, it was first come, first served.
The three guys – Charlie Schneider, Dominic (Nick) Martinez, and Brian Domareck – are the founders of MYGOFLIGHT. Since their first experience at the AOPA event, they have grown tremendously, building a strong online presence and showcasing their expanding product line across several aviation events. Recently, we visited their offices in Denver, Colorado, to learn more about the company and the latest products.
Charlie started flying so he and Brian could efficiently visit clients of their company, Builder Sourcing. Many clients were in smaller cities with local or regional airports, none easily accessible by the airlines. So, Charlie purchased a Cirrus SR22 in 2007 to learn to fly (and still has that plane today). Charlie quickly found he did not like to deal with paper in the cockpit, so he purchased an Apple iPad. Of course, once you have a tablet, you have to find a way to keep it handy and secure. Hence the impetus for their first iPad case.
MYGOFLIGHT has since expanded rapidly to a full set of innovative and flexible mounting devices for a variety of aircraft environments. Their quick-connect mounts, which I’ve used for years, enable pilots to quickly change devices or mounts as needs change. While initially focused on products for pilots, their mounts work equally well for other modes of transportation such as boats.
Once you fly with a tablet in bright sunlight, you immediately learn how difficult it is to view the display in those conditions. I’m always moving my iPad to just the right position to see the display. To solve that particular problem, MYGOFLIGHT developed a no-glare glass overlay for tablets and smartphones called Armorglas. I use one on my iPad and the difference in bright sun is amazing. I’ve found that the glass improves visibility during a wide range of lighting conditions. It even reduces fingerprints, keeping your electronic devices much cleaner and easier to read.
How many pilots have experienced the dreaded tablet shutdown from overheating in our cockpits? Of course, it usually happens at the most inopportune times, like during an approach. Your only option is to hold it up to the air vent and hope that the incoming air will cool it down before you have to intercept the glideslope, which doesn’t always happen. As technology improves, so do the cooling requirements of the processors, which only exacerbates the problem.
The folks at MYGOFLIGHT have come up with an innovated iPad case with a small, intelligent cooling fan system. I tested out their prototype and it would be great not only for airborne use but any time you might experience excessive heat. The units are now available for the iPad, and I suspect they might even expand the line to accommodate other devices in the future.
MYGOFLIGHT developed a line of cases, backpacks and luggage specifically designed for pilots and other sports enthusiasts. The backpack offers unique pockets to make it easier for pilots to carry a wide variety of devices, flashlights, standby radios, and almost anything else you need. Extending on these products, they recently designed and added a set of luggage, custom-made to their specifications. Recognizing it can be easy to load up your plane beyond its useful load, they even sell a very handy digital scale that is easy to use.
The use of a Head-Up Display (HUD) is shown to positively impact aviation safety, providing critical flight information directly in front of the pilot’s view during certain phases of flight. The Flight Safety Foundation confirmed that conclusion in two studies, one in 1990 and subsequently in 2009. Based on their research, the use of HUDs might have prevented, or at least resulted in a better outcome, between 31 and 38 percent of accidents.
The folks at MYGOFLIGHT also believe in its effectiveness and have developed a HUD for general aviation – the SKYDISPLAY HUD. Of course, they used Charlie’s Cirrus SR22 as the development platform, flying countless tests. Their HUD has now been approved by the FAA and can be installed in a number of Part 23 aircraft, including several turboprops and turbines. Recognizing the significance of their new product line, MYGOFLIGHT formed a new division named SKYDISPLAYHUD (www.skydisplayhud.com).
The team also decided to integrate a MaxVis Enhanced Vision System (EVS) with their HUD, further enhancing the utility. Imagine flying at night, in low visibility, and having an infrared image of the airport environment projected directly in front of you – along with the other critical information. Another great example of its usefulness is firefighting, allowing pilots to spot fires, follow the appropriate FPV, and see through the smoke – further enhancing flight safety. For aircraft with an existing MaxVis EVS (or installed at the time of the HUD), no additional approval is necessary.
MYGOFLIGHT expects FAA approval in January, with initial installations available on aircraft with Avidyne, Garmin G500/G600 (TXi) and Aspen avionics. The HUD sells for $29,500 and installation costs vary.
It is inspiring to explore aviation technology with such innovative individuals like the team at MYGOFLIGHT. Over the last 10 years they have proven the value of their products, and the passion they have for aviation is evident. Stay tuned for more product reviews in the future.