This has probably already been discussed, but does anyone have a good deal of experience with Skywatch relative to the cost? Is the $21,000 worth it? Position 318. Thanks
I think SkyWatch is worth the price. I fly out of the crowded San Francisco Bay Area and often head down to the even more crowded Los Angeles Basin. I find that SkyWatch set at 6 miles range helps me to focus my traffic scan and detect targets that I would otherwise miss. I was flying down the coast between SF and Monterey on a beautiful VFR day recently and in a 10 minute period the system pointed out three potential conflicts that I might have otherwise missed. I can’t say that SkyWatch has definitively saved the day yet - midair collisons being difficult to arrange - but it really helps my piece of mind.
I fly in northeast corridor between DC and Boston. I have also done several trips to Chicago and one to Dallas since I got my SR22 in December. I have had 3 near misses that could have turned out rather poorly under different circumstances (I could have been the first to pull the BRS handle!). All have been in or around uncontrolled fields. I have gotten into the habit of dropping my range down to 2 mile radius when I am approaching the field. I thought a lot about the $21K upgrade when it became available, but I have no regrets about now that I have almost 90 hours on my plane. I still am a strong believer in “see and avoid”, but it is sure nice to have another set of eyes that tend to be vigilant ALL of the time.
While this system still will not provide protection to a plane without a transponder, there are just not that many flying around here anymore…now if I had to depend on Mode-S, I doubt that it would have helped me to avoid the kind of near misses that I encountered.
The other three posts make excellent points. But mid air statistics would suggest that none of the mentioned anecdotal incidents would likely have resulted in a mid-air if not for Skywatch. I would like to have it, because I want everything, but have decided almost assuredly not to order it. For me it boils down to a combination of $21K AND 13 lbs. I believe the price will come down significantly as with all new technology or be replaced by different technology. For that money and weight I would rather have leather seats, 3-blade prop, Sandel, Avidyne, and Stormscope. I know, there is no safety advantage to leather seats or a 3-blade prop. Sometimes emotion and macho looks win the debate.
I’m an advocate of traffic awareness and ordered the Skywatch option. In Southern California as a low time VFR pilot, especially dealing with hazy weather and lots of traffic, I wanted help. After 50 hours flying with it, I have found lots to like and a couple of things to worry about, but my bottom line: my satisfaction justifies adding it to my SR22.
– many times, I’ve had traffic in sight before an ATC flight-following advisory
– more times, I’ve tracked unseen traffic before ATC advisories
– many times, I’ve tracked commercial traffic climbing or descending through my altitude (amazing how close they get at those speeds) when cleared through class B & C airspaces
– found traffic in haze and twilight by knowing where to look as they crossed my path
– twice avoided traffic overtaking me and descending from above, probably unseen by them
– twice maneuvered to avoid planes flying at or near my cruise altitude on opposite course not talking to ATC
– several times appreciated situational awareness when landing with traffic on intersecting runways
– alert logic works well enough, although it disrupts GPS1 even when I have GPS2 on traffic page
– my commentary reassures passengers when explaining traffic location and course
NICE TO HAVES:
– alert for a military jet flying straight at me head-on into sun (probably no transponder and ATC didn’t see it either)
– alert for Goodyear blimp landing at my airport (hard not to miss, but odd)
– traffic on MFD would be better than on GPS1 map or GPS2 traffic page
– better eyesight because I feel foolish not locating traffic that Skywatch and ATC can see but I can’t
– occasional disappearance of targets when they fly below my wing level (traffic no factor, but worrisome)
– congested display when entering busy traffic patterns can be disconcerting, although reducing range works and alert logic handles it well (hate to be a controller!)
– Skywatch flashed a data failure once in flight between LA and San Diego, and I got pretty anxious until it came back to life after power cycling
I still scan outside the plane, I fly with the HID light on, and I request flight following at every chance, but I enjoy flying more with the help from Skywatch.
I would have liked to have it. I used to have a ryan. I realy liked seing other trafic nort called out to me. At the time of delivery could not make the streach money wise. In afew months I could maybe get it. Can it be added later I think I will check on it and post it. Or I will get it on the next one.
I agree with everything you said except one point. With a desire to save weight, just curious to know why you opted for the 3 blade prop which weighs 18-21 pounds more and gives no performance advantage?