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Old 15-07-2012, 01:04   #241
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Re: Paper charts now unnessary

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Originally Posted by wolfenzee View Post
Unless the GPS failure is due to a general electrical failure.
Most of the back ups have their own power supply. In the even of a electrical failure I could jury rig up something that would supply 12v anyway.

Several of the backups are kept stored in a metal box down below in a metal boat that itself is a good faraday cage.

It is possible to think of scenarios where multiple back ups fail. This is true of all systems. In the event of a collision with an object for example I have a strong metal boat, if that fails I have a liferaft, if that fails my dingy is always ready to go. Failure of all these systems is very unlikely, but possible. Many boats sink too rapidly to deploy or get into the liferaft for example. These are risks we take sailing.
These and other disastrous possibilities seem more likely and much more serious than failure of my multiple electronic mapping system.
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Old 15-07-2012, 01:38   #242
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Originally Posted by noelex 77
These and other disastrous possibilities seem more likely and much more serious than failure of my multiple electronic mapping system.
Exactly. I asked a while ago just what the downside was on a complete loss of charting ability. I can imagine that such a loss in remote reef strewn waters could be a big hassle. But probably not a life threatening issue. Elsewhere, it cannot be too difficult to find the edge of a continent, no? Where one might ask a local fisherman?
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Old 15-07-2012, 04:12   #243
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Originally Posted by elliebell

Just out of curiosity...What if you run out of deisel and none is to be found? And your batteries are drained?
We carry up to 950 gallons in 3 tanks. So there is not enough to cross an ocean and a good reserve for anything else. We just arrived in Bonaire from Grenada, a 400 nm leg, the longest of our Caribbean loop and used 150 gallons.
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Old 15-07-2012, 04:56   #244
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Someone said no one else has ditched the paper charts....not so....I did on page 1 of the thread. However, prior to this thread, I never gave much thought to lightning. I will be taking some additional precautions since that is I believe the Achilles heel of the paperless concept.

But while it is possible to lose all the backups, it's not probable. There are all sorts of risks cruising and unless the budget is bottomless, each has to choose which to address.

Anyone here stand watch with a FLIR at night? We don't, but if we did, it might keep us from hitting something in the water we would not otherwise see. So does everyone need a FLIR?

What about extended cruising on a single engine trawler? I have twins, but I bet the guys with one have the best maintained engines on the planet. Along with every spare short of the engine block.

For the sailors out there, how many are cruising on running rigging older than 10 years? 15 years? I'm no expert, but have been told the metallurgy suggests replacement at some point even if it inspects well. Some do this, some don't.

Before this trip, I flew commercially as a pilot in a paperless cockpit. We ditched the paper. I suppose that has made it easier to adopt the same mindset cruising. Although I will admit I think a nautical captain is worse off than a pilot without charts.

Fair winds to all....
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Old 15-07-2012, 05:11   #245
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Re: Paper charts now unnessary

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Although I will admit I think a nautical captain is worse off than a pilot without charts.

Fair winds to all....
Sailboats (and many crusing powerboats) have virtually unlimited time/range to find their destination or somewhere else that is safe. Light planes are much more limited.
I have been unsure of my position(not the same as no charts, but similar) in a light plane and a boat and the former is far more terrifying.

I have not been flying ( as a pilot) for a few years, but it's interesting that comercial planes alow for a total reliance on electronic charts.
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Old 15-07-2012, 05:52   #246
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Originally Posted by noelex 77
Sailboats (and many crusing powerboats) have virtually unlimited time/range to find their destination or somewhere else that is safe. Light planes are much more limited.
I have been unsure of my position(not the same as no charts, but similar) in a light plane and a boat and the former is far more terrifying.

I have not been flying ( as a pilot) for a few years, but it's interesting that comercial planes alow for a total reliance on electronic charts.
I don't know if a privately operated aircraft is legal without paper charts. The answer at one time was no. Commercially we had to obtain specific approval from the FAA for our equipment and procedures.

The difference with flying is that even with the time disadvantage, you can almost always talk to ATC, and most of the time they can find you on radar. So navigational help is pretty easy to find. The only time we were non radar was flying an instrument or visual approach into a small rural, usually mountainous area airport below radar coverage. In that case, things were already set up, critical items on the scratch pad, enough to get us either on the ground or back up for plan B.
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Old 15-07-2012, 06:01   #247
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Re: Paper charts now unnessary

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I don't know if a privately operated aircraft is legal without paper charts. The answer at one time was no. Commercially we had to obtain specific approval from the FAA for our equipment and procedures.

The difference with flying is that even with the time disadvantage, you can almost always talk to ATC, and most of the time they can find you on radar. So navigational help is pretty easy to find. The only time we were non radar was flying an instrument or visual approach into a small rural, usually mountainous area airport below radar coverage. In that case, things were already set up, critical items on the scratch pad, enough to get us either on the ground or back up for plan B.
Thanks for the details.
One of the major concerns in this thread has been the threat of lightning strikes destroying all the electronics. Radios are the most vulnerable electronics to lightning strikes.
So there must be a risk a plane would loose its radio comunication as well as electronic maps, which IMHO would leave it much more vulnerable than a sailboat that lost all their maps.

Given the large numbers of passengers and heavy regulation this issue must have been considered at length by aviation authorities with the conclusion that with adequate back ups and protection the small risk of all electronic maps is acceptable.
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Old 15-07-2012, 06:15   #248
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Thanks for the details.
One of the major concerns in this thread has been the threat of lightning strikes destroying all the electronics. Radios are the most vulnerable electronics to lightning strikes.
So there must be a risk a plane would loose its radio comunication as well as electronic maps, which IMHO would leave it much more vulnerable than a sailboat that lost all their maps.

Given the large numbers of passengers and heavy regulation this issue must have been considered at length by aviation authorities with the conclusion that with adequate back ups and protection the small risk of all electronic maps is acceptable.
In general, there is only one backup for every critical system in commercial flying. 2 engines, 2 radios, an electrical pump and hand pump to extend the gear etc. You have to draw the line somewhere, or you would never get off the ground.

In 8 years, with a fleet that grew from 3 to 50 planes, we had 3 lightning strikes that I know about. Big enough to put holes in the airframe. In all cases, no one lost all navigational and communications components. But I'm sure most of those folks had a few cold ones that evening contemplating what might have been.....

I'm not an engineer, but I think aircraft are somehow more resilient than boats in regards to lightning. But they get hit more often. Maybe someone can explain why?
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Old 15-07-2012, 06:26   #249
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Re: Paper charts now unnessary

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In general, there is only one backup for every critical system in commercial flying. 2 engines, 2 radios, an electrical pump and hand pump to extend the gear etc. You have to draw the line somewhere, or you would never get off the ground.

In 8 years, with a fleet that grew from 3 to 50 planes, we had 3 lightning strikes that I know about. Big enough to put holes in the airframe. In all cases, no one lost all navigational and communications components. But I'm sure most of those folks had a few cold ones that evening contemplating what might have been.....

I'm not an engineer, but I think aircraft are somehow more resilient than boats in regards to lightning. But they get hit more often. Maybe someone can explain why?
They are generally all aluminium, just like my boat which forms a nice faraday cage.
The lack of conection to the ground is also different, but lightning can cause severe damage to airframe of a plane as you note so they are obviously vulnerable to some severe catastrophic damage in some circumstances.
The electronics is also better built and protected, but I cannot see the backup systems being significantly better than something turned off, with it's own power supply and store in its own faraday cage as my backups are. It also seems I have a lot more backups than a commercial plane .
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Old 15-07-2012, 08:54   #250
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Re: Paper charts now unnessary

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They are generally all aluminium, just like my boat which forms a nice faraday cage.
The lack of conection to the ground is also different, but lightning can cause severe damage to airframe of a plane as you note so they are obviously vulnerable to some severe catastrophic damage in some circumstances.
The electronics is also better built and protected, but I cannot see the backup systems being significantly better than something turned off, with it's own power supply and store in its own faraday cage as my backups are. It also seems I have a lot more backups than a commercial plane .
What, if I may ask, do you use for a Faraday cage? Is it a purpose-built item or just a simple aluminum or steel box? What do you think of the use of a microwave oven as noted above?

I'm also curious about the much more expensive chartplotters discussed earlier that some commercial vessels are apparently required to use. What makes them both so expensive and more resilient that it exempts vessels that have them from carrying paper charts?
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Old 15-07-2012, 09:28   #251
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Re: Paper charts now unnessary

Aluminium foil, then a ziplock bag, then a metal box, I try to store them away from shrouds etc that are more likely to be a conduction path. All in an aluminium boat. I have a couple of old laptops stored like this. The degree of protection depends on where I am sailing at the moment around some islands I know anyway the loss of charts would not present any difficulty.

I suspect a lot of the high cost of the approved equipment Is related to costs of insurance. Equipment used for leisure boats carries a lot of disclaimers " not to be used for navigation" I even saw a sticker on a VHF that said " not to used for saftey and distress calls". Once you leave out these disclaimers you better have a good insurance policy.
The other high cost is the approval process.

After that it's expensive hardware and software. The development cost needs to divided among a small number of users.
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Old 15-07-2012, 09:39   #252
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Re: Paper charts now unnecessary

I hope that one day soon that digital maps will replace paper charts. I would expect that it has happened for daytime sailing in most commonly sailed places already.

While I will admit to being reliant on technology, and I would worry about lightning strikes and losing power, I know that I wouldn't be good at keeping paper charts. A mixture of procrastination and ADHD like mind wondering, plus I look around my house at the unorganized mess that it is. How much space would maps from Michigan down the the Bahamas take up in a 30'-35' boat? How likely would it be that I would be able to find the right map and use it in a rain storm? How out of date would my paper charts be in 5 years? What if I change my mind and go someplace else that I don't have a paper chart for?


FYI, unnecessary is spelled like this.
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Old 15-07-2012, 09:56   #253
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Re: Paper charts now unnecessary

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I hope that one day soon that digital maps will replace paper charts. I would expect that it has happened for daytime sailing in most commonly sailed places already.

While I will admit to being reliant on technology, and I would worry about lightning strikes and losing power, I know that I wouldn't be good at keeping paper charts. A mixture of procrastination and ADHD like mind wondering, plus I look around my house at the unorganized mess that it is. How much space would maps from Michigan down the the Bahamas take up in a 30'-35' boat? How likely would it be that I would be able to find the right map and use it in a rain storm? How out of date would my paper charts be in 5 years? What if I change my mind and go someplace else that I don't have a paper chart for?


FYI, unnecessary is spelled like this.
Bahamas are covered in almost 3 or 4 chart kits , if you get caught in a rain storm you have your nav Station or chart table, if you change your mind and go somewhere else and you dont have the proper chart for the area you are a screwed, in other words turn the bow to your previous destination and for get it.
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Old 15-07-2012, 09:59   #254
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Re: Paper charts now unnessary

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I never understood the need for paper charts until my Atlantic crossing some months ago when the SA government would not allow me to leave Cape town without them.
On a daily basis we plotted our noon position on the paper chart just because we had little to do!
We ended up in a lightening storm which proceded to shut all electronic equipment down ... we could feel the static in the air and were totally surrounded by it. Quickly we placed back up systems in the microwave to protect it from being destroyed if we took a direct hit ...
I cannot tell you how it felt to loose all our systems ... luckily it was not for too long before they came back to life ...
That paper chart became the most precious thing I had and I cursed myself for not having placed our position on it more regularly together with notes of currents and winds.
It did not take long before I became lax about it again though ... although I will always have one with me on any crossing I do! I think the need for expensive detailed charts is no longer necessary, but in my opinion, one that you can place a regular position onto and will see you back to land is a must!
How did your backup systems that you stashed in the microwave do in that lightning storm? There seems to be debate about how well this works, but I don't think I've read a first-hand account where the primary systems failed (temporarily in your case, fortunately).
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Old 15-07-2012, 10:15   #255
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Re: Paper charts now unnessary

It is hard to come to conclusions about lightning from a small number of cases. A severe strike will blow a hole in the boat split the mast, vaporise the thru hulls or chain plates. When it's bad it can in a small number of cases be very bad, even in a grounded boat you are probably going to need the liferaft.
Most strikes are milder. We got hit a few years ago (I have had my turn, now it's yours )
All the electronic equipment that was outside or had components outside like the VHF was damaged, but nothing inside. including a laptop that was playing the movie Titanic at the time.
This is in an aluminium boat.
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