Airplane use


I did a search and I didn't find my answer, so I am asking.

If the airline allows the gps to be on, has anyone ever tried it? What does it show? Does it show the 'car' moving VERY fast across the map, so fast that you can't even tell where you are on land? How fast did the speedometer go?

See also

Charley - Nuvi 350 - Bel STI Driver - Cobra 29 w/ wilson 1000 - AIM: asianfire -
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Signal in Window seat only

On a recent flight I also was only able to get a signal on my c530 by holding it right up against the window. As mentioned, if you program in a destination the unit constantly recalculates because you are not flying right over a highway.

Garmin Nuvi 750 & c530 with RT's vol. mod., Vulcan Nomad

SirF chipset GPSes seem to

SirF chipset GPSes seem to do alot better in the tube of an aircraft.... ie, the 5xx series (I think, someone correct me if not).... I used to fly with my GPS III+ and my GPS III Air, both in back, and at the controls on the dash, and they were ok in the cockpit, but mediocre in the passenger section. But with my c550 Streetpilot, I can actually put the thing in my lap or on the folding table, after holding it in the window for intitial lock, and it will stay locked fine. Pretty amazing...


Paul, in Flagstaff AZ; Garmin Nuvi 255W, Kenwood (Garmin) 512, Garmin c550/traffic, c330, i3, V, III-Pilot, III+, many military models various mfgrs

It works great

I've used my Garmin Legend several times on planes and it's very cool to watch where you are in flight. My max speeds are usually around 580.

By the way, to get sufficient satellite signals you usually have to hold the GPS unit right against a window.

I attempted to use my eMap

I attempted to use my eMap on a flight once, pre 9/11. I was in a window seat, but I had to hold it up to get a signal. The GPS was showing a speed of 500+ MPH, but then the flight attendant saw it and said I had to turn if off because it would interfere with planes navigational system. I immediately complied, but I would not want to fly in a plane that an eMap could interfere with.

Garmin nuvi 265WT - Garmin c330 (RIP)- Garmin eMap - Valentine 1 - Beltronics Vector 995 - Kenwood TM-V7A - Icom 706 - Outbacker Perth Plus

If you want to set your

If you want to set your destination with the nuvi and watch your progress (calculate arrival time, watch the miles/km count up and down etc.) just be sure to set navigation presference for "off road". You can then watch your flight path against a direct line run to the destination (no recalculating).

Mark E

Another thought and update

mkahn wrote:

I agree with your reason for buying the c530. In many cases i.e in the cities, people report problems with the c3xx that we don't have with the c530. However, note asianfire's comments above about receiving the signal on one airplane and not on another. He has the c530 also.

Ok, Here is what I think happened. As it was said, and sorry for not remembering who said it, I did program a route in the first airplane, so perhaps that is what cause it to not work on the second plane. When I fly out on Thursday, i am going to not do that and see if it works on both. I will be flying the exact same type of planes on the way back as to here.

from other reports, I truely believe that the c5xx has better reception then the c3xx, but I just confused the heck out of mine. I mean, if I had to recalculate 10times a minutes, I would get confused too.

I went to my client's location today and I decided to take the GPSr way vs the frontdesk/mapquest way. I got there in 35 minutes. I came back to the hotel via a different route (I was following my client) and I got back in 32 minutes. My GPSr did well in my opinion. And I didn't have to think, just follow.

I did talk to my client and he has a nuvi series and he said that he totally depends on GPS and if he doesn't have it, he gets lost a lot easier then I am sure that I will be that way too in a month or so. Already feeling that way.

Charley - Nuvi 350 - Bel STI Driver - Cobra 29 w/ wilson 1000 - AIM: asianfire -

Well, don't even ask how the

Well, don't even ask how the flight was, US Airways did a "recalculate" several times for my trip. Therefore, I didn't fly the same type of planes as before. It worked on the first plane this time, but not on the second one (just like before). I didn't do a route, so it wasn't confused. However, the second plane was a big plane and might not have worked because of the plane and I wasn't on a window seat.

Charley - Nuvi 350 - Bel STI Driver - Cobra 29 w/ wilson 1000 - AIM: asianfire -

Airplane Use

We're flying from DFW to LAX next July and then back to DFW fron LAS. I can't wait to try out my c330 on both legs of the trip. I want that high max speed!
Also, I wonder if using an external antenna next to the window would help reception?

Not doing anything worth a darn.

My max speed was 544

My max speed was 544

Charley - Nuvi 350 - Bel STI Driver - Cobra 29 w/ wilson 1000 - AIM: asianfire -

worked with my nuvi 660 from Dallas, TX to Newport Beach, CA

I recently took a trip to see my family. I flew American from Dallas, TX to Newport Beach, CA. My garmin nuvi 660 worked like a charm during flight! It would only work in "bus" mode, and would only acquire the satellites when I held it up to the window. The little truck icon moved swiftly across the continent all the while giving turn-by-turn directions from my house in TX to my house in CA (with intermittent 'recalculating' messages). The MAX speed reported was 514 mph!

I love my nuvi 660!!!
I use it daily--from avoiding traffic on my way to/from work to picking a restaurant and dialing the number through bluetooth to make reservations.

Now that I joined this site, I'm looking forward to using my nuvi to avoid red light cameras and to find new places to explore in Dallas.

--------------- Garmin nuvi 660


so much reading, i don't know if anyone has mentioned this yet. I don't even know if this is a problem, but i would think that if you're zoomed int too much, your gps might crash or freeze. as the plane is moving it has to update the area you are in, because it's moving so fast i dont think the gps has enough time to update the maps. what do you think?

I don't think that it would

I don't think that it would crash or freeze but it would definitely have a hard time keeping up with updating the screen. You definitely want to be adequately zoomed out.

i currently don't have my

i currently don't have my nuvi next to me, but i was wondering if anyone knew the difference between "airplane and off road" mode. I haven't had the chance to try this yet.

Airplane Use

I've flew United from NY. Tried my 680 on a 757 and nothing happen. Kept looking for satellite and assumed I was indoors.

-------------- NUVI 680.

NUVI 340

My wife and I went to Las Vegas from Omaha NE and clock a top rate speed of 587 mph. It was sure fun watching this in flight. It even showed and named the lakes we went over as well as state lines.


Window seat

I pulled a signal with my c530 but only in a window seat. Don't program in a destination because the unit will constantly recalculate.

Garmin Nuvi 750 & c530 with RT's vol. mod., Vulcan Nomad

And make

And make that on the south side of the plane for best results.

Garmin Nuvi 350

JetBlue has built in GPS in

JetBlue has built in GPS in every seat. It was sorta neat watching that too. I am going to fly jetblue at the end of May and I will be interested the difference between their GPSr and my own.

Charley - Nuvi 350 - Bel STI Driver - Cobra 29 w/ wilson 1000 - AIM: asianfire -


Try setting your GPS mode to WAAS when on an airline.

Have to try

Ok now I have to try this myself. I'll be flying down south in the 2 weeks. Here's hoping they will let me use the gps.


Good Luck!!!!

I have used my Garmin i5

I have used my Garmin i5 numerous times on Delta. Set to navigate only (no destination) so that it does not update the routing and on medium zoom, it does well. I zoom in during taxiing and can see in detail which runway is in use. Pretty neat to see what I am flying over.

I got 720mph while flying

I got 720mph while flying the plane with my Nuvi660.

Max Speed @ 533mph

This past week, I flew on USAir to Charlotte, NC.
I was sitting at the window seat and my Nuvi 350 registered max speed of 533mph.
See some of screenshots at

I set a destination to "Home" and Nuvi was keep recalculating......

GPS and American Airlines

I was traveling on American this week and I asked the flight attendant about using GPS. She wasn't sure, but on checking with the Pilot, the answer was no. Also, in their listing of electronic devices not allowed in flight, they list GPS.

Garmin StreetPilot c530, Mapsource

My standard action

Turn on the GPSr and if asked to shut it down, I will.

Charley - Nuvi 350 - Bel STI Driver - Cobra 29 w/ wilson 1000 - AIM: asianfire -

Use of electronics...

On board of USAir, pilot was asking not to use cellphones but others were ok to be used.

Will try it in the caribbean

In the end of June I will be flying from Curacao to Mia and then to LAX.
I'll test my Nuvi 350.

GPS and Southwest Airlines

The airline magazine in the seat pocket usually contains a list of what is and is not allowed re electronic devices. Southwest Airlines lists GPS as an electronic device that is "never allowed."

Thanks a lot!!

Wow Motorcycle Mama -

thanks for that link - so much information there. I'm an Electrical Engineer and I thought I was somewhat of an expert on the topic - I learned a lot by reading all those linked articles.

isn't that dangerous?

jascp1962 wrote:

I have used my Garmin i5 numerous times on Delta. Set to navigate only (no destination) so that it does not update the routing and on medium zoom, it does well. I zoom in during taxiing and can see in detail which runway is in use. Pretty neat to see what I am flying over.

Using electronic device while taking off and landing, isn't that dangerous and illegal?

GPS on an airplane

I have tried it a few times (US Airways) and have gotten speeds between 480 to 660 MPH, depending on the aircraft. My Pocket PC seems to have difficulty getting a fix, as I can only get one while touching the window, with only 3 or 4 satellites showing as visible. Tomtom Navigator has a hard time keeping up, since it tries to 'snap' to the roads below, but there are other more interesting applications out there, some oriented towards aviation, such as GPS Dashboard, that display the various parameters as "gauges", and others where you can use a topographical chart or satellite image as your background map. If anyone else uses a Pocket PC and is interested, I can provide you links to some resources.

GPS on Flights

We flew from California to New Orleans with a couple of stops in between, We sat by the window an had a tough time getting a signal, but once we aquired the signal the Garmin 660 showed max speed of 526 MPH, and the vehicle was seen going cross country, when we zoomed in it would give names of streets and highways, as well as rivers and citys. Another person on the flight had a remote antenna that he pasted to the window and his GPS recieved a signal a lot quicker and stayed lock when when we lost our signal.

GPS on a Plane

I recently began taking flying lessons and my first instructor was a bit of a ditz and didn't know where we were. One flight we had to descend until we could read the town's name off a water tower.
The next flight, I tucked my 360 in my pocket and when she couldn't figure out where we were, I turned it on. Voila, our location was confirmed and I saved some time (and money!) by not breaking into costly lesson time to find out where we were. I didn't need to check speed, as we were flying a Cessna 172 and they max out at about 140 mph. Location was everything!
Needless to say, I switched instructors, and schools, and the new one has about 1/2 the planes equipped with older versions of aircraft GPS's which can give you a heading along with distance to a point. Handy for finding your way there or back, but since my flights so far have been only 30 miles or so from the airport to the practice area, we can usually see our destination the whole way.
The newer aviation GPS units can actually save you money. The air regs require that you carry current charts for airways and airports with you, and they can cost hundreds of dollars and last only 90 days. The GPS can download the most current version and you never need to buy them again.

Nuvi 360 & StreetPilot i3 - Networking, Mac & PC Consultant - (Macs for fun, PCs to make me money!) -

GPS on a Plane

GPS on a plane can be fun, but remember the time it gives to the destination is based on the cruise speed. You are not going to go 500mph to the gate so add 15-20 minutes to what the time says.

I believe the inflight moving map displays account for descent, slowing to land, but still in a straight line, if ATC requires turns all bets are off.

I've had an etrex legend for years and I've found it works best if you are on the south side of the airplane next to a window with it against the window, facing out.

I just bought garmin 60cx and I can get a lock without holding it next to the window. I can also get a lock sitting in my basement, just in case I feel lost. smile I bought the external antennae and put that against the window, then I get 3-4m resolution.

I also heard that American made GPSs limit the displayed speed to something like Mach 2 and 60,000ft for military concerns.

cheers, Mark in Montreal

GPS on an airplane

My wife and I are going to be touring around California so I thought what the heck I'd pick up a GPS to help out, I never thought of using on the flight out. I couldn't wait just for the vacation, now I'm can't wait to get on the plane with my nuvi 660. I'll let you know how it goes.

08/22/07 Update
In California, I love the 660, I could not imagine trying to get around San Fran without it. All the Redlight cams are kind of bothersome, going off at every other light. I have noticed a couple turn left heres that couldn't be done (even the new mapupdate is off)I know the new update is still a couple years old, but I wouldn't trade it in for anything.

Sitting in middle seat, couldn't get enough sats, will have to bump wife to middle seat on the way home.

Lifetime NRA & USPSA member

Alaska Airlines

Just flew from LAX to YVR on Alaska Airlines. I sat on an aisle seat and my 670 worked fine until the flight attendant politely asked me to turn it off. Leaving for China tomorrow and will catch up when I return to Los Angeles in three weeks

nüvi 660 & 670 - Hello I'm a Mac :))

Geeky = Nerdy?

cltmte wrote:

I was also lucky enough to have a window seat. I am sure the people in my neighboring seats thought I was a true geek.

I read this thread only recently, and the term "geek" made me remember a video. If it's not too off-topic, I hereby submit the following link for your enjoyment:


Skip nuvi 660

Cars, Planes, Ships

Great idea. I will have to try my 660 on my next flight.

I wonder what shows up on a cruise ship in the Caribbean or the Mexican Riviera.

Jim Garmin nuvi 660

Airplane Use

I used it once going to Arizona and the Speed showed 400 Miles per hr.


band_photog wrote:
cltmte wrote:

I was also lucky enough to have a window seat. I am sure the people in my neighboring seats thought I was a true geek.

I read this thread only recently, and the term "geek" made me remember a video. If it's not too off-topic, I hereby submit the following link for your enjoyment:


This video had me cracking up. Miss Poi is the female version of this song.

Miss Poi

No Service in Plane

Flew from Atlanta to Fort Lau-dee-daa, couldn't aquire enough sat's. I don't know my planes, this one was with AirTran, 3 seats on each side, and I had an eisle seat. The kid next to me went to the restroom, so I leaned my arm over (closer to the window) and I got as many as 6 sat's to bounce in-an-out. I didn't want to seem like a "weirdo" and/or freak any passengers out cuz I'm using an electronic device. Also, both stewardess's individually saw me hold my NÜVI 650 up about head level and simply asked "what is that?". I told them it was a GPS, and received a "cool" in reply

Nüvi 650 -- IF is a big word....right in the middle of LIFE

Window or Isle

I had good luck with my Nuvi 680 getting a signal even in the isle seat to my surprise. I even get most of the satellites too. It also seems to keep up well too. This is one area I think the Nuvi 680 really shines as I've gotten really good locks with it in places where other people have had trouble.

I don't ask to use it. I just wait for the 10,000 feet bell to ring and take it out. If I'm in a window seat, I use the suction cup on the window to hold it. The flight attendants say "that's a change most people ask me where we are" if they even notice.

Elevation on airplane

I've compared the elevation given on the Nuvi 680 with the elevation quoted by the pilot at times and it seems to be slightly higher than the pilot says we are cruising at or the Internet shows for actual history of my flight. Has any one else seen this?

Airplane GPS didnt work

My 360 couldn't get any sattellite signals while sitting next to the window on a recent trip to Hawaii from California and back. 767, 757 airplanes, I used pedestrian mode and car/moto, WAAS on or off, moved around airplane, No luck. I wanted to see if it would help me in my United's Halfway to Hawaii inflight game. Couldnt get a lock despite leaving it on for a while. Any suggestions?

Nuvi 360

Last April

I got an aisle seat, on a Delta flight between Victoria BC, and Salt Lake City, Delta's hub. The C550 performed flawlessly showing us Mt. Rainier to the port side of the aircraft, and measured maximum groundspeed of 535 mph. On the connecting flight to Orlando, I made the mistake of asking a flight attendant if she could ask the Captain for permission to use it at cruise, and she refused to ask him, and also refused permission. Still, it was great knowing exactly where we were at all times on the way to Salt Lake. No problem whatsoever locking on to satellites on board.

Good point above about having a Destination already in the unit...too much recalculating. To get accurate distance, I just brought up Favourites, and the mileage to each is listed there; much easier.

Flying Westjet to Toronto soon, and will ask again. If not, will tell the flight attendant that it's my MP3 player...which it is.

Garmin c550

How to stop recalculating

Solar Max wrote:

Good point above about having a Destination already in the unit...too much recalculating. To get accurate distance, I just brought up Favourites, and the mileage to each is listed there; much easier.

When flying, I do put in a destination into my Nuvi 660. And I DON'T have constant recalculations. When you get on the plane, change the type of routing from "faster time" or "shorter distance" to (I forget what it's called exactly) "Off Road." This will provide you a heading and range to your destination (I pick the destination airport) or any other POI you might want to know where you are in relation to.


Does it actually harm anything?

I'm actually kind of curious why an airplane would not want you to operate a GPS. As far as I know, they are non-broadcasting, non-interfering receivers, so they should not have *any* effect on the airplane's equipment, nor the signals it is trying to receive.

The only reason I can think of them doing this is:

a) It's an electronic device that have other functions that could give off signal, and they don't want to have to deal with the hassles of telling you also turn off that FM transmitter that yells voice directions on 88.1.

b) They think you'll freak out if you see the plane is not quite going in the right direction you think it should and believe the plane is being hijacked.

Is that pretty much it?

very cool

Took an airplane ride from dfw to harrisburg pa, via o'hare and dulles.
Long story, but flying toward a tornado (chicago) will do that. As will the ultimate cancellation of connecting flights and force one to reroute from the original plan which could result in one trying to sleep in terminal C at Dulles IAP. Not too bad, arriving only 16 hours later than expected, and luggage stuck in Chicago.

While waiting to take off from DFW, the pilot hung around the boarding area and kept us informed of the weather in Chicago. I asked him if usage of a portable gps Receiver would be allowed once we were up. He said, "no problem, it doesn't do anything to my controls. If anything, the problem would be on the ground with ground controls/instrumentation. Once we're crusing, have fun." Then as I was walking away, he made a comment "you just want to make sure I know where I'm going!" I said, you got it.
He was a very cool guy. That was a United flight.

I wouldn't have had that conversation, but had to get another flight since our original flight from dfw to dulles was canx due to mechanical problems.

I couldn't get a good signal from dfw to o'hare, not sure if it was the weather or the isle seat. Then from O'hare to Dulles, we were delayed on the ground after boarding, for an hour + and electronics were "allowed" while we were waiting to take off, I got a good signal then shut down when told to turn electronics off. At altitude and electronics were again allowed, I turned the gpsr on and had a good time following our route around the storm and into DC, max speed was 594. I guess we had a good tailwind from the tornado!
On the return from Harrisburg to DFW (on American, I know, gpsr is not an approved electronic device, but felt there's not really a problem after talking to that United pilot).
I turned my receiver on, got a good signal, went to the mp3 player when flight attendant was around. Lost the signal once when we took about a hard right turn, and within seconds had the signal again, but the speed went crazy.. 6, 7, 8, 978 mph, then settled back down to the mid 500's. I didn't reset the max speed....I should have had a headset attached... because a different flight attendant came by and asked that I turn it off. I could have turned gps-off and just used the mp3 player, and argued ...but I had what I wanted so I put it away. I'll have the headset connected next time.

All in all, very cool following our flight. From zooming all the way in, watching the streets buzz by to zooming out to 300mi. To watching the odometer click off tenths and whole miles very quickly. To seeing the speedometer pegged in the red.

Once I had a signal it stayed locked on pretty well except for that hard right turn. Had it on the tray and had a good signal as well, but did lose some signal the more I moved the unit away from the window.

........Garmin StreetPilot c550 / Nüvi 765...........

GPS on an airplane

Bumping wife to middle sit worked like a charm, of course then I was sitting over the damn wing and couldn't see the ground as well as I would've liked, but was still cool.

Lifetime NRA & USPSA member
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