BIG 5 GPS METER
Joe Hass reviewed the Hobbico Pro Series Big 5
GPS Meter Logger. Here is what he had to say:
How fast? How high? How far? How long? Where? Every
pilot wants to know these flight characteristics about his or
her latest creation. Now you can easily
find out with the Big 5 GPS Meter from
This 2. 6 x 1. 6 x .85-inch dynamo
weighs only 1. 5 ounces and is easily
mounted with double-sided tape, hook-and-loop fastener, or by simply wedging
it into a secure area of the airframe. It
provides a detailed report about each
flight on the LCD screen, but what it does
when connected to a computer for a data
download is really neat.
The 200 mAh internal LiPo battery is
charged through a mini USB port with
the included cable. The battery indicator
flashes while charging. This battery will
supply approximately 150 minutes of
operation—plenty of time for many
You can also connect the Big 5 to your
receiver battery with a male-to-male servo
extension. Out of the box, the unit is set
for metric measurements. The instructions
include a GPS Logger (www.hobbico.
com/gpslogger) for changing a variety of
parameters on the Big 5 and to download
and share flight data.
Turn on the Big 5 by pressing the power
button on one end of the unit. Initial satellite acquisition and
determining your location can take 3 to 5 minutes. Thereafter,
satellite acquisition takes roughly 30 seconds when outside.
The GPS signal can pass through glass and plastic but not
metal or other conductive surfaces. Inside a building, there
might not be enough GPS signal strength for any operation.
GPS initialization is noted by a flashing satellite image on the
upper left side of the screen. When complete, Coordinated
Universal Time (or Zulu time) will appear.
Before heading to the field, I pondered how to check
the speed accuracy. I powered up my Garmin car GPS and
positioned the Big 5, the Garmin, and the vehicle speedometer
within viewing range. The Big 5 tracked both the car and
Garmin speed from standstill to the legal speed limit.
To begin recording data, simply press and hold the Enter
button on the top of the unit until the Record message
appears on the display. Pushing the Enter button twice stops
the recording with a Stop message on the screen.
To access the various measurements requires a push of the
Mode button. You will sequence through Current Speed,
Peak Speed, Average Speed, Current Altitude, Peak Altitude,
Distance Traveled (Trip), and Latitude and Longitude.
Now it was time to mount the Big 5 in an airplane. I
assembled my jet-like pusher Keecat, placing the Big 5 in front
of the Tactic receiver with a hook-and-loop fastener. With
the help of noted electric flier Ken Myers, I had previously
calculated that the peak speed would be 87 mph.
A push of the Enter button started recording the flight. I
performed my usual maneuvers and couldn’t wait to access
the data. Peak speed indicated 88 mph. Subtracting the field
elevation from the peak altitude gave me my altitude above
ground level—380 feet.
When I returned home, I downloaded the data. Was I
surprised! Every flight was recorded by a number and color-coded display. I had my flight statistics in an easy-to-read
format, but even better than the numbers were the color-coded flight tracks.
This pictorial was superimposed on Google Earth. Moving
the cursor around the route gave me sample data from
throughout the flight.
Sharing the data with others requires that the receiving
computer have the GPS Logger program running. Simply send
I have placed the Big 5 in a variety of aircraft with equally
impressive results. No plumbing or calibrating is necessary. I
carry it whenever I go to the field to check the performance of
The must-have Big 5 GPS Meter is available for $89.98 and
is an easy-to-use accessory. Give it a try.
Hobbico: 3002 N. Apollo Dr., Suite #1; Champaign IL 61822;
Tel.: (800) 637-6050; website: www.towerhobbies.com
17 Model Aviation DECEMBER 2015