Features - continued
The GPSMap 396 does not come with a subscription to XM WX Satellite Weather services, whether as a trial or a lifetime subscription. If you consider purchasing the product, it is strongly recommended to purchase a subscription to these services because the GPSMap 396 can display the weather data as an additional layer on the maps without confusing it with your existing route. The weather information includes Aviation Routine Weather Reports (METARs), Temporary Flight Restrictions (TFRs), Next Generation Radar (NEXRAD), and lightning and thunder information ahead. If you want to extend your subscription further (at an additional price), you can also have XM Satellite Radio. If you want to display the traffic information used by traffic controllers, you will need the additional Garmin S transponder (GTX 330) to see the TIS data.
As it is one of the primary functions of navigation, you should keep logs of your route. Garmin has its own software, called FlightBook, which you can download and then install on your GPSMap 396. FlightBook records flying hours, arrival and departure conditions, distance, maximum time and maximum altitude. It also lets you create, save, manage and analyze all of this flight data. But there is a serious shortcoming here: even if you have the S transponder, you will not be able to record the weather conditions. Neither does the unit let you take live snapshots from the device, say with a combination of key presses. Personally, I find this a very big negative, because weather conditions are very important in analyzing your navigation.
There is one more criticism here: the GPSMap 396 displays only one final approach path. Of course, there is a reason for this: the product is compliant with VFR only, not IFR. So, the basic idea is to make pilots rely on visual conditions, not instrument conditions. However, every navigator knows he has to take everything into account during navigation, from his own eyes to the instruments, and then he has to analyze this information and make decisions based on it. In marine terms, this is called “good seamanship" and it is the basis of everything. There is no need to cripple the product. Garmin could have included this feature with a warning to pilots.