It is appalling what it costs to maintain the various databases associated with flying my own aircraft. I have a panel mount GNS 430W and a couple of handheld GPS's.The 430W not only needs the NAV DATA updated, it also has a terrain database that needs periodic up-dating.
I have avoided buying an electronic flight bag for exactly this reason. When you buy one of these systems, you are "married" to that format"...better, or worse.As more and more aircraft are equiped with "glass cockpits", the costs go higher and higher, not lower as economy of scale would suggest...what's going on with that?Jeppesen has the inside track on providing the actual databases in the various proprietary formats, but I would highly suspect (and this is just a guess) that there is a cozy little kick-back from Jeppesen to the manufacturer for each subscription/up-date.The FAA is a tacit supporter of this data cartel since one cannot legally shoot a GPS/RNAV approach using an out of date database EVEN IF THE SPECIFIC APPROACH HAS NOT CHANGED and matches a previous one in every respect. Don't get me started on why the costs for a single update or subscription are outrageous.Personally, I would love to see AOPA, or some other pro-aviation organization provide data-bases. Seems, just like single FBOs on a field, Jeppesson needs a competitor.
But could it wrest this "cash-cow" away from the manufacturer's/Jeppesen? I just updated my 2 year old Garmin Non WAAS 430 card this month for just under 0 and the only reason was that I was hoping to fly to Ohio this weekend (weather forecast too dicey so using SWA instead).My handheld 296, it's about 3 years old for the database, but half the time, I don't even turn the unit on in the plane.Since all the airports I fly to have ground based approaches, I will request those for formality sake and use the GPS as "situational awareness".Since 2G2 didn't have a ground based approach (only GPS) I had no choice but to update my card.My airport has the GPS Alpha and VOR Alpha approach. PDF Same exact approach on the very same approach plate, so for formality sake, I request the VOR alpha even though like you said, the approach has not changed from cycle to cycle and the GPS is the same exact approach. In a nutshell, I use my 430 and insure my Nav2 is setup for the ground based stuff so that I am setup to be fully "legal"......So, in essence, the capability to shoot that approach into 2G2 cost you 0! Actually, more and more people are doing what you do: avoid the GPS/RNAV approaches and just buy the paper to fly an approach via ILS/VOR/NDB.