AOPA FlyQ EFB is a powerful and elegant flight planning app. Whether you are just getting started with it or are looking for guidance on some of the more advanced features, we’ve put together these tips and tricks to help you get to really get to know FlyQ EFB. Just click on any of the sections below to expand the information.
Have questions or need more information? Email us as at FlyQHelp@aopa.org.
FlyQ EFB requires iOS 6 or later, meaning the iPad 2 or newer, including the iPad mini. It does not work on the original iPad 1.
New FlyQ EFB version 1.3 is our largest, most significant update ever! As it's Winter, this version was designed with IFR pilots in mind yet includes features that will make everyone smile!
New Safety Features
New IFR Features
Plus multiple bug fixes including several to the X-Plane support.
The buttons at the top of FlyQ EFB remain constant to give quick access to commonly-used functions at all times.
Some people prefer the simplicity of a single large view on the iPad. FlyQ EFB begins like this with a series of tabs at the bottom of the screen. The tabs show the major functional areas of the app: Airports, Weather, Plans, Maps, and Procedures. Tap any tab to see the type of info you want. Here you can view detailed info about an airport, a 2D or 3D map, an approach procedure or airport diagram, or detailed weather -- all in a large, easy-to-read view.
Other people prefer to see more at the same time so FlyQ EFB offers a simple Split Screen button. A tap to the button in the upper left corner of the screen switches from single screen to split screen and back again. In split screen view, you can see a map and airport info, a map and an approach procedure, two maps (perhaps different scales or one IFR and one VFR), and much more.
FlyQ EFB has an incredible mapping system that works in both 2D and 3D Synthetic Vision mode.
In addition to the map itself, there are three areas of the screen with tools or information: Map Bar, Status Window, and Gauge Bar. Each of these areas can be "flicked" off the screen or "pulled" back by grabbing the small tab above or below the area.
The Map Bar
In the upper left corner of every map is series of four buttons. These control key mapping features. From left to right, they are: Layers, GPS Lock, Track Up, and 3D
FlyQ EFB lets you mix and match any base map (Sectional, IFR Low, or IFR High) with with overlays you can choose. Simply select the base layer you want then tap as many or as few weather or other layers as you like. You can choose to see NexRad radar and satellite at the same time or see easy-to-read winds aloft arrows and METAR/TAF circles at the same time. Or look at Fuel Prices and Radar at the same time when trying to choose a safe, inexpensive place to get fuel. And how about flying with terrain and obstacle warnings over an IFR map? Other layers include geo-referenced IFR Approach Procedures, ADS-B Traffic, and extended runway centerlines with right-pattern indicators. You decide what you want to see overlaid on the map and FlyQ EFB will display it.
The Winds Aloft arrows point in the direction that the wind is going not in the direction it comes from. The number at the end is the expected winds aloft speed, in Kts, at your current GPS altitude. Thus, this number generally changes as you climb. Tap the large Weather tab at the bottom of the screen to see winds at other altitudes.
The METAR/TAF circles use three colors to depict the actual or expected weather conditions: green is VFR, yellow is MVFR, and red is IFR, LIFR, or VLIFR. The colors are determined by either METARs or TAFs, depending on the time. If the airport has a METAR report that is still valid (they last one hour), the color is based on a METAR. If you're outside the time range of METARs, FlyQ EFB automatically switches to using TAFs.
Tap the Brightness control at the top of the app to control the opacity of the Radar and Procedures layers.
Normally FlyQ EFB uses your GPS to keep the map centered on your current location. However, if you use your finger to pan (move) the map, tap this button to re-center on the GPS. If GPS Lock is already on (magenta), tap it again to zoom in. The only way to turn GPS Lock off is to move the map.
FlyQ EFB makes it easy to toggle between Track Up (magenta and the default) to North Up.
Note: Track Up is meaningless unless you're moving (that is, have a track) so this button has no effect if you're using the iPad at your desk. Also, when you turn Track Up on, the system engages the GPS Lock button.
2D / 3D
FlyQ EFB was designed from the ground-up to use one very powerful mapping system that works in either standard 2D or true 3D Synthetic Vision mode. There is no additional subscription required to get this feature and switching from 2D to 3D is as easy as tapping the button that looks like a 3-dimensional cube.
1. In 2D mode, FlyQ EFB automatically downloads data from the Internet so you don't have to pre-load data (of course, you should before you fly -- see the "Downloading Data" section below). However, for technical reasons, 3D synthetic vision requires data to be pre-downloaded. Thus, if you switch to 3D mode before downloading data, you'll see a warning that you need to use the Download Manager. If you don't have terrain data downloaded, all you'll see is a blue screen.
2. In 3D mode, you can't overlay all the same layers you can in 2D but we invite you to overlay Sectionals or IFR charts over the raw terrain for a much more realistic and useful display. Simply tap the Layers button and select Sectional, IFR Low, or IFR High rather than the default Terrain.
The upper right area of the screen shows critical data accuracy and aging information. Tip: Remember that you can flick this window on or off the screen. When flicked off, grab the "handle" to pull it back down.
iPads have been known to lose the GPS lock in flight. At a glance, this area gives you a quick indication of whether or not the GPS is engaged (or, as above, if the GPS simulator is on). Tap the blue arrow for additional detail in terms of horizontal and vertical accuracy.
Weather information is critical when flying but you need to know how old the weather data is to make decisions. This display immediately shows how old the METAR/TAF information is. Weather is downloaded from the Internet every 15 minutes and cached on the iPad for use during flight. Tap the blue arrow to see the age of the NexRad, the Satellite, etc.
FlyQ EFB provides in-flight weather updates when using one of our supported ADS-B receivers. As of this writing, that includes the Sagetech Clarity, Sagetech Clarity SV (adds an AHRS for true synthetic vision), the Dual XGPS 170, iLevil AW, and iLevil SW. When data is received from an ADS-B receiver, the phrase "ADS-B" is shown in the Wx area.
Perhaps the best way to learn about a product before you fly with it is to use the powerful built-in GPS simulator.
Load or create a flight plan then switch to the Map tab. Look at the Status Window at the upper right of the screen. The last item is the Simulator. Turn it on and watch the flight begin. Tap the blue arrow button on the right to see additional options such as a way to speed up the flight or jump immediately to any point in the flight by either time (the Position on Route slider) or by selecting a specific waypoint (the Jump to Waypoint button).
The bottom of the screen has a wealth of pilot-configurable gauges (speed, altitude MSL, altitude AGL, next waypoint, timers, etc.). FlyQ EFB has more gauges than can fit on the screen so press and hold a gauge to see a list of the other possible gauges that can go in that position. If you select a Timer or Stopwatch gauge, tap the gauge to set the timer. And remember that you can flick the gauge bar on or off the screen as you like.
Flying requires fast and easy access to data and FlyQ EFB has you covered.
We put particular emphasis on giving you important airport information quickly and clearly. As you can see, with just a simple tap all the key information you need to fly to an airport is shown concisely and clearly on one screen. You do not need to hit buttons or tabs to get to what you need.
The runways at the selected airport are automatically shown as extended lines on the map for easier recognition. If a runway has a right-pattern, an orange arrow will appear on the map to inform you. If you don't want to see extended runway, deselect the Runways item on the Map Layers pop-up.
Let's say you're flying and have an emergency or you simply like the security of always knowing what the nearby airports are. Easy. Just tap the Airports tab and FlyQ EFB instantly uses the GPS to show nearby airports. Normally these airports are sorted by distance but you can tap the Sort button to sort by weather conditions, longest runway, or even by which airports have fuel. This list is not static; rather, it updates automatically every 15 seconds so it's a great safety aid to keep this screen up all the time. And it's much more than a simple list of airport names. For each entry, you'll see current weather conditions, distance and bearing to the airport, the lowest fuel price, key operational info such as elevation, TPA, frequencies, and more. Of course, tap any entry for even more info.
You'll see a Direct To and a +FP button next to each airport. Tapping Direct To does just that; it modifies (or creates) a flight plan from your current position directly to that airport. If the airport is already in your flight plan, points before the selected airport are removed but later points are retained. If the airport was not on your flight plan, the entire flight plan is replaced with this new plan. +FP means "Add to Flight Plan" and lets you insert this airport anywhere within an existing flight plan.
Airports On Your Flight Plan
As you approach your landing, you may want to look up information on your destination. Tap the Plans tab, tap your landing airport in the NavLog and there it is.
Tip: Taping an airport here automatically shows the extended runway centerlines and right-pattern indicators on the map.
Any Airport, Navaid, or Fix
There is a large search field at the top of the screen. Enter any ident, airport name, or city and FlyQ EFB immediately shows you the matches.
Double-Tap the Map for Airports, Navaids, Fixes and TFRs
Humans are visual creatures and typing on an iPad, especially while flying, isn't always the easiest thing to do. Once again, FlyQ EFB has you covered with a simple system for getting info about airports, navaids, and fixes on the map: Double-tap the map and FlyQ EFB pops-up matches in the area you tapped. This list has tabs at the bottom. By default, the list just shows airports and navaids but you can also select the Fixes tab or even TFRs. By the way, some people have asked why double-tap not single-tap like some other apps. We did this intentionally because it's simply too easy to tap the screen accidentally, especially in rough weather.
Distance and Bearing to an Airport or Navaid
It's very common to need to know how far an airport or navaid is when calling the tower with a position report, managing fuel, and so on. Some other apps have a way of placing multiple fingers on the map or something else tricky. With FlyQ EFB, we kept it very simple: Double-tap anything on the map and the pop-up shows the distance and bearing from your current position to every object near the double-tap. Simple!
Only FlyQ has a patent-pending system for graphically showing you all the airspace layers you're in. In the example below, you're flying at 9,500 ft. and you can clearly see that you're well above the Class D and solidly within the Class E. Of course, tap the airspace graphic for more info including frequencies and other info that's especially handy for SUAs and MOAs.
To see this graphic, simply double-tap anywhere on the map.
Terrain and Obstacle Warnings
No one ever thinks they could possibly fly into the ground or hit a man-made obstacle yet every year pilots do just that. FlyQ EFB makes it easy to stay clear of terrain and man-made obstacles in both 2D and 3D mode: Simply tap the Layers button in the upper left corner of the map then turn the Hazards layer on.
Terrain and obstacles are color-coded the same way: Red means you're either below or within 100 ft. of the terrain or obstacle, yellow means you're within 1,000 ft. of it. Terrain that isn't a factor is left the color of the original map. Obstacles that are no factor are blue.
In addition, FlyQ adds a patent-pending system for detecting obstacles you're most likely to hit based on your altitude, speed, and course. When FlyQ detects such obstacles, you'll see a red pie-shaped cone in front of the plane (2D only) and a clear warning message in bright red urging avoidance.
FlyQ EFB was designed with IFR pilots in mind and it shows! The Procedures tab does far more than just show geo-referenced approach procedures. There are two ways to select a procedure:
Swipe between plates: Use a single finger to swipe left or right to select procedures/diagrams.
Night mode: Night Mode is a general function that applies to map as well as procedures/diagrams so it's on the top toolbar (the half white/half black circle). When Night Mode is on, black and white are reversed while other colors (such as terrain contours) are preserved.
Full Screen button: Tap to show the current procedure/airport diagram using most of the iPad screen. Use the Close button in the Full Screen view to return to the normal view.
List button: Rather than swipe between plates, tapping the List button shows a list of all the procedures/diagrams at the selected airport so you can immediately jump to any procedure or diagram. The List pop-up stays up until you tap off it so you can preview multiple procedures before you make your choice.
GPS Lock (Center) button: Similar to the GPS Lock button on the Map, engaging this moves the procedure or airport diagram around your position rather than move the aircraft icon around the procedure/diagram. Once selected, tap again to zoom-in. The button disengages when you manually move the procedure.
Track Up button: As with the Track Up button on the map, turning this on rotates the procedure or airport diagram as you fly such that what's ahead of you is always above you.
Search box: Enter an ident or airport name to select a different airport.
Map button: Procedures can be shown on a map as well as in the Procedures tab. Tap the Map button to show this procedure on the map and zoom to the center of the airport (not necessarily the procedure). Only available for IAPs. Once a procedure is selected, switching to another procedure automatically shows the new procedure on the map rather than the original procedure. Use the Layers button on the map to turn the Procedures layer off.
+FP button: You can add all the NavLog entries for a SID or STAR with a tap. Once added to the NavLog, tap -FP here to remove it. Only available for SIDs and STARs.
Email/Print button: It's good practice to keep a few printed procedures in the aircraft in case your iPad fails. Use the "Action" button to send the selected procedure to an AirPrint compatible printer (such as an HP wireless printer) or email it to you someone (such as yourself) to print on any other printer.
AOPA EFB FlyQ makes it very easy to create an ideal, wind-optimized flight plan any way you prefer. Plans can be created whether you're connected to the Internet or not but some advanced features are only available when online. Flight Plans created when you're online are automatically available from any device running a FlyQ application such as FlyQ Pocket for the iPhone, FlyQ Pocket for Android, or, FlyQ Web from your PC or Mac
Use the Search Box at the Top of the Screen
Enter a series of idents into the top Search field such as FDK MIA for a direct plan from Fredrick, MD to Miami, FL.
Tip: When you're online, use this same method to create a plan via Victor airways by adding adding the letter V to the end (e.g. FDK MIA V), via Jet airways by appending a J, via GPS-Direct that avoids terrain using G, or just by wind-optimizing by using the letter W.
Use the Map
Use the map to plan visually. Double-tap the map to visually add points. Press and hold to move an existing point or insert one between two existing points ("Rubber-banding").
Use the New Plan Window
Select the Plans tab then use the New Flight Plan area to enter as much or as little info as you like and have FlyQ EFB plan the flight for you. This method has the most options including selecting the routing method, VFR or IFR, whether or not to optimize for best winds, etc. Tap the More button for even more options such as selecting which aircraft to fly, min and max altitude ranges, takeoff fuel, and more.
ADS-B is an FAA acronym for Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast. The FAA created ADS-B to provide more accurate traffic information to ATC so they can manage the national airspace more efficiently (that is, land more airliners). Thus, all aircraft operating in areas with high traffic (e.g. the 30 NM Mode C veil around Class B airspace) must transmit their location to ATC before the year 2020. When planes do that, ground-stations respond by broadcasting all the traffic targets near that plane. Rudimentary weather is also transmitted to all aircraft near these ground stations regardless of whether or not a plane sends its location to the station.
Seattle Avionics and AOPA are committed to open standards so FlyQ EFB suppors a wide variety of different ADS-B receivers from several manufactures so if newer/better technology comes along, you're not locked into any single device. As of this writing, FlyQ EFB supports the Clarity and Clarity SV (with an AHRS for synthetic vision) from from Sagetech, the Dual XGS170, and the iLevil AW and iLevil SW from Levil Corporation. See our ADS-B Primer for more information about each receiver and for detailed explanations of how weather and traffic work, including the very significant limitations to traffic information.
All ADS-B receivers receive basic weather and traffic information from ground-based stations once you hit about 3,000 ft. AGL. There are two different radio frequencies used for ADS-B: 978 Mhz and 1090 Mhz. All ADS-B receivers receive weather and traffic data from nearby ground stations over 978. Some receivers, such as the Clarity units, also receive air-to-air traffic transmission over 1090 to give you a much fuller picture of traffic. Weather is not transmitted over 1090.
ADS-B Traffic Limitations
Although the FAA created ADS-B to help them with traffic management, the way FAA ground stations broadcast traffic is highly problematic and pilots must be aware of the very significant limitations. Specifically:
1. If your plane is not ADS-B out equipped (that is, has a transmitter as well as a portable receiver), you will only get 978 ground-based traffic if another plane nearby has an ADS-B transmitter. Moreover, the traffic you see is traffic near him, not you. "Near" is defined as a hockey-puck shaped region centered around the transmitting plane with a radius of 15 NM and height of +/- 3500 ft. Thus, there may well be traffic near you that you never see on the ADS-B feed.
2. If you see no traffic on your iPad, it means either there really is no traffic or there may be traffic but no one in the area that is ADS-B Out (transmitter) equipped. Worse, you cannot tell the difference!
3. A "dual channel" ADS-B receiver such as the Clarity units provides substantially better traffic information because it also receives traffic broadcast air-to-air from airliners passing overhead.
4. To get the best possible traffic information, equip your plane with ADS-B Out transmitter or a new 2020-compliant transponder in addition to the portable ADS-B receiver.
Traffic in AOPA FlyQ EFB
Subject to the limitations noted above, FlyQ EFB shows traffic sent by ADS-B receivers using many features to help keep you safe:
Relative Altitude and Climbing or Descending: In addition to icons, a text box above the icon tells you the altitude of the target relative to you. A + means the target is above you; a - means it's below you. The number shown is the altitude differential in hundreds of feet. Thus, a target marked as +30 is 3,000 ft above you. After the number, there may be an arrow at the top or the bottom of the text box. This indicates if the target is climbing (up arrow) or descending (down arrow).
Two Minute Line: For targets that are moving, FlyQ shows a line that indicates where the target will be in two minutes at its current speed and direction. Thus, longer lines indicate faster aircraft.
Threat-level color coding: Similar to many other places in the app, FlyQ uses three colors to indicate threat-level: A white target with a light gray background is generally no factor. A white plane with an orange background is within 5 NM and +/- 3000 ft. of you so should be considered a potential threat. A white plane with a red background and a red text box means imminent danger with a threat within 1 NM and +/- 1,000 ft. Note: Due to the way ADS-B works, you may see a shadow of your plane as a red-level threat.
15 NM Ring: To help you judge distance, turning on the Traffic layer also turns on a 15 NM ring centered around your position.
Traffic Filter: In high-traffic areas, you may see so many targets, often very far above you, that it's difficult to visually pick-out the ones you really care about. Thus, we provided a filter system that removes any traffic that is no-factor. This is defined the same way the FAA determines nearby traffic: When On, FlyQ only shows traffic within a 15 NM radius of your position, +/- 3,500 ft. You can toggle this filter on and off by tapping the gray text box on the 15 NM ring that says "15 NM, Traffic Filter: On/Off."
Weather is crucial to flying and FlyQ EFB has a wealth of weather information that make flying easier and safer.
ADS-B or Internet
While on the ground, FlyQ uses weather downloaded from the Internet and stores this on the iPad for use while flying. For weather updates while flying, simply add one of several supported ADS-B receivers. If you'd like to learn more about ADS-B receivers, please download our ADS-B Primer.
Weather can be accessed in a number of ways:
On the Map
FlyQ EFB can display any combination of NexRad, Satellite, METAR/TAF, AIRMETs/SIGMETs, and Winds Aloft over any 2D map. Tap the Layers button then select as many or as few weather layers as you like.
When the METAR/TAF layer is on, single-tap over a METAR/TAF circle and FlyQ pop-ups a quick box with the nearest METAR and TAF information. That box has a More button that you can tap for additional weather information.
Similarly, when the AIRMET/SIGMET layer is on, make a single-tap on an AIRMET or SIGMET as see detailed information about any AIRMET or SIGMET at that point. Notice that the graph shows which AIRMETs and SIGMETs are relevant at your current altitude.
For an Airport
When an airport is selected, switch from the default General subtab to the Weather subtab. If you're connected to the Internet, you'll see animated local, regional, and national radar images around the airport. You'll also see the METAR and TAF from the nearest airport (not necessarily that airport if it doesn't have these weather reports), a Winds Aloft table, and even a DUAT briefing. The top even shows the current temperature and, with a tap, an easy-to-read 7 day forecast.
Tip: Tap the METAR or TAF to see it much larger. This is especially handy in-flight or for those of us who aren't 25 anymore.
Weather Around Your Current Position
Tap the large Weather tab at the bottom of the screen to see essentially the same information as described above for your current GPS location.
Graphical Wind Optimizer
Tap the large Weather tab at the bottom of the screen then select the Winds subtab. This is a very cool (and patent-pending!) feature. At a glance it answers the age-old in-flight question of whether to fly higher or lower. The Graphical Wind Optimizer shows what the winds are like relative to your current track (the aircraft image with the wind arrow through it) and what kind of headwind or tailwind to expect, given your current course, at different altitudes.
In the graph below, the various headwind (red) and tailwind (green) components in knots are show for every altitude from 0 to 16,000 ft (altitudes in the table have the 000's place removed for brevity). Thus, flying at 16 (16,000 ft) would provide a 16 kts tailwind while flying at 6,000 ft is expected to produce a 3 kts headwind.
Similarly, the representation of an aircraft with an arrow means a 6 kts wind that is almost a perfect tailwind at the current altitude. The current altitude is shown both on the gauge below the map (11,000) and as the light gray bar on the graph.
FlyQ EFB gives quick and easy access to hundreds of US and Canadian weather graphics. Tap the main Weather tab then choose the Gallery tab.
Taking notes has never been so easy! Use the Scratchpad tab to quickly copy ATIS, clearances, and any other notes you like. This works great with just a finger; no need to use a stylus. Eight scratch pages are available (buttons on the right of the window) and they aren't tied to any particular flight plan so you can use some for current flight notes, some for general notes, etc.
Downloading data is not the most exciting part of flying but FlyQ makes it painless.
Only FlyQ EFB has a patent-pending feature that checks your iPad before flight to ensure that you're ready to fly. This feature is activated from the icon that looks like a plane taking off on the top bar of the app. The Preflight Checklist confirms that you have the VFR and (if applicable) IFR data for the states that your flight plan covers. If you don't have a flight plan loaded, the feature uses the GPS to confirm data for your current location. In addition to data, the Preflight Checklist also checks the status of your GPS, shows you the age of the weather, and more.
FlyQ makes downloading monthly data as fast and easy as possible, too. Simply spin and zoom a 3D globe to visually select the states you're interested in and FlyQ does the rest. FlyQ downloads incredibly fast because it downloads just the new information each month, not all data. As most aviation data remains the same every month, this feature alone can save you hours (the first download takes longer because FlyQ will download terrain data).
Read the FlyQ EFB FAQ.
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