August 9, 2013
By AOPA ePublishing staff
Aviation app designers know what pilots want: more information, from integrated sources, with multiple display alternatives, presented in a package that reduces the pilot’s workload during challenging phases of flight.
Mobile aviation technology company Hilton Software’s latest approach to improving pilots’ resources for making decisions is the newly released iPad flight planning app WingX Pro 7 Version 7.0. It enhances IFR situational awareness by combining real-time and predictive weather data with route lines and pitot-static support, and a moving map display, the company said.
The new release demonstrates how aviation apps are "moving away from just providing data and instead providing intelligent information," said company CEO Hilton Goldstein. (In July 2012, AOPA reported on the company’s conversion of the iPhone into a combined attitude indicator and heads-up display including synthetic vision via a Wi-Fi link to a Levil Technology attitude and heading and reference system.)
In its announcement, Hilton Software said WingX Pro 7 Version 7.0 is available for immediate download from the Apple App Store, and is a free download for existing WingX customers. The app "seamlessly" integrates advanced weather data from Baron Services including Nexrad, visible and IR satellite, echo tops, surface analysis, and contoured surface wind speed with its moving map. Simple settings change the weather transparency, animation rate, and resolution to reduce bandwidth requirements, when necessary.
The app also gives pilots “the ability to view their route and breadcrumb trail on approach charts,” said Hilton Software. The ChartTouch feature lets pilots add waypoints and fixes directly on approach charts, with route lines updated immediately on the chart.
Aviators’ feedback told Hilton Software what pilots want, and confirmed that they also demand simplicity of use, which WingX Pro 7 Version 7.0 provides with "just a row of buttons across the bottom," Goldstein said.
That means it doesn’t take long for a user to grasp the utility of the package.
"We spend a couple of minutes with the pilot and all of sudden the pilot’s eyes light up," he said.
Hilton says the new version is the first major iPad app to add pitot-static support for the experimental aircraft market. Ruben Leon, founder of Levil Technology and an RV-9 pilot, noted that support for the iLevil AW “has a significant impact on the role of tablets in Experimental Aviation today.” The iLevil AW provides “airspeed, pressure altitude and vertical speed when connected to the pitot-static system of a home-built or light-sport aircraft,” says the Levil Technology website.
The iPad’s capacious processing power lets designers create a variety of information-depiction solutions that minimize "head-down time" in the cockpit, Goldstein said.
Garmin International has updated its Garmin Pilot app for Apple devices with helicopter routes and obstacles along routes.
Garmin International will offer the GDL 84H and GDL 88H Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) datalink specifically designed for helicopters.
The FAA needs to reform its regulatory and certification processes, including changing the third class medical, AOPA told a House Aviation Subcommittee roundtable.
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