January 28, 2014
By Benét J. Wilson
Since this column has become a regular weekly feature, I hear from a lot of developers who have either created new aviation apps or updated existing ones. Below are five apps that do everything from electronic charting to aiding with flight training. These are not endorsements of any app.
Jeppesen Mobile FD for iPad (free in iTunes, but subscription required): This tablet app helps users increase situational awareness. Data available on the app include display of aircraft position on approach charts, en-route display, and airport diagrams; arrival, departure, and approach procedures; NEXRAD weather, icing, echo tops, lightning, surface observations, turbulence, and winds aloft information; and terminal chart highlighting and rotation.
Sporty's IFR Communications ($34.99 in iTunes): Users of this iPhone/iPad app get a real-world look at IFR communications through all phases of flight in a variety of airspace. Using a visual menu system, IFR Communications is broken down into seven chapters showing the various phases of the IFR flights. The app contains more than 70 minutes of 3-D animations, in-flight video, and real-world communication scenarios.
FlightSafety (free in iTunes, but requires a subscription): Customers of training materials created by FlightSafety International can now receive them electronically with this iPad app. Once a customer is enrolled in a training program, the app will automatically download course materials. It includes digital training manuals, cockpit posters, flash cards, and guides for review or reference. The app also features an advanced notebook function that automatically transfers the customers’ notes and bookmarks to subsequent document versions.
PIREP Pro (free in iTunes): This app, optimized for the iPhone 5, comes from the creator of the Aviation W&B Calculator. It gives pilots the ability to share and read pireps with few clicks. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) provides pilots with average of 90 pireps at any given moment. The app currently generates more than 50 pireps a day, but the developer expects usage to grow.
Flight Data Recorder Mobile ($5.99 in iTunes): Users of this iPhone/iPad app can easily record a flight, including cockpit audio, and share it. It mimics what an aircraft "black box" does, by recording position, altitude, and attitude data. The recorder can be used in flight as a means to play back a past ATC transmissions and it will also display your track during the last 10 minutes so flight instructors can better evaluate maneuvers.
I’m looking for Android and Windows apps in the following categories: FBO/services, fuel, instrument simulators, logbooks, and radar. Please pass them, along with any others, my way here. I want to make sure that the Android and Windows users are represented in this column, but I can’t do that without your help! The complete list of apps I’ve reviewed since October 2012 is in AOPA’s online archive.
FAA Information and Services,
Jeppesen’s Mobile FliteDeck VFR for iPad has been expanded; iFly GPS is now available on Android platforms; and iFlightPlanner 2.0, FltPlanGo, and FlightPro have all been updated.
Five apps offer customizable aircraft checklists.
The Stratus Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) receiver from Sporty’s Pilot Shop has added a split-screen attitude view, animated radar, and an iPad-battery-saving feature, Sporty’s announced April 2.
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