Enhancements made to AOPA Airports
AOPA Airports, the new online airport directory, was created with flexibility in mind. One of the goals of the new online directory is to evolve as new technologies emerge, and as pilot demand changes.
The team responsible for AOPA Airports has implemented several enhancements to the application in the last month. Recently introduced enhancements include a more prominent, red font to warn pilots that an airport is closed; the introduction of airport-manager-submitted traffic pattern altitude information (in addition to the already-displayed FAA traffic pattern altitude information); and the addition of AOPA Airport Support Network volunteer names and contact information to the airport pages. Some of the modifications are the result of AOPA member feedback, while others are part of the regular project enhancement schedule.
Some significant changes have been made to the kneeboard format. The kneeboard format link has been turned into a button, to make sure it stands out on the airport page. Navaids, traffic pattern altitude information, and additional detail for business listings were added to the kneeboard.
The team is currently working on a solution for airports with kneeboards that present with overlapping text. The overlap problem is caused when the number of communication frequencies exceeds the allocated space on the kneeboard. Although few airports are affected, the problem is a priority, and a solution is underway.
Notable changes were also made to the METARs/TAFs section in AOPA Airports. In addition to the translated (plain language) text, pilots can now view raw METARs and TAFs simply by deselecting the “Plain” checkbox, located in the upper right of the section.
Several pilots weighed in regarding the icons used in the METARs/TAFs display in AOPA Airports. The wind icons used in the section point into the wind (like a tetrahedron). Some pilots thought the icons represented windsocks, which point downwind. Consequently, the team introduced new, red, V-shaped icons to emphasize that the icons are pointing into the wind, and are not meant to represent windsocks.
Moving forward, priority enhancements for AOPA Airports include the introduction of member comments, a solution for the kneeboard overlap issue experienced at some airports, the introduction of pilot-submitted airport images, and the introduction of additional airport safety resources, which likely will be contributed by the AOPA Air Safety Foundation.
May 19, 2010