The list is growing! Sending routes from the AOPA Flight Planner to various EFB apps got a new addition in November. Garmin Pilot was added to the list of EFB apps that can receive or download a flight plan created in the AOPA Flight Planner. This feature has proved to be a very popular one with users of the AOPA Flight Planner. In this month’s Feature Spotlight, we explore this functionality in detail.
“Back in the day”, long before tablet devices earned their spots in our cockpits, many of us used online tools for our flight planning. In those days, we were using stylish, beige colored PC’s with big, heavy CRT monitors, but it sure was a lot easier than breaking out the pencil, whiz wheel and one of the various paper navigation logs available by searching that new convoluted thing called the “world wide web”. Many of us had our favorite online flight planner and they quickly matured and continued to provide innovative features that we could only dream of in the paper planning days. Then, the early tablet PC’s (really just laptops with touch screens) started arriving but they never really took off. Enter Apple with the iPhone which changed our mobile lives forever. Once we adopted the smart phone concept, the iPad was poised for success which opened the door for the “tablet” revolution. It seems like only two minutes after the iPads hit the market, they found their way into our cockpits.
Being a bit of a “techie”, I was an early adopter of a tablet in the cockpit. I started using a tablet more and more and using an online flight planner less and less. This wasn’t really because the online flight planner was lacking, it was more out of convenience since I had to re-create the flight on the tablet before heading out to the plane. I sort of missed the larger screen and the speed of a traditional keyboard and mouse when planning on a desktop PC. This was a driving force for us to integrate the AOPA Flight Planner with EFB apps. We knew that our members used a wide variety of EFB’s and the debate over which is “best” is as deep as the old high wing / low wing conversation. I own a Piper Archer II if you were wondering, but we won’t start that discussion here! We knew we needed to support as many EFB apps as we could.
As of this writing, the AOPA Flight Planner can send routes to 5 different EFB apps. In alphabetical order, those apps are: ForeFlight Mobile, Garmin Pilot, Naviator, Seattle Avionics FlyQ and WingX Pro7. The method to send a route from the flight planner to an EFB depends on which EFB you are using. For iOS versions of thee apps, a technique built into the Apple operating system permits simply “sending” the route by using a link that is either delivered in an email, or, from the AOPA GO app installed on the same device as the EFB. The process is simple and quick; plan your route using the AOPA Flight Planner, send the AOPA Nav Log to a personal email address, open that email on the device with your EFB and click the appropriate EFB button at the top of the email. This will automatically launch the EFB app and load the route. This is the process to use if you are a ForeFlight Mobile, Garmin Pilot, Seattle Avionics FlyQ or Wing Pro7 user.
There is another integration method available if you are using Naviator or WingX Pro7 (WingX Pro7 supports both methods). This method allows you to access the saved AOPA Flight Planner routes from directly within the EFB app itself. The process is slightly different between these two apps, but involves going to the appropriate section of the app to see a list of your saved routes in the AOPA Flight Planner. You will need to use your AOPA account credentials to log in and then you will be presented with a list of all the flight plans you saved in the AOPA Flight Planner. Select the route you want to import, and the route will be loaded in your EFB. After that, the route works like any other route that you would have manually created in the app.
Tutorial videos for these and all other features are available on the AOPA Flight Planning Products YouTube Channel.
You can access the AOPA Flight Planner here: www.aopa.org/flightplanner.