Internet-based flight planning hit a whole new flight level with the launch of the AOPA Internet Flight Planner (AIFP) on Nov. 8 at AOPA Expo.
The new flight planner has been an instant hit with Expo attendees in San Jose, Calif. AOPA has been showing demonstrations of its flight-planning capabilities on a large screen in the exhibit hall.
Because AIFP is Internet-based, it will work on Macs as well as PCs, and it can be accessed from any computer, anywhere in the world with Internet access.
“I’m a Mac user and I want to know who to kiss for giving us Mac users access to the amazing flight planning tool AOPA has brilliantly executed,” said AOPA member David Lessnick. “I love my Mac, and now I love AOPA…even more!”
AIFP, still in beta testing, will replace AOPA’s Real-Time Flight Planner that was unveiled at Expo five years ago. AOPA’s Real-Time Flight Planner, which at the time was revolutionary, had its limitations.
“By any measure, AOPA’s Real Time Flight Planner (RTFP) has been a huge success, said AOPA President Phil Boyer. “But it did have a couple of drawbacks. It required users to download a small application, and it would only run on Windows-based computers. AIFP addresses those issues while maintaining comparable capabilities and leaving room for future upgrades. And the cost to members remains the same—nothing.”
AOPA and the software engineers at Jeppesen teamed to develop AIFP, which still uses Jeppesen’s industry-leading database and flight-planning algorithms. The application itself, however, was created at AOPA headquarters by the association’s talented staff of Web developers. Because it was designed in-house, AOPA can react more quickly when members suggest upgrades or when new technologies are developed, ensuring that AIFP continues to deliver the best and most useful flight planning features around.
This is a “quantum leap from what the old one was, and the old one was good,” said Sal Lagonia, an AOPA member and Airport Support Network volunteer who flies out of White Plains, N.Y.
Enhancements already added include: full integration with the AOPA Online Airport Directory, including airport and fuel price information; pre-loaded performance data for many of general aviation’s most popular aircraft; weather downloaded automatically as soon as the “Plan This Route” button is clicked; and a “Route” tool that allows a pilot to more easily alter the flight plan, including optimizing altitude for winds.
AIFP does not have a rubberband function, something that many members loved about Real-Time Flight Planner. However, members have been won over by the ease with which they can create waypoints.
The new flight planner is a completely browser-based Rich Internet Application. The new flight planner can be used from any computer that has an Internet connection and browser software installed. That includes Apple MacIntosh and Linux computers, which were unable to run the old program.
“The new AOPA Internet Flight Planner is just one more example of AOPA listening to our members and giving them the best value for their $39 dues,” said Boyer.