Lobo:Labs has released its new FlashPass 2.1 app for iOS 7 and 8 devices. The new app integrates U.S. Customs and Border Protection's Electronic Advance Passenger Information System (eAPIS) and Mexican APIS to make it “simple for pilots to comply with both requirements,” Arturo Guerra of Lobo:Labs told AOPA in an email. It also includes links to the company’s Twitter and Facebook pages where it offers updates on the status of CBP airports.
Current FlashPass subscribers’ information will automatically pull into the free app, making it seamless for them to use on their iPhone or iPad.
The app features a simple interface with top and bottom navigation tabs to let users enter passenger, pilot, crew, emergency contact, aircraft, departure, and destination information. After signing in to the app, users enter the Manifest section but can use the bottom navigation to input people, company, and aircraft information.
Lobo:Labs recommends inputting aircraft information first and then entering the Settings menu to establish defaults (which can be changed at any time). In this area, users can set their default countries of departure and arrival (if frequent trips are made to and from the same countries), emergency contact, most-used aircraft, home state, common border-crossing location, and place of arrival. Saving these default settings will make it faster to complete manifests, according to Lobo:Labs. From the Manifests menu, users can click to add a manifest, and it will appear with some information, such as the aircraft and emergency contact, already prepopulated. If departing from a CBP-approved airport, the app will fill in city and state information after the ICAO identifier is entered. Users can preview the manifest by clicking on the eye icon and then submit when ready. For the return flight, the settings icon on the Manifest page will open a window to allow users to select the “make return leg” option. The app will create a new manifest reversing the airports, requiring the user to update only the date and time, and any changes in passengers.
Lobo:Labs built the FlashPass Web interface initially to make their own eAPIS experience easier and then launched the South Texas business after pilots became interested in the service, Guerra said. So far, 2,900 pilots regularly use the FlashPass online service and have submitted 54,285 manifests, he said.
“We believe pilots already have a lot of things to worry about before a flight and don’t need the extra stress of a complicated eApis website,” Guerra told AOPA. “The iPhone APP makes the whole process very fast and easy thus taking the stress out of the flight planning stage.”
Guerra said the company is currently working on an Android app and should have it ready for pilots to use in the fall.
The app is free to download. U.S. eAPIS subscriptions are available for $60 a year, and Mexican APIS subscriptions for an additional $50 a year. Each offers unlimited uses. For pilots who don’t fly across the border regularly, individual manifests can be purchased for $3.99, or a pack of five manifests for $15.99.
Lobo:Labs offers a five-minute tutorial of its app, but also offers chat services on its website as well as customer service by telephone. Guerra said he has walked pilots through the eAPIS process step by step many times, and stays on the phone with them until they have successfully filed the manifest.