European pilots have long looked at U.S. flight planning capabilities the way pilots of certified aircraft have looked at the performance and capabilities of experimental aircraft—with envy. A new release of the Gamin Pilot iOS electronic flight bag app for Europeans may dial down the envy meter a bit.
The new Pilot version for Apple products includes a host of features common on the previous version for U.S. pilots plus some additional enhancements for all. The release on April 19 coincides with the opening of the AERO show in Friedrichshafen, Germany, one of Europe’s largest general aviation gatherings.
Among the most useful features is the ability to file VFR flight plans from within the app. Heretofore, European pilots typically would have to phone in a flight plan. The latest Pilot version also includes a greater area of VFR chart coverage in France, which joins recent additions of coverage in the United Kingdom.
The flight profile view, which gives the pilot a look at how airspace, obstacles, and terrain may affect his flight, now works on an iPhone and an iPad. In addition, the flight profile can now show METARs and bodies of water as well as traffic when connected to compatible Garmin devices for sharing traffic information.
The European update includes the ability for pilots to enter personal weather minimums and then see a customized weather presentation that alerts to areas lower than prescribed, a feature included in the most recent version of the app elsewhere. The personal minimums plus color-coded wind directions to help easily identify the preferred runway give pilots much greater situational awareness regarding weather.
Once planned on the app, a flight plan can now wirelessly be transferred to the aera 660 handheld GPS.
While U.S. versions of the app start at $75, the European version, which includes worldwide navigation and weather, is $150 annually plus the cost of regional IFR and VFR charts. Garmin also offers a free 30-day trial. The new version is available in the app store now.