Photo: Screen shot, from Eddie's iPad.
(The wallpaper is from a shot I took at the Athens Divani Apollon Palace Hotel, 17 July 2002.)
I've used this application for a year now and was satisfied until I figured out I could do better . . .
Photo: Aeroweather screen shot, from Eddie's iPad.
- The RAW and Decoded weather is good and easy to get to.
- The radar shots are poor. Not too many years ago having a non-scalable and movable radar shot was good enough. But today you will be much better off using MyRadar NOAA Weather Radar.
- The NOTAMs are okay too, but the runway closures aren't flagged as well as they could be. The NOTAM Decoder application shown below is far superior.
- The idea of having a live CAM is pretty neat. But these are rarely of the airport.
We already used ARINCDirect for our flight planning before this App came out so it was a natural fit. It keeps getting better and better and now it is integrated with our scheduling software, FOS. I've heard from pilots who have used the competition and am told nothing will touch this. Highly recommended.
Photo: ARINCDirect screen shot, from Eddie's iPad.
- The application itself is free if you have an ARINCDirect account. The price of that account varies depending on what you use them for. We use them for as much as we can, to include flight planning and aircraft phone service. I think we average between $300 and $500 a month.
- We start the flight planning process on their website, accessible through the App. This will automatically populate the App after you refresh so you will have a checklist to complete, the flight plan, your weight and balance done, as well as the necessary charts pulled for your inspection.
- The application meshes with FOS, our scheduling software, so there is minimal duplicate entry to be done.
- If you use Rockwell-Collins ARINCDirect, this App will be your favorite tool. It provides an easy way to manage and view your flight plans, weather, NOTAMs, aircraft performance, and charts. It may be the closest thing to "one stop shopping" for paperless operations. There are other options, such as those from ForeFlight and Universal, but they pale by comparison.
Yes, the iPad camera is great and it comes with your iPad. But if you have a very small standby flight display tucked away where it is hard to see, maybe the iPad camera can be a life saver. I am talking specifically to Gulfstream G450 and G550 operators, but you might be in a similar situation.
Photo: iPad Standby Flight Display during an ILS approach, from Eddie's aircraft.
How to enlarge your G450 or G550 Standby Flight Display:
DropBox is available for free but for $100 a month you can store a terabyte of stuff securely. That's where I back up this website, the books, and all the photography. The free account will be more than enough to move records from your iPad to a PC with a larger hard-drive. And perhaps even enough to give you secure off-site storage.
Photo: DropBox screen shot, from Eddie's iPad.
- I like having a full set of manuals on the iPad and a file transfer utility seems to be the best way to do that.
- If you do your oceanic chores on the iPad, you will need to archive a lot of "paper." DropBox is a great way to do that. More about this: Paper vs Plastic.
- There are other file transfer utilities out there for the iPad that may have more features and might be easier to use. But I use DropBox for other things so it is easier for me to use it on the iPad too.
Until ADS-B our aircraft could not be tracked. Now? It depends. But we can track our aircraft using ARINCDirect. But for everyone else, FlightAware does a pretty good job.
Photo: FlightAware screen shot, from Eddie's iPad.
- If you want to get a sense of how busy an airport is, this is a good App to use. It will also give you a report of airport delays.
- I quite often use it for photography, wanting to know which airplanes are coming next and to get an N-number or call sign.
- This is also a good utility when tracking crews on airline flights on the way to or from trips.
- There is a time delay from what you see on the screen and reality. That's to be expected, I guess.
- I think FlightRadar24 is faster and provides better customization options.
Quick story: Lieutenant Colonel Alton Gee was our Boeing 747 scheduler and was a navigator by training. He would often get calls asking, "How long a flight is it from D.C. to ____?" He would say, "I'll call you back in an hour." Then he would do that navigator's magic and call them back after an hour. I thought I would do him a favor and I wrote him a program that devised the answer in just a few minutes. He was very happy. The next time he got the call he said, "I'll call you back in an hour." Using my program he had the answer in minutes, but he didn't call until an hour was up. I asked him why. "If they knew I could produce the same answer in five minutes, they'll start expecting it in five minutes."
Photo: FlightDistance screen shot, from Eddie's iPad.
- If you are the person responsible for answering the phone and quickly saying, "Yes we can do that," or "No we don't have the range," this is the application for you.
- This App isn't very easy to find. I had to go to the App Store and type in "Datenwek AG" (the company) and then for "iPhone Only" before I could find it. But from that point it was straightforward.
Application: FlightMeteo / SkyMet
FlightMeteo / SkyMet has a very nice view of U.S. airports with a graphic depiction of weather condition, for those days you are searching for someplace nice to land in a sea of bad weather.
Photo: FlightMeteo / Skymet screen shot, from Eddie's iPad.
- The pricing and icon of this App can be misleading. The price on the iTunes site says $4.99 and the title is "Sky Met - Aviation Meteo support." But once you download it the icon title says "FlightMeteo" with "Free" on the icon. You end up paying $2.99. It is all odd, but the App works fine.
- I think this would be a good App for someone wanting to look for someplace to fly. My destinations are pretty much set in stone unless I find reason to disqualify them. So I must admit I rarely find this App useful.
This is a nice App for sitting on the ground at Teterboro under a flow control to see what it is exactly that is going on in the New York area. It also gives you a preview for the air traffic situation before you takeoff.
Photo: FlightRadar24 screen shot, from Eddie's iPad.
- Gives you a realtime radar display of air traffic around airports.
Application: FltPlan Go
This is a fairly capable program for free. I particularly like the FBO information.
Photo: FltPlanGo screen shot, from Eddie's iPad.
- I use this program primarily for the FBO information, but if I didn't have ARINCDirect I suppose I would use it far more. If you are already a user of fltplan.com, this application will be a natural for you.
- I've been using Ac-u-kwik for as long as its been out and switched to the iPad App a few years ago. It has been fine except we had forgotten to renew it and it stopped working. So instead of an out of date Ac-u-kwik we had nothing. FltPlan Go, however, does not have coverage outside of North America. We may end up back with Ac-u-kwik or maybe just the paper copy.
Application: FlyBy E6B
I was issued a standard Air Force "Computer, Air Navigation, Dead Reckoning, Type CPU-26A/P" on January 2, 1979 and that thing has followed me around the world. Now, all these years later, I am worried about losing this keepsake. So it has finally been replaced by an App.
Photo: Flyby E6B screen shot, from Eddie's iPad.
- Just about anything you used your circular slide rule for you can do with this App. Well, that's not true. Just about anything you would normally do, you can do on this App.
Application: Garmin Pilot
If you don't have ARINCDirect, you need this App.
Photo: GarminPilot screen shot, from Eddie's iPad.
- A great tool for improving your situational awareness with terrain maps, synthetic vision, weather, etc. I like it as a complement to JeppFD and ARINCDirect when plotting. See: Paper vs. Plastic for more about this. At $600 for the worldwide version, Garmin Pilot isn't cheap. I am still learning it and I'll let you know if it stands the test of time enough to renew my subscription.
You can type and draw lines in some of the native Apps, such as ARINCDirect, but GoodReader does it better.
Photo: GoodReader screen shot, from Eddie's iPad.
- GoodReader — Some of the other programs can read a PDF and allow some typing, but most aren't very good for plotting. For that I recommend: GoodReader.
- We use GoodReader for a lot of our oceanic work, such as: annotating the master document, filling out checklists, and drawing on the plotting chart.
- It is also our "go to" App for storing PDF documents for reference when not connected to the Internet.
If you are flying an airplane that is certified "paperless" like my G450, you might be tempted to say the added expense of having your approach charts on an iPad is an extravagance. But sometimes your avionics will surprise you. I've twice ended up with no charts on my aircraft avionics. The first time Gulfstream said "that can't happen." The second time Honeywell found a bug in the system that has since been corrected.
Photo: JeppFD screen shot, from Eddie's iPad.
- Price: hard to say. I've had Jeppesen worldwide accounts in the past that ran around $13,000 per year for worldwide coverage that gave you four installations. If you don't need worldwide coverage it would be less. Now I run a flight operation that needs four installations for the aircraft alone and we have four pilots on top of that. So that runs around $38,000 per year. The airplane can't fly without it so we don't have a lot of choice here.
- We obviously depend on these for every flight and in our Gulfstream G450 the aircraft can't really fly without them. We have twice had the charts function of our aircraft go out, which is certified to fly "paperless" without a backup. So we required both pilots have an iPad ready to go with JeppFD.
- The text pages on a PC are pretty slick and will get you all around the world without having to research each country's Aeronautical Information Publication. On a iPad it isn't as easy, but it works.
- If you fly internationally as a non-military U.S. pilot, there is no substitute for Jeppesen charts. The Jeppesen Flight Deck program is better and worse than the same program on a laptop. Better because it is easier to fly an approach with an iPad in one hand than balance a laptop in the cockpit. Worse because the text pages are not as easily searched.
Application: Jet Refuel Pro
This App represents a bit of revolutionizing the way I think. I've always done the mental math when converting pounds to gallons to liters. In some countries this also meant I had to find a scrap of paper to write the quantity down to a non-English speaking fuel truck driver. But this $0.99 App checks my math and allows me to simply point to the iPad or iPhone and show the quantity to the attendant. Easier.
Photo: Jet Refuel Pro screen shot, from Eddie's iPad.
- It does one thing and one thing only: convert pounds of fuel into gallons or liters. But is does that very well.
Application: MyRadar NOAA Weather Radar
This seems to be the quickest and easiest way to get a radar depiction of your current location as well as Europe and Japan.
Photo: MyRadar NOAA Weather Radar screen shot, from Eddie's iPad.
Application: NOTAMs Decoder
I've already documented my frustration with NOTAMs. This program answers many of those frustrations. You can get the same utility from ARINCDirect, but here is a quicker way to access color coded, prioritized NOTAMs. (If you don't have ARINCDirect, this is a must have App.)
Photo: NOTAMs Decoder screen shot, from Eddie's iPad.
Application: Pilot Atlas
Pilot Atlas does a very nice job of displaying your route of flight and diversion airports with distance rings to increase your situational awareness.
Photo: PilotAtlas screen shot, from Eddie's iPad.
Application: PlaneBook (Gulfstream)
If your aircraft manufacturer offers manuals and other support on line, great. If these are accessible even without an Internet connection, even better. In the case of our Gulfstream, the website "MyGulfstream" is okay. The application, "PlaneBook," is pretty good.
Photo: Gulfstream PlaneBook screen shot, from Eddie's iPad.
- There really isn't a choice with a newer Gulfstream. The paper version of the books will hardly fit in the cockpit and you don't have a good place to put a laptop. The iPad version of all the manuals is the way to go.
- We keep a paper copy of the Quick Reference Handbook in the cockpit and our official reason is this: "just in case." But the actual reason is if you have a CAS warning or something else go wrong, the paper QRH is still faster. But if you are searching for something that you aren't sure where to find, the search function of the iPad comes in handy.
Application: Turbulence Forecast
This is a pretty straight forward application that does one thing and one thing only.
Photo: Turbulence Forecast screen shot, from Eddie's iPad.
- A great place for worldwide weather maps. You can get many of these elsewhere, but this App offers most of them in once place.
I've found this App gets me a radar picture of a location I want faster than any other. You just bring up the App and swipe and scroll till you have what you want. It also has a graphical predictive option.
Photo: WeatherMap+ screen shot, from Eddie's iPad.
- Probably my most often used weather radar.
This is one of those websites I've used for years and now find even better on an App. This App gives you very quick short and long range weather in terms your passengers will be asking you for.
Photo: WeatherUnderground screen shot, from Eddie's iPad.