Garmin Pilot refines user interface with version 9.1.4

Some app updates bring stunning new features, like synthetic vision or major new hardware integrations. Others focus on the less exciting but equally important job of improving the existing tools, with new user interfaces or design tweaks. The latest version of Garmin Pilot (9.1.4) is in the latter camp, but the updates are well thought out and helpful. Here’s a look at what’s new.

Connext

Perhaps the major focus for Garmin over the last 18 months has been their Connext program, which allows the app to connect to a wide variety of avionics. This includes panel-mount equipment like the FlightStream and GTX 345 and portable receivers like the new GDL 52, which means Garmin Pilot can display in-flight weather, attitude information, SiriusXM audio, and much more.

Given this rapid expansion of options, it’s not surprising that the app itself had gotten a little difficult to use in places. Garmin took aim at this issue in this update, with a number of small changes that save time or make it easier to track the status of your connected devices.

First up is a new way to manage map layers. Garmin offers four different options for radar: Internet (which works on the ground), FIS-B (the ADS-B radar imagery), SXM (SiriusXM composite reflectivity), and SXM Base (the lowest tilt radar reflectivity). One scenario that can lead to unnecessary screen taps is when you switch from one source to another. For example, if you’re looking at internet radar on the ground before flight, then you get in the airplane (where you have a SiriusXM receiver), you’ll see the dreaded “No radar” warning. You have to manually switch from internet to SXM – a small thing, but a nuisance. Now the app automatically detects the weather source and turns on the appropriate layer, so you never have to make the switch manually. It’s one of those “it just works” features we like.

Along the same lines, Garmin Pilot now considers your aircraft flight plan when displaying weather layers that have different altitude options. In the example below, the app will default to showing in-flight icing for 3000 feet – the altitude specified in the preflight plan.

Radar is probably the most important weather product for pilots, but it does have its limitations, especially when it comes to coverage areas. Radar sites simply can’t reach the entire world, so Garmin Pilot now clearly displays gaps in radar coverage. This makes it much easier to determine whether there is no precipitation or no ground-based radar in the area. This is on by default for radar layers.

Here’s the coverage area for Canadian radar (delivered via SiriusXM), for comparison:

This version also includes a new, integrated Connext dashboard, accessed from the Connext menu option. This consolidates all the key information so you can see – at a glance – important status information about ADS-B reception, SiriusXM signal strength, GPS position, firmware, battery life and more. It’s the go-to page for troubleshooting, too.

Flight Data Log transfer

Garmin Pilot has offered a digital logbook and data logging for some time, but the latest version of the app really makes this feature more useful. Now the app, when connected to a data logger like the GDL 52, will automatically record key flight information.

After the data logger records the information and transfers it to the app, Garmin Pilot can upload this information to the Fly.Garmin.com website after landing. From here, you can access your electronic logbook and even play back flights. There’s a sectional chart, simulated attitude indicator (if your data logger records this information), speed/altitude graphs and more. It’s quite easy to use once it’s enabled, and it’s pretty handy for reviewing training or proficiency flights.

Quick access buttons

One feature we really like in Garmin Pilot is the quick access buttons in the top menu bar. These allow you access to key features from any screen on the app: Home, Direct-to, Nearest, and Emergency. So even if you’re buried on a settings page, you can tap Nearest if the engine starts running rough. In the latest version, the Direct-to pop-up has been enhanced, with options for navigating to a waypoint you searched for, a waypoint on your current flight plan, recent waypoints, nearest waypoints or user waypoints you have created. It’s fast and simple.

Version 9.1.4 has plenty of other additions, including more Cessna, Mooney, and Piper aircraft models in the Library. The update is a free update in the iTunes App Store. An annual subscription to Garmin Pilot starts at $74.99.

Source: Ipad appsGarmin Pilot refines user interface with version 9.1.4

Fastest piston sold too slowly to stay

Textron Aviation on Feb. 21 confirmed that the Cessna TTx, notwithstanding the eye-pleasing ramp appeal and speed to spare that wowed more than a few pilots and aviation writers, has ceased production. The company in essence cited slow sales by way of explaining what became of the world’s fastest production piston single, though not in so many words.

Source: aopaFastest piston sold too slowly to stay

‘Hangar full of Mustangs’ to host AOPA Rusty Pilots seminar

There’s nothing like a North American P-51 Mustang to bring folks out to an airport or inspire would-be pilots to start living the dream. Now the airplane that launched so many on their life’s journey in aviation is calling those who have let the dream slip away to come back and relive it.

Source: aopa‘Hangar full of Mustangs’ to host AOPA Rusty Pilots seminar

How to file, open and close a VFR Flight Plan from your iPad

We’re fortunate in the U.S. to have a variety of “free” aviation support services provided by the FAA and Flight Service. We can download digital charts from the FAA, request preflight weather briefings and file flight plans with no out-of-pocket expense. This system is set up with safety in mind so that a pilot has access to all available information while planning a flight without having to consider if it’s “worth the cost”.

One of the services that is commonly overlooked though by pilots is the VFR Flight Plan. This is something we all learn to use during flight training, and then often forget about after passing the checkride.

Up until recently, you had to either call Flight Service or use the Flight Service website to file a VFR flight plan. Once airborne, it takes another call to Flight Service over the radio to open the flight plan. And then at the end of a flight, it takes one more call to Flight Service to let them know you’ve arrived at your planned destination.

The VFR Flight Plan should be given more respect though, as it is designed to save your life. It lets someone know that you’ll be out flying for the day, your planned route of flight, and when and where you expect to land. Then in the unlikely event you have to perform an off-airport landing and are out of range of communications, rescue workers will know where to come looking for you.

Fortunately, today’s iPhone and iPad apps make the entire VFR Flight Plan process much easier. The apps will essentially fill out the flight plan forms for you, and they’re connected right to the Leidos Flight Service servers, allowing you to file VFR Flight Plans right from the app. Then when you’re out in the airplane just before takeoff you can use the iPhone version of the app (or iPad with cellular data) to open the flight plan. Closing it is just as easy after landing right from the app – no phone or radio calls to Flight Service required.

ForeFlight

  1. After planning a flight in the Flights section of the app, press the Proceed to File button at the bottom right corner of the screen.
  2. Verify the pre-populated flight plan form on the File screen, and press the File button at the lower right.
  3. After receiving confirmation the VFR Flight Plan was filed, you’ll see 3 buttons at the bottom of the Flights screen: Cancel, Amend and Activate.
  4. After activating the flight plan, the green “Activate” button will switch to a Close function, so that you can easily close the flight plan after landing.

Garmin Pilot

  1. Start a new flight in the Flight Plan section of the app, and then press the Create Trip button in at the lower right of the screen, which sends the flight data to the Trip Planning section of the app
  2. Verify the data in the fields, ensure VFR is selected as the Flight Rules type, and press File at the top right of the screen.
  3. After the VFR flight plan is filed, you’ll see the 3 action buttons at the top of the screen: Amend, Cancel and Activate with FSS.

Aerovie

  1. Enter your flight details in the route editor window on the main map screen, and then press the FILE button at the lower left corner of this window.
  2. Confirm the flight plan data, and press the File button at the top of the pop-up window.
  3. After the flight plan is filed, the FILE button will change to a yellow, with an OPEN/EDIT label. Tap this to display a pop-up menu with options to Activate, Amend, Create New or Cancel the active flight plan.

WingX Pro

  1. Select the Flight Service option from the home screen, and enter your pilot and aircraft credentials using the buttons in the lower right
  2. Press the “New” button at the top right of the screen, select File Flight Plan, enter the flight details and press the Send button at the top right of the window.
  3. Select the filed VFR flight plan from the list on the left side of the screen, and a pop-up menu will appear with options to activate, close or cancel a flight plan.

Source: Ipad appsHow to file, open and close a VFR Flight Plan from your iPad

iOS Update Green Light program: iOS 11.2.6

Apple recently released iOS 11.2.6, which fixes an issue where using certain character sequences (Telugu) could cause apps to crash, and an issue where some third-party apps could fail to connect to external accessories

As with all iOS updates, we strongly suggest that you hold off on updating your devices until your aviation app and accessory developers have time to test compatibility with the new software.

 

Source: Ipad appsiOS Update Green Light program: iOS 11.2.6