Oct 20 2009

SkyCharts App – Dan’s Review

Category: Aviation GPS,iPhone Apps,RamblingsDaniel @ 6:20 am

SkyCharts
Released Oct 18, 2009
Seller:  Heikki Julkunen
(C) 2008-2009 Heikki Julkunen
Price (as of 10/20/2009):  $9.99
Rated 4+ as of 10/20/2009 on iTunes Store

Most general aviation pilots know how expensive true aviation-grade portable GPS systems can be.  Garmin and Lowerance systems cost upwards of $2,000 for a decent one, even the seemingly awesome Bendix-King AV8OR costs around $700+.  In my mind, those are ridiculous prices for the amount of functionality those devices provide.  After experimenting with my Mio Personal Navigation Device for aviation use with some success, I was hopeful to find something just as useful on my iPhone.  I’m very happy and excited to report about the SkyCharts app…truly a great little gem on the iPhone!

SkyCharts

Granted, it’s no fully integrated electronic flight bag (EFB), but it does exactly what it claims to do…  it puts your GPS position directly on top of the paper sectionals/charts you’ve grown to know and love.  The first versions of the app did ONLY that, but the latest version added some flight planning capabilities as well.

One VERY important feature of this app is that you can cache the various charts to use while you don’t have a data/cellular signal.  In other words, you can use this while flying (even though you aren’t supposed to – like any app).  Furthermore, it now has a database of all U.S. airports, nav points, and fixes – all of which can be selected and routed direct-to.  For each airport, it also will cache and display approach plates and airport diagrams.  Overall, very useful stuff!  The flight-planning is currently only 1 point direct-to lines, but future versions may include multiple waypoints.  The development of this app has been moving quickly, so I wouldn’t be surprised if those features are included in the near future.

Overall, for $10 ($9.99 technically), it’s WELL worth the cost!  I’ve used this MANY times in the air already, and think it’s a superb app.  I HIGHLY recommend it!  Check it out on iTunes here!

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Oct 03 2009

AirCheck Aviation Checklist – Dan’s Review

Category: iPhone Apps,RamblingsDaniel @ 1:45 pm

AirCheck Aviation Checklist
Released Jan 3, 2009
Seller:  Felix Khazin
(C) 2009 Mobile Dev Group LLC
Price (as of 10/03/2009):  $1.99
Rated 4+ as of 10/02/2009 on iTunes Store

Night modeIf you’ve been reading my blog, you know that I rent planes from the flying club I’m a member of.  All of the club’s planes are older than 2001, some as old as 1982!

As such, the checklists and POH’s are rather tattered and delicate.  One of the first apps I thought would work great for my new iPhone was an aviation checklist application.  After trying out all of the free checklist apps, I was severely disappointed.  Most were crippled in that they only showed a sample of what it could do, or it wasn’t easy to edit/add items to check, and they all started out blank or for planes I would never fly in.

Airchecklists.com - The online editor for the checklists

I decided to “splurge” on the $1.99 AirCheck Aviation Checklist app from Felix Khazin and was delightfully surprised.  The main feature that I thought was great was that you could edit and download other checklists on the web, not solely on your iPhone.  I don’t know about you, but I wouldn’t want to type out 100 items directly on the iPhone.  From the site, you can also download the checklists that other people have created, and guess what… all the plane types that my club owns were already input…so, set up was a cinch!  The app itself is pretty simple and straightforward.  You can tap on the screen or shake the iPhone to “check off” an item.  That’s a great feature to not have to use both hands – so ultimately it’s as simple as using the POH checklist.  It also has both night and day display modes, to not kill your night-vision if it’s dark out.  The text is perfectly sized and again, you can make the checklist as detailed or simple as you’d like.  I’ve kept all my checklists 100% matched to the checklists in the planes I fly.  Overall, this app is the best aviation checklist I’ve come across, and for $1.99 you can’t beat it!

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