Airguide Publications has jumped head first into electronic delivery of what has traditionally been, at least until 2010, an ink on paper product. Judging from the activity around their exhibits at Sun ’n Fun in April and AirVenture in July, a great many pilots are interested in their efforts. Specifically, the Flight Guide iEFB iPad App.
Upon launching Flight Guide iEFB for the first time, users are met with a simple, and straight-forward registration page. Once registered, users get 10 days worth of free data downloads. That is more than ample time to test the waters.
Simple is what attracts my eye (and use), and the Flight Guide iEFB does not disappoint. From the Airports tab, select an airport from the drop down menu, or type in the identifier. Once the airport information page is loaded, you will notice that fuel prices and weather are being updated (assuming you are on a wi-fi network, or have a 3G-enabled iPad). The airport’s current weather appears in the upper right of the information page. The Fuel Prices section of the information page is expandable to show on-field up-to-date fuel prices. The Nearby Airports and Fuel section, just below Fuel Prices, shows distances to nearby airports (with links to their information page) and fuel prices at those airports. Nice.
METAR & TAF is another collapsible section on the airport information page. The label speaks for itself. And again, if connect to wi-fi or 3G, it updates automatically. When the airport is IFR, the airport name and current weather appears in red. When VFR, the information is green. A nice graphic touch.
My only beef with this app is the zooming required. The airport information page (in portrait view) does not fill the width of the iPad’s screen. Filling up the available screen real estate would be nice (perhaps as an option) so a user only has to scroll up and down as opposed to zooming in/out (via double tapping or pinching the screen).
Back to playing. From the airport information page, click the Aircraft Contents List (2nd icon from left) at the top, select the chart (sectional, enroute, approach, etc) from the list and there you have it, front and center. Here is where the zoom feature really shines. No matter how close I hold an enroute or sectional chart, the print gets only so large before it gets fuzzy. Not so on the iPad.
The sectionals are also hyperlinked to the airport information. Tap the airport icon on the chart and you are whisked to the airport information details page (where the above noted features are displayed). Nearly 5,000 airport diagrams (showing all taxiways and business locations) are available on the Flight Guide iEFB.
The sectional charts have great resolution, and include everything the print version does, minus the creases. Airguide’s Brenda Garcia also mentioned a few soon-to-be-released features, such as, “moving map, seamless charts, flight planner and weather”. Look for details at AOPA’s Aviation Summit.
The Flight Guide iEFB (link will launch iTunes for download) app has three subscription plans (all prices per month): VFR for $9.99, IFR for $14.99 and PRO for $19.99. Airguides app appears to be a simple, familiar and affordable entry into the digital chart and airport guide pool. Jump on in.