Science Applications International Corp. has debuted an enhanced service offered by its web-based flight planning system, AeroPlanner.com, that enables users to plan and map flights using Google Maps. The upgraded service allows pilots to plot their routes on satellite images provided in Google Maps, showing the terrain and airspace in vivid detail.
“We are running the improved AeroPlanner.com service on the Google Maps platform, which makes planning a flight almost as easy as getting online driving directions,” said Sam Bauman, SAIC’s AeroPlanner.com production manager, at Sun ’n Fun.
AeroPlanner.com provides pilots access to the charts, temporary flight restrictions (TFRs), weather information, and airport diagrams needed to plan flights. Because the system is entirely web-based, there is no software to load or chart upgrades to purchase, according to company officials. A pilot needs only a standard web browser to plan a flight, view it on Google Maps, and print it or download it to a mobile device for use in the cockpit.
Addition of Google Maps capabilities enhances the flight planning process on AeroPlanner.com, officials add. Users can now select departure, destination and waypoints simply by clicking on their choice of WAC (world aeronautical chart), Sectional, Instrumental Flight Rules (IFR)-High or IFR-Low chart draped over Google Maps. Panning out, zooming in, and dragging across a map or chart occur instantly and seamlessly without screen refresh. Once the route is planned and mapped, it can be filed and converted into a preflight package in hardcopy or PDF format for use in a mobile device.
Subscribers also have the option of downloading the free Google Earth applet to view their planned route in a realistic 3-D Google Earth flight preview. 3-D Google Earth imagery allows pilots to visualize their flight path with all controlled and special-use airspace affecting their route color coded, according to company officials.
“The Google Earth 3-D flight preview can enhance situational awareness, which improves safety by giving the pilot a better idea of what to expect before leaving the ground,” said Bauman.