Does anyone fly without an iPad anymore? (That’s a rhetorical question, don’t answer that.) The number of apps available for pilots is growing by the day. The good folks at Optima Publications have thrown their Pilots Guide into the iOS app ring. As any pilot knows, flying the airplane is only part of any journey. After all, what goes up, must come down. It’s the coming down part that makes for some of the most interesting adventures.
For those who live and/or fly in the western United States, Pilots Guide has been a staple for years. Finding a balance between the capability of technology with limited development budgets, plus an appealing user experience, led Optima’s Chris Fouquet to turn the Pilots Guide app into a digital presentation of the paper version with some very clever features added on.
The Pilots Guide app is free from the Apple iTunes App Store. It comes with a sample data pack so you can easily test the waters. (Should you like it, there are seven data plans available for purchase — more on that later).
Launch the app and you can dive right in.
Anyone familiar with the paper version will be put at ease after a few short moments. Once you get the handle on navigating the app, the additional features will really stand out.
The first button I pushed was “Nearby” (see above). It brought up a list of the closest 10 airports. Touch the one you want, and it loads instantly. Tower-controlled airports boast five pages of information. Swipe left to right (and vice versa) to see each page in either portrait or landscape mode.
Two very cool features made possible by technology are the “Errata” and “Weather” buttons. Push the former (above) and a list of airport specific notes drops down. These are updates to information that have yet to be worked into the “printed” pages. The latter (below) drops a menu of METAR and TAF information for the underlying airport. Clever, both of these features. Also, impossible in the print version.
From an airport page clicking “Nearby” will deliver 10 more airports near the currently selected airport. Makes sense when you think about it. If the airport you want to fly into doesn’t have the service you are looking for, check the next closest one(s).
There are other ways to find the airport you might be interested in. In the menu bar of the app is a search box. Tap your finger on the box and the keyboard flies in. Type the airport ID or City and an auto-complete box drops down showing available options. Click the one you want, and off you go. The search button in the lower left (visible only when the Main Menu is active) offers a more robust search page for more than just airports.
There are many other notable features, but the best way to explore is to download the app and start playing with it. Don’t have an iPad? No problem, it’ll work on your iPhone as well.
Should you like the app, dataplans are available starting at $39.99 for any of the three western U.S. sections, $69.99 for a two-section combo, or $89.99 for all three sections.
For more information: Pilots Guide website or 866-880-4686