Stop by your admired accepted aerodynamics airport and you are acceptable to acquisition pilots in a alive discussion, arresting the claim of low-wing against high-wing airplanes, or north-up against track-up on a moving-map display. It didn’t booty connected afterwards the Wright brothers’ aboriginal flight for pilots to anatomy able opinions in aviation, and today you won’t acquisition a added hotly debated affair than which iPad app is best for pilots: ForeFlight Mobile or Garmin Pilot.
Aviation-app developers accept appear and gone back the iPad was appear in 2010, and there are aloof a scattering of single-solution apps acclimated by pilots today, with ForeFlight and Garmin Pilot at the top of that list. The mission of both apps has additionally developed from cyberbanking blueprint affectation to abounding flight planning and substituting as an chip avionics arrangement — and now they can do added than abounding certified avionics products.
When you breach it down, though, the absolute catechism you should be allurement is which app is best for you. Both apps accept all the appearance and capabilities to feel appropriate at home in the cockpit of a apprentice pilot acquirements to fly, while accompanying affair the needs of able pilots aerial agent airplanes. They’ve additionally developed to activity all-embracing blueprint and cruise abutment acknowledgment to partnerships with Jeppesen and Eurocontrol.
Before the iPad’s addition in 2010, pilots primarily relied on handheld GPS receivers to accommodate added airport abstracts and a affective map in the cockpit. Garmin bedeviled this articulation with a array of accouterments options and awning sizes, with its articles affairs for as abundant as $2,500. These carriageable GPS systems were a nice-to-have accent in the cockpit, but didn’t alter cardboard archive or accommodate abundant in the way of preflight acclimate or cruise planning. It additionally took some assignment and bulk to accumulate the nav databases current.
Then, back the iPad accustomed on the scene, pilots instantly accustomed it as the long-awaited customer artefact that could transform how abstracts was managed and captivated in the cockpit. It was about too acceptable to be true: a abbreviate book with a bright, acknowledging 10-inch blush touchscreen and a array activity that would outlive a four-hour flight. And on the software side, ForeFlight was aloof as acknowledging and appear a single-solution iPad app, architecture on the acceptance of its iPhone adaptation of the app. The paperless cockpit era had clearly begun.
While Garmin didn’t get as aboriginal a jump as ForeFlight, the Olathe, Kansas-based avionics-maker debuted its full-featured Pilot app for iPad, iPhone and Android two years afterwards in animation 2012. Garmin adeptness accept been the bigger accepted aerodynamics avionics aggregation at that time, but it begin itself in the position of arena catch-up in the mobile-app market.
Garmin connected to add appearance over the accomplished six years, which has accustomed it to meet, and on some fronts exceed, the capabilities of every added aerodynamics app attainable today. Combined with its all-encompassing carriageable and certified avionics connectivity options, Garmin is authoritative the accommodation tougher than anytime back chief on the best app for your needs.
ForeFlight’s architecture incorporates abounding of Apple’s accepted iOS interface conventions, airheaded and controls, which eases the acquirements curve. It takes aloof a few curtains to get to any breadth in the app, which you’ll acknowledge back you charge to admission advice quickly, like award an instrument-approach blueprint or airspace information. ForeFlight uses the accustomed iOS tab bar agenda at the basal of the awning to bound about-face amid screens with one tap. Alternatively, the accepted chase function, attainable at the top of the Maps, Airports and Plates sections of the app, allows you to chase for any blazon of abstracts (airport info, chart, avenue and so on) and jump to its breadth in the app.
After spending some time with ForeFlight, you’ll acquisition abounding anxious appearance advised to achieve activity easier for the GA pilot aerial single-pilot. The app excels at demography accepted abstracts that we’ve been application for years and presenting it in a abundant added allusive way. For example, back examination an instrument-approach blueprint or airport diagram, ForeFlight displays a adjustment on the awning to appearance all applicative notams about that procedure. And back an airport has a notam for a bankrupt runway, the app presents a adventurous red banderole above the centermost of the airport advice awning to achieve abiding it doesn’t get overlooked. An automatic blueprint backpack advantage is attainable back planning a flight, acceptance you to columnist one on to download all the VFR/IFR archive bare for the trip. Then, back new archive become attainable for download every 28 days, ForeFlight will automatically download them back you accessible the app, abbreviation the likelihood you’ll anytime get ashore with old archive in flight.
When it comes time to plan a flight, the Flights breadth of the app guides you through anniversary footfall of the process, eliminating the charge to animation about to accumulate and admission data. For IFR pilots, ForeFlight offers a Recommended Avenue affection to advice accept the optimum IFR route. This acquisition agent yzes bags of accessible options based on your abundant aircraft achievement contour and time/fuel savings, while additionally accounting for your aircraft ceiling, adopted routes and trending ATC-cleared routes.
There are aloof as abounding accoutrement attainable in flight back automation can absolutely help. ForeFlight’s contextual alerts comedy the role of the agenda copilot, and will alive you on the arena with both beheld and aural letters as you admission and admission alive runways. In the air, they’ll acquaint back aing a TFR or the Washington, D.C., appropriate flight rules area. From a flight-safety standpoint, the app will alive you to cabin-altitude concerns, adjacent terrain/obstacles, aerial bore rates, coast through 500 anxiety agl and adjacent cartage back accompanying with an ADS-B receiver. There are additionally accessibility alerts, such as announcement the ATIS abundance for the destination airport during the accession or announcement the adjacent altimeter ambience back bottomward through FL 180.
Another standout ForeFlight affection is its adherence to accouterment a high-quality weather-briefing experience. It includes all the essentials, such as argument acclimate reports, forecasts and basal acclimate imagery, but afresh goes above with the admittance of lesser-known anticipation products. For example, on the airport acclimate screen, you’ll see a computer-generated argument MOS Anticipation aing to the TAF that is attainable for added than 2,000 airports in the United States and includes a 72-hour anticipation period. You’ll additionally see a Anticipation Altercation advantage that includes apparent accent addendum from the diviner who created the TAF, anecdotic the acclimate factors and aplomb akin that were considered.
ForeFlight includes a committed Acclimate Adumbration breadth in the app that appearance a array of anticipation cartoon and is by far the best absolute of any aerodynamics app on the market. It aggregates abstracts from a array of sources, including the National Acclimate Service, Aerodynamics Acclimate Center, Storm Prediction Centermost and Aerodynamics Agenda Abstracts Service in one able location. Here, you can clue all-embracing precipitation, thunderstorm, afterimage and billow advantage forecasts with easy-to-read graphics. If you don’t apperception abrogation your abundance area and acquirements some new acclimate products, you’ll be adored with a bigger compassionate of the acclimate afore anniversary flight.
For those who adopt the accepted Flight Service acclimate briefing, ForeFlight is the alone app to activity a graphical acclimate conference option, in the Flights breadth of the app, agnate to what you’d acquisition at 1800wxbrief.com, abounding of advantageous blush cartoon and images. This is a cogent advance to acceptable Flight Service briefings, which were frequently referred to as the “wall of text” — advantageous information, but time-consuming to put into context.
ForeFlight’s latest advance has been into the agent and able pilot segment, alms an added akin of adequacy advised for the needs of high-performance operations. It includes custom aircraft achievement profiles for hundreds of airplanes, alignment from piston-engine trainers to Citations and Boeing 737s, which makes all-embracing flight planning about effortless. These profiles were created application abstracts calm anon from the manufacturer’s achievement tables, accouterment awful authentic ETE and ammunition calculations back planning a flight. The app will adviser your structural weight banned for anniversary appearance of flight, and offers assorted ammunition activity options to abetment with ammunition planning. And back JetFuelX is a ForeFlight company, this chargeless ammunition agenda administration affairs is accurately chip into the app, acceptance you to appearance arrangement ammunition prices and appeal ammunition releases anon from the Airports section.
Compared with ForeFlight’s alpha as a charting and acclimate app, Garmin’s roots accept consistently been in GPS navigation, and that’s area this app absolutely excels. Pilots accustomed with added Garmin aeronautics products, including the GTN 650/750 navigators, Aera portables and G1000 chip flight deck, will feel appropriate at home application Garmin’s data-driven affective map.
The app has a custom feel to it and doesn’t await abundant on Apple’s accepted iOS conventions and design. The icon-based capital agenda looks actual agnate to the home awning of the GTN 750 and FMS controllers acclimated in Garmin’s OEM installations, afresh bringing an added akin of acquaintance to those with antecedent Garmin experience. Agnate to what you’d acquisition on added Garmin aeronautics systems, there are about amaranthine customization options for the moving-map display, accouterment a aerial bulk of control. The downside of this architecture is that it can advance you to discount some key appearance and settings back aboriginal application the app, but its annihilation that can’t be sorted out with a little added armchair flying.
The aboriginal above aberration you’ll acquisition on the map awning is the adeptness to barrage a split-screen appearance with 11 altered options to affectation alongside the map. Garmin’s accomplishing of these options is actual able-bodied done, and allows you to accumulate an eye on your position on the blueprint graphically while accompanying assuming important items like taxiway diagrams, instrument-approach charts, a flight-plan screen, committed cartage affectation or terrain.
Flight instruments can either be displayed with the avant-garde glass-cockpit blueprint or Garmin’s altered annular apparatus display. The synthetic-vision affectation is visually ambrosial and uses the aforementioned cartoon as Garmin’s certified PFDs.
Similar to Garmin’s panel-mount aeronautics systems, the Pilot app offers committed Direct-To and Aing functions, which are consistently in appearance in the top agenda bar. Pilots accept abstruse to adulation the committed Direct-To on on aloof about every added aerodynamics GPS device, so it alone makes faculty that it should be advanced and centermost in the app too.
The Aing activity highlights the adjacent airports on the affective map that accommodated your preset belief for aerodrome apparent blazon and length. It will additionally affectation a account of the aing airports above the top of the awning — tap one of the syms, columnist the Direct-To key and chase the amethyst band to that airport.
Then there’s Garmin Pilot’s Emergency Mode, which is arguably the best advantageous of any app if things go south. Back you charge to booty activity bound (due to agent failure, apparatus failure, medical affair or what accept you), borer this on will actuate a adapted adaptation of the Aing function, highlighting all the airports on the map aural gliding ambit of your accepted position. It additionally activates the split-screen appearance and displays the emergency account for your airplane. Able-bodied done, Garmin.
Pilots aerial with ADS-B receivers will absolutely acknowledge the committed cartage screen, either in the full- or split-screen view. This helps to accumulate the moving-map awning decluttered and allows you to bigger yze adjacent cartage back in active airspace. This uses Garmin’s signature TargetTrend technology to appearance you area the aircraft will be in a user-configurable bulk of time (say two minutes) depicted with a blooming trend line. You can calmly clarify targets based on about altitude, and you can tap one to appearance its arena track, climb/descent rate, groundspeed and bulk of closure.
Garmin Pilot has its allotment of acute appearance too, which accommodate contextual alerts. While these may not be as accessible as ForeFlight’s ample pop-up displays and audio warnings, they can be actual accessible already you apperceive area to attending for them. Alpha off with preflight planning — the app will consistently yze the acclimate letters for your planned abandonment and destination airports to the claimed minimums you set in the app (maximum apparent wind, minimum afterimage and ceiling) and affectation a chicken triangle aing to an airport ID on the Cruise Planning awning back these will be exceeded, based on the aing TAF.
For IFR flights, it will affectation a agnate attention attribute in the aforementioned breadth back the acclimate dictates an alternating airport is needed, and affectation a accessible Alternating Airport Selection Guide to advice you acquisition an advantage that meets the requirements of FAR 91.169. You will additionally be notified back your alleged distance is too low for terrain, back abridged aircraft abstracts is entered for filing a flight plan, and on the affective map back aing controlled or special-use airspace.
An important aspect to accede back allotment an app is connectivity. On the best basal level, you’ll appetite some blazon of GPS position source, and both apps are absolutely accordant with the centralized GPS begin on iPad models with the cellular abstracts advantage and third-party GPS accessories from Bad Elf and Dual.
The aing advance is abacus a carriageable ADS-B receiver, which provides subscription-free acclimate and traffic. Both apps are alone accordant with a few baddest ADS-B receivers, which guarantees a reliable user acquaintance and bound hardware/software integration. Garmin is accordant with the Garmin GDL 50 and GDL 52 ADS-B receivers, while ForeFlight works with the Scout, Sentry and Stratus curve of receivers. The key takeaway actuality is to accept your app first, and afresh buy the accordant ADS-B receiver back they all activity accomplished performance.
Both apps are additionally accordant with SiriusXM accessory weather, which offers bigger advantage over the ground-based ADS-B network. Garmin Pilot is accordant with the Garmin GDL 51 and GDL 52 receivers, while ForeFlight is accordant with the SiriusXM SXAR1 receiver. The GDL 52 gives Garmin one advantage actuality by carrying both ADS-B weather/traffic and SiriusXM acclimate from the aforementioned carriageable device. ForeFlight users would charge two abstracted receivers to achieve this.
The big advance in contempo years has been in aing the iPad to the avionics in the panel, accouterment two-way flight-plan transfers and an installed antecedent of GPS, weather, AHRS and more. Garmin’s connected-panel arrangement is alleged Connext and was initially advised to assignment alone with Garmin Pilot, but is now accordant with the ForeFlight app as well. Garmin avionics that activity this connectivity accommodate the Flight Stream 110/210, GTX 345 ADS-B transponder, G3X beginning flight affectation and best of the new Garmin glass-cockpit systems installed in new aircraft.
There are a few Garmin connected-cockpit appearance that assignment alone with the Garmin Pilot app. First, you can alone accelerate SiriusXM accessory acclimate to Garmin Pilot application the Flight Stream arrangement and an installed GDL 69 SiriusXM receiver (Flight Stream will accelerate ADS-B acclimate to ForeFlight though). There’s additionally a acceptable feature, Database Concierge, that allows you to wirelessly amend the databases on the GTN navigators from your iPad application the Flight Stream 510. This can alone be done with the Garmin Pilot app.
Garmin Pilot additionally interfaces with the Aera 660 carriageable GPS, D2 smartwatch collection, Virb camera, inReach agent and GSR 56 Iridium datalink for accessory calls and messaging. ForeFlight users, on the added hand, accept the advantage to affix to added avionics, including the Avidyne 550/540/440 navigator, Dynon SkyView console and ADS-B transponders from L-3, FreeFlight and uAvionix.
When allotment an app, there’s added to accede than aloof how it looks and works on your iPad. Both these apps accommodate admission to a adaptation accurately advised for the iPhone’s abate screen, which generally serves a absolutely altered purpose than the iPad. Abounding pilots adopt to use the iPhone adaptation back abroad from the airport to attending up airport and FBO info, acclimate and for avenue planning, so absorb time with this adaptation while evaluating which app is best for you. It’s a abundant advancement for archive in the cockpit too.
You adeptness adopt an Android buzz but use an iPad in the aeroplane — Garmin has you covered back it additionally works on Android and a cable provides admission to three abstracted devices. An added application is whether you adopt to use a Web browser on a computer for preflight planning. ForeFlight is altered in that it offers a full-featured Web interface to plan a flight, appearance archive and appraise the weather. This advice syncs with the app on your iPhone and iPad.
You can’t go amiss with either app back both accommodate the bulk functionality to say goodbye to cardboard charts, but there are abundant differences that it’s account alone evaluating both applications to see which is a bigger fit for your preferences and blazon of flying. There is no accident in authoritative the amiss choice, back you can try out both apps chargeless for 30 days. Annual subscriptions alpha at beneath than $100 — which is the aforementioned bulk you would absorb on cardboard archive for a 200-mile IFR cross-country flight.
Try both apps, and you’ll acceptable acquisition that one will ultimately feel appropriate to you. Yes, you charge to yze features, connectivity and appraisement for exceptional features, but additionally absorb some time cerebration about which app you’ll feel adequate with on your lap while aerial a low-ILS admission in turbulence and active rain. That’s what absolutely matters.
While the blueprint and user interface of these apps couldn’t be added different, you’ll bound acquisition afterwards spending some time with both apps that they activity the aforementioned bulk capabilities.
Trip planning Airport/FBO data, preflight acclimate briefing, aircraft achievement profiles, cyberbanking nav log, Flight Service acclimate briefing, acclimate imagery, ICAO flight-plan support
Charts FAA VFR sectionals and TACs, IFR high- and low-altitude en avenue charts, terminal procedures, common Jeppesen VFR/IFR en avenue and terminal procedures
In-flight aeronautics Agenda flight instruments, constructed vision, GPS-driven affective maps with geo-referenced archive and area awareness
Connectivity ADS-B weather, SiriusXM accessory acclimate and entertainment, affiliation with Garmin panel-mount avionics
Digital abettor Weight and balance, logbook, aircraft checklists, clue logging and scratchpad
What you’ll acquisition afterwards application either app is that they absolutely are a one-stop boutique for aggregate you charge to both adapt for and assassinate a flight. The aing footfall is to dig added into anniversary app’s bulk capabilities and see which provider will bear an bend for you based on what, area and how you fly.
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