Most tablet and smartphone apps for the cockpit are still unapproved gadgets, but they are becoming increasingly capable – and fun to play around with. Locally designed Kwik EFIS is worth checking out.
iPads are still the most popular tablets in the cockpit, but Android’s open source ethos allows anyone to design an app and present it to the public. And that is what Dawie Botes, ‘ninelima’ on www.avcom.co.za, has done. He has developed an EFIS app for Android devices, and in the spirit of Android and appealing to entitled Millennials, has made it available for free.
The latest smart phones and tablets are remarkable gadgets, with miniature solid state gyros and accelerometers. Complex air driven gyros have been replaced with tiny chips, so that your phone can measure angular acceleration and rotation to give accurate roll, bank, pitch and yaw readings. Throw in a GPS and you can determine position and velocity as well.
Of course, Dawie’s Kwik EFIS is not the first smartphone or tablet EFIS on the market, but what separates it from the others is that the full version is free, and it comes with a comprehensive database of airports in the USA, Canada, South Africa and Australia. You can select any airport that is in the database and get the bearing and distance to that location. There is also an optional flight director, which, once you have assigned a flight level, will guide you to the airport at your chosen altitude.
The display is standard EFIS, with an attitude indicator bordered by altitude and ground speed – not indicated airspeed – tapes. Altitude is determined by GPS. Magnetic heading is displayed at the top of the screen, and the turn co-ordinator ball is at the bottom. The V speeds are displayed according to the aircraft you have selected from the database. This means you are restricted to certain types of aircraft if you want the white, green, yellow and red arcs to be accurate. A nice upgrade would be the option of inputting aircraft and waypoint data.
Down the left-hand side of the screen, the distance and bearing to the nearest airport is displayed. Below that are the co-ordinates of your present location and remaining battery on the device. Then there is a compass rose with pointers to your nearest and selected waypoints in the bottom left corner of the screen.
Kwik EFIS packs a whole lot of useful information onto one EFIS screen. The aircraft and airport databases are a useful extra over many of the other EFIS apps out there, and you can get it all for free from Dawie’s website:
And on Amazon.com: