Today’s cockpits, whether in an airliner or LSA, are incomplete without an iPad running flying apps. The latest offering to the private pilot in South Africa is Jeppesen’s new Mobile FliteDeck VFR.
Worldwide, Jeppesen is the go-to provider of aviation maps, IFR plates and aviation information, and their Mobile FliteDeck and FliteDeck Pro are already staples in the commercial environment. The Mobile FliteDeck VFR brings those apps’ high-end functionality to the VFR cockpit, and although it’s a US-based company, Jeppesen has all the VFR charts and information for South Africa – including Lesotho and Swaziland – although other southern African countries aren’t covered at time of writing, and the database doesn’t include some of South Africa’s small private airfields.
Because it’s a Jeppesen product, you know the maps are detailed and well-presented. They are fully geo-referenced and include arrival routes, traffic patterns and runway and taxi information at popular airports. User waypoints are also easily entered and named.
En-route, the app functions as a standard moving map/navigation programme. On engine start-up, launch the app, and it will then recognise off-block time when you start taxiing, takeoff time and so on. A clever feature is that the map zooms in as you arrive at the airfield, and once you have landed, the airport plan and your location at the airport is displayed, so you won’t find yourself getting lost as you taxi under ATC’s nose. Tapping on an airport brings up all the airport’s information, including frequencies, fuel availability, operational hours, facilities and more.
Route planning is painless. You can plot on the map, or search for locations and add them to the flightplan, while the app calculates route distance and times and generates a detailed navigational log. Weather and NOTAMs along the route are provided automatically, and there is also an option to save frequently flown routes.
Pilots have full control over how planned flights are organised and saved, by being able to re-arrange and group them in folders. All administrative data is kept in one place, and it allows the user to enter his/her pilot licence and medical information on the app. Pilots can also create, edit and organise each aircraft’s profile, or set a default aircraft – handy for nav log calculations.
There is a free 30-day trial, and you get two iPad installations per subscription, which gives a 28-day charting update cycle and permanent updates for NOTAM, METAR, TAF and significant weather forecast overlays.
Jeppesen’s Mobile FliteDeck VFR is available for all iPads supporting iOS 10 or higher and requires two to six GB of storage. The storage capacity requirement depends on the size of the coverage area downloaded. A reliable Wi-Fi or cellular internet connection is needed to download updates, and in the air you need an iPad with cellular connectivity to update weather information (e.g. METARs and TAFs).
Jeppesen’s Mobile FliteDeck VFR is available from Wings ‘n Things at Lanseria or Grand Central and sells for R2,999 for the annual service, while a 30-day subscription costs R1,059. Contact Wings ‘n Things on: 011 701 3209 or email email@example.com.