Drawing on Plates

Whether it’s making notes to yourself or highlighting important text, the plate drawing feature in the Terminal pane can come in very handy.

To access it, locate the page you wish to annotate via any method you choose (for example, you could use the book icon and search the list, or tap the En Route map/Nearest Items).  Tap the Options button (pencil/notepad icon) at the top of the Terminal page.  You can now select one of the three different pens under the Drawing Options subheading.

HowToDrawOnPlates

Now you’ve selected a pen, you’ll see an “Editing” banner appear at the top of the screen.  You can now proceed to draw to your heart’s content on the page.

Editing

You  can draw/write with any combination of the pens you desire.  Any annotations placed on a plate are stored for future reference, even if you are flying a different flight plan.

Stored annotations can be removed from a plate by tapping the Options button once again and selecting Clear Chart.

What are some possible uses for this feature?

You could use it to highlight important text, or to make sure you’re aware of the circuit direction for particular runways.

CCT_Dir

Before departing on a recent cross-country flight, I noticed that my fuel stop airport had one of its runways NOTAMed that it was temporarily out of service.  To make sure I didn’t forget in the heat of the moment, I placed a big red reminder for myself:

NOTAMd

Finally, if you are operating at a busy or large airport with long or tricky taxiways, you can draw your taxi clearance to make it even easier to follow:

TaxiClearance

Taxi2

So, here’s the best part: the shortcut!

Simply double-tap the screen to quickly enter Editing mode.  When you’re done, double-tap once again to exit Editing.

Keep it in mind the next time you’re working with pages in the Terminal pane.

Freezing Level Overlay

Most pilots (if not all!) will be familiar with the humble Synopic Chart.  Where similar points of pressure are joined with lines, so you can visually get a sense of what is happening in the atmosphere.  Another example of this style of chart would be the contour lines on a topographic map.

In the latest version of AvPlan EFB, we take this concept and apply it to another important consideration for pilots: Freezing Level.  All AvPlan EFB subscribers can access this new overlay.

To turn it on, tap the RADAR icon in the top-right of the En Route pane, then select Freezing Level Forecast.

TurnOnFreezingLayer

The overlay will then look something like this:

Lets have a look at what it is displaying to us.

The numbers represent the freezing level in feet Above Mean Sea Level (AMSL).  The lines join similar levels.  The closer the lines are, the sharper the temperature drop off is.

FreezingLevelExplained

The other advantage of this display is being able to project many hours in the future.

Freezing Level Controls

Use the controls that appear at the bottom of the map to step through the various snapshots of the mathematical model.  You can move through to around 60 hours into the future.  The play button will animate through each frame automatically.

Remember: This layer can be overlaid on top of any map.

To turn it off again, tap the RADAR icon and deselect Freezing Level Forecast.

Add this to your own pre-flight self briefing.

Between a Cessna and a Suzuki

Outback pilot and Avplan EFB user Chris shares some insights into his life on a remote Australian cattle station.  

I’m living on a 60,000 acre (24,281 ha) cattle station approximately 40km north-west of Emerald, Queensland. I grew up in Brisbane and moved to the outback for my first aviation job six months ago. I had about 200 hours and now have double that.

I fly for a cattle company based in Western Qld :

– transporting company employees between our ten properties

– collecting machinery parts

– fire spotting

– general transport of company executives.

So far my job has taken me as far north as the Gulf of Carpentaria and south into New South Wales. Most of my flying is single engine day VFR. I love the diversity of my job and on my days off from flying I help around the farm. One day I’ll be flying half way across Queensland, the next I’ll be on a motorbike mustering cattle.

We currently operate a Cessna 182 and I have experience on types ranging from the Recreational Aviation Jabiru to light piston twins.

It’s been a childhood dream to work as a pilot. Mum says that when I was young I would run to the window every time an aeroplane went by and yell ‘plane plane’. My uncle has his private licence and took me for my first ride when I was about 9 years old. I started flight training while I was in high school, went solo in a Jabiru at 15 and gained my commercial licence and first job at 20.

My first experience with Avplan EFB was in 2014 while completing training for my commercial licence. I am still quite new to the program and am finding out new features every week. It is extremely user friendly and can cater for all types of flying, whether it is for the recreational pilot or the IFR charter pilot.

I particularly like the weather radar overlay, live traffic, user waypoints, distance rings and one of my favourites is the position overlay on the airservices aerodrome charts, which is extremely useful for taxiing at unfamiliar airports.

I have tried to minimise the use of paper charts in the cockpit, using two IPad minis with Avplan EFB installed on both for all of my flight planning. The nav log, fuel planning and weight & balance features of the program save an enormous amount of time in the planning stage. Avplan is most handy when I am given little notice of flights. It’s not uncommon to be out working on the farm and for my boss to call and say “Chris, jump in the plane and go pick up so and so.”

Using Avplan EFB I can key in a flight plan, do the weight and balance, check the weather and be airborne promptly.

My first gig as a commercial pilot saw me flying from Brisbane to a property about 40km due west of Emerald, Qld. I was to pick up the aircraft in Brisbane and my new boss (whom I was yet to meet) provided just the coordinates of the airstrip on the property. I was also given instruction to take his parents along for the ride. Foremost in my mind was that I hadn’t even met the boss yet, I had to fly his parents to an airstrip in the middle of nowhere.

Using the ‘user waypoint’ feature I was able to accurately pinpoint the airstrip.

The weather radar overlay is also a great tool when flying around North Qld in the wet season. Recently I was flying the company CEO between two of our properties. It was late in the afternoon with isolated thunderstorms. Using the ‘weather radar overlay’ feature, I was able to safely divert around the storms.

I think the end goal for every pilot is to, at some point in their career, end up working in the airlines. While I’m young I wish to work in as many different areas of aviation as possible – tourism, corporate, charter and aeromedical are all in mind. I love a challenging job and it would be magnificent to fly in the highlands of the Himalayas or Papua New Guinea and experience the different cultures along the way. The greatest thing is there’s always somewhere different to fly, and a bigger and better aeroplane to aim for.

Chris

First flight on the new job

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Colours of the Outback

 

 

Airspace Overlay

Depending on where you are, aviation maps may give you a lot of information, or they may give you very little.

Airspace is depicted on VNC and Sectional charts, but what about when you’re flying in an area that is only covered by WAC charts?  How do you know if there is airspace around you?

You could double-tap randomly around the place (bringing up the Select Airspace menu), but that would be somewhat inefficient.

A better idea would be to display all known airspace on any map:

NZ

This means that regardless of the type of map you’re looking at, you can still be aware of the types of airspace around you.

To turn it on, tap the Map Settings icon (two cogs, top right) then select View Items.  Tap Airspace and/or Active Airspace to toggle visibility.

AirspaceOverlay

What’s the difference between Airspace and Active Airspace, I hear you ask?

Airspace is purely a static overlay.  It displays all known airspace boundaries regardless if they are presently in effect or not.  Some may only be in use when there is a specific NOTAM.

Active Airspace is a more dynamic overlay, which ties in with the area forecasts and NOTAMs.  AvPlan EFB reads and understands them in the background, then displays them on the map.  This is especially important for Prohibited and Restricted areas.

On the map, you’ll see the PRD area shaded red when active.  When the area has been deactivated, they will become clear with only the outline remaining.

Take this example:

IMG_1985

It’s a small area in the state of New South Wales, between the towns of Nyngan and Bourke.  For VFR pilots this area is only covered by the WAC, so airspace information is not normally displayed.  Turning on Active Airspace reveals this:

IMG_1982

It’s a PRD area, sitting just off the Mitchell Highway.  Double-tapping it and then selecting it from the Select Airspace menu reveals more startling information:

IMG_1983

It’s for a firing range, that can be up to 6000 ft AMSL!  I wouldn’t want to be mixed up with that when rounds are whizzing past.

You’ll notice that the State of this PRD is Check.  Some of the NOTAMS are too tricky for a computer to reliably interpret, so we here at AvPlan EFB err on the side of caution:  If the NOTAM cannot be easily read by the system, we display it red to encourage you (a smart human pilot) to view it and make informed decisions based on the NOTAM text.

Active Airspace also has the ability to display temporary PRDs and Temporary Flight Restrictions (TFRs).  In this case, airspace with an upcoming temporary restriction will be displayed yellow:

image

Double-tapping a temporary restriction will allow you to read the NOTAM(s) about it, just like a regular PRD area.

Then, once active will turn from yellow to red.

Here’s an example of both kinds of overlays working together overlaid on a 250k Topo map.  The blue lines represent controlled airspace, whereas the red lines outline a deactivated PRD.  The active areas can be easily seen in the bottom left hand corner.

The wedge just above the Weather and Text icons is a little darker than the rest.  This is a clue to there being more than one level of active PRD stacked on top of one another.

When newly deactivated, a temporary restriction’s red border will remain, but it will be shaded with a very light grey colour.  After a time, it will disappear entirely.

Don’t forget that both the Airspace and Active Airspace overlays can be selected on IFR charts as well!

During flight, if you are connected to the internet and have Automatic Weather Downloads turned ON (in Settings > User Settings), AvPlan EFB will check for any new NOTAMs every 15 minutes.

Have a try of these settings.  There’s no excuse for being uninformed about the airspace around you at any time!

AvPlan EFB Data Updates, 12 November 2015

Data updates for AvPlan EFB valid from the 12 of November 2015 are now available for download.

For US users there are updated Sectional and IFR approach plates. With this update, we are only sending out map areas which actually have changed, and not updating states which have not changed. This equates to a 50% saving in both update time and bandwidth.

For Australian users there are updated maps (PCA, VTC, VNC, TAC, ERC L and ERC H) for download, a new ERSA and DAP East and West. All updated DAP plates (418 in total) have been geo-referenced.

For New Zealand users there are updated IFR enroute charts and updated NZ AIP for download. We are still waiting for the updated NZ VNC chart, and this will be available for download soon after we receive it.

To download data updates, launch AvPlan EFB on your devices and tap Settings, Data Downloads, Update. The app will download the new data for your selected regions (data downloads will even complete in the background – you don’t need to keep AvPlan EFB in the foreground)

The final touches to AvPlan EFB 6.0 are being completed at the moment. One significant change will be the size of the database updates. If you only have one data area selected (Australia for example), data for just Australia will be downloaded. This equates to a 600% saving in database download size (down to ~10MB from ~60MB). For most users these will complete in the background and you will not need to to wait for these updates to download.

 

Transitioning from Planning to Flying

After you’ve prepared your flight plan, it’s time to go fly it.  Here’s a typical transition from planning phase to the in flight phase:

  • Upon starting up your engine and waiting while the temperatures and pressures to stabilize, set the app to Fly mode.  This will log your Off Blocks time and begin logging your aircraft’s track.

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  • At the correct moment of your choosing (it may differ between VFR and IFR pilots), tap the Departure button along the top of the En Route or Terminal panes. This will log your Actual Departure time, and will be displayed in bold within your flight plan (Under the Estimated Time of Departure (ETD) field.
    • Note: Tapping the Departure button will also set the plan to Fly mode if it hasn’t already been set.

Departure

  • Now your flight plan is active, your plan now effectively also becomes a flight log. You will notice a TO field entered between your previous and next waypoints within the list. This contains live GPS derived data, and you can easily compare between planned versus actual performance. If actual enroute winds turn out to be vastly different from those predicted in the Area Forecast(s), you’ll be able to spot it quickly and easily. The flight log now becomes a powerful decision making tool.

ToField

 

  • If you are busy during startup and taxi, and you don’t get a chance to tap Fly or Departure, AvPlan EFB will do those steps for you when you climb 100 feet above and depart beyond 3 NM of your departure airport. The Departure time noted won’t be as accurate as when the pilot taps the Departure button at the correct moment, but at least it will be close.
    • Note: This feature requires two settings within Settings > User Settings to be in place:
      1. Waypoint auto-sequencing must be ticked
      2. Disable moving map mode must be un-ticked
  • Each time you pass a waypoint within the flight plan/log, the TO field will move down the list of waypoints accordingly. When moving from one leg to the next, your Actual Time of Arrival (ATA) is logged.
  • If you are unhappy with the auto-sequencing, you can use the Previous Leg or Next Leg buttons as many times as necessary to manually cycle through to the correct leg.

PreviousLegNextLeg

  • Tapping the name field (large white box on left edge of flight plan entry) of an airport within your flight plan is a handy shortcut to the Terminal pane information about that place.
  • AvPlan EFB will automatically sense when you land. Once you’ve taxied back to the parking area and shut off the engine, tap the Plan button. This will log your On Blocks time and cease track logging.
  • Review the overall times for entry in your logbook by visiting Planning > Log Flight.
  • Close and store the flight plan by tapping the <Stored Plans button.