Stadium TFRs

AvPlan EFB for iOS now includes stadium TFRs (as well as other published TFRs). TFRs which will be active in the coming days will be yellow, and ones which will be active within the hour, or are active, are red.

Double tap on the TFR to view the current status and any applicable NOTAM

 

AvPlan Live Traffic

See other AvPlan Live enabled users right on your map – no special equipment needed!

AvPlan Live uses your internet connected device to send your position to our server every 15 seconds.  The server then sends back the current positions of other AvPlan Live enabled users and they can be displayed directly on any map.

Traffic3

To enable it:

  1. Turn on AvPlan Live: Tap Settings > User Settings and ensure AvPlan Live is ticked.
  2. Enable visibility of the traffic on the map.  Tap EnRoute > Map Settings (two cogs icon) and ensure that Traffic is ticked.

TrafficHowTo2

Once enabled, traffic will appear as a cyan arrowhead with some data next to it.  These figures are GPS derived height in feet AMSL and groundspeed below.  If you zoom in far enough, you’ll also see a long extension out the front of the arrowhead.  That’s a One Minute Prediction marker.   In a similar way to the Course Pointer, it projects into the future assuming speed and heading remain unchanged. See below:

OneMinute

If you have a georeferenced plate shown on the map, the traffic will also appear on it:

OneMinuteMark

When you’re in flight, you’ll also see a traffic target following along with you (see below).  That’s not someone trying to shadow you, rather it’s your confirmation that you’re successfully sending out your position to the system, and therefore others can see you.

Traffic

In order for your position to be visible to others, you must be ‘in flight’:

  • You must be in Fly mode,
  • You must be travelling above taxiing speed and higher than 100 feet AGL.

Your location won’t be broadcast while you’re in the Aero Club having a cup of tea, or at home on the couch!   However, even while stationary you’ll continue to see other airborne traffic.

Note that this is a situational awareness tool only, and as it is using the wireless data networks it must not be relied upon.  Aircraft who lose connectivity to data may not be displayed for a time until connectivity is re-established.

Bearing that in mind, AvPlan Live traffic can serve as a great extension to your situational awareness.  The more users that enable this feature, the more traffic we’ll be able to see as we fly around.

Turn it on and see for yourself!

 

Flying Virtuosi

WE THANK the Australian musician, James Morrison and his brother John for inflicting the aviation bug on ABC radio producer, Lyn Gallacher.

Lyn knew little about flying and even less about navigating, but a work trip to outback Australia with the Avplan EFB customers-musician-pilots at the helm, changed all that. Surprisingly (to Lyn) she loved every airborne minute and even more surprisingly (to everyone) she is now learning to fly at the small rural aerodrome at Leongatha near her Victorian home.

Story + photos by Lyn Gallacher

The Music Tour That Became All About Flying: Well that’s how it turned out for me.

Earlier this year I was invited by the Queensland Music Festival (QMF) to tag along with Ian Cooper and Ambre Hammond as they performed classical and gypsy music in remote corners of Far North Queensland.

Five of us, with a whole heap of sound gear and not-too-many-spare-pairs-of-shoes, piled into a Piper Navajo with AvPlan EFB as our best friend and primary flight planning tool for this tricky landscape. We even shared our breakfast with it.

This trip was the second leg of a tour that began with QMF Festival Director and sax player James Morrison at the helm. The pilot for our section was his brother John, who is also a brilliant drummer.

Our leg was Burketown-Weipa-Aurukun-Hope Vale-Atherton-Innisfail. After I left, the others continued to Palm Island, Charters Towers and Gladstone.

Prior to this tour I knew nothing about small planes and had even less interest in them. Now, because of this experience I am learning to fly. It changed my life.

I have 9 hours in my logbook. I have an ARN. And my CASA medical is booked for next week. But, it was not meant to be this way. This was supposed to be a story about music. And that is just it. The musicians WERE wonderful. Ambre and Ian are incredible performers. Everywhere we went audiences knew they were being treated to something special. Who could imagine dropping into a world-class classical music concert in Burketown? Some of the children in Arakun and Hopevale had never seen a violin before, let alone heard Rachmaninoff. It was remarkable. Nevertheless, what made it remarkable was the aeroplane, and how it got us from place to place.

Lyn FNQ 2Lyn FNQ 3

As part of the radio program, I recorded much of the cockpit chatter between John and Ian. Here were two astounding musicians (Ian Cooper was our co-pilot) who were as comfortable flying as they were on stage. Listening to their banter about cloud-cover, bird strike and the dubious drunken information given to us from locals about a seldom-visited airstrip on which we were about to land was hilarious. And as I recorded the sound I found myself locking into aviation language. It was a whole other world.

From my passenger position I could see John’s iPad displaying AvPlan EFB on the dash and I started to tie in what I could see on the screen with what was out of the window. Our flight up the Gulf of Carpentaria was spectacular, but what made it even more spectacular was that this wasn’t just a scenic flight. We had a mission—to bring music to remote communities—which meant performances in the evening and schools workshops during the day. It was exhausting, demanding and exhilarating work. Yet the music was, and is, what professional musicians do all the time.

Lyn FNQ 1Lyn FNQ 7

Flying, however, is different. We got to places that would not have been possible to access any other way and we met people who we could not have otherwise encountered. I saw an Australia I’d never imagined, and I saw how important small planes are in these locations.

Just as music serves as connective tissue between odd cross-sections of humanity, so does flying. But you, as an AvPlan EFB blog reader already know this. I’m a bit slow catching on, but I’ve got it now.

Lyn Gallachor is an ABC RN Producer-Earshot 

Lyn’s show about the trip went to air on 16 December, 2015.

Lyn FNQ 6Lyn FNQ 4Lyn FNQ 9Lyn FNQ 10

 

Keeping Your EFB Cool

Things are starting to really heat up for those flying down in the Southern Hemisphere.  However, it doesn’t just take the Summer season for things to get hot in the cockpit.  On a clear sunny day, it doesn’t take long for a bubble-canopy-type aircraft to become a human terrarium.

There are some things you can do to reduce the chance of getting that dreaded over temperature shutdown:

overheat

Firstly, iPads radiate much of their heat out of the back panel (the one with the big Apple logo on it).  If you are able to free this as much as possible so air can flow around it, that’s good.  If you can direct fresh air on to it from a duct or two, even better!

Secondly, if you land somewhere and stop in for a cool refreshing beverage, do not leave your iPad up on the glare shield.  It’s very tempting to pop it up there while getting out of the aircraft, but only a few minutes up there will turn your iPad to the electronic equivalent of well-done steak!  Always take care about where you store the iPad so it’s well out of the sun.

Next, you may wish to consider using AvPlan EFB’s relatively new Fade to Black feature – where you set a pre-determined time for the screen to dim after inactivity (such as touching the screen).  The screen and backlight are turned off during this time, thus reducing some of the internal heat produced.  In bright sunlight, the backlight is generally automatically bumped up by the operating system to its maximum brightness level.

To enable this feature, tap the Sun icon at the top of any of the En Route, Terminal, Weather, Text or Notepad pages.

Untitled

Tap the switch (it will highlight green to indicate it’s on) and then move the lower slider to select the desired time interval.

If you wish to view the screen once it has faded to black, simply tap the screen a single time to return it to normal mode. The screen will fade back to black once again when the screen is untouched for the specified time.

Whilst the screen is faded to black, the application is still in the foreground and remains fully functional. Track logging, AvPlan Live output, aural warnings, are all still active.  This is in contrast either to closing the smart cover, pressing the sleep/wake button or backgrounding the app (i.e. pressing the Home button).  Also, one secondary advantage of Fade to Black is that it can also reduce the drain on the iPad’s battery.

Finally, if you have done all you can to prevent an overheat situation and it still occurs – simply grab your backup iPad, open it up, select the correct flight plan (the flight plan should have been synced though our cloud service) and continue on like nothing has happened.  Remember: we encourage everyone to have a backup device (or even two), so your subscription covers up to three of your devices.

Stay cool!

Runway Centreline Extensions

These very handy little lines can be displayed on the map for your planned departure and arrival airports.

Turning them on:

Tap the Map Settings button (two cogs icon, top right of En Route screen) > View Items and select Runway Centrelines.

RunwayExtensions

What do they display?

These extensions project out the centreline exactly five nautical miles from each threshold, with a label outlining the runway name.  These are able to be displayed on any type of map.

IMG_2025

Why is one runway green?

Airports that also feature a METAR station on the grounds, have the added bonus of highlighting the most into wind runway.  Note, however that this is NOT necessarily the duty runway at an airport (controlled or otherwise).  For operational reasons ATC or local traffic may use a different runway.

How come it only appears for some airports?

Not all airports in our NavData database contain encoded runway length/alignment information.  Certified, Military and Registered airports, will generally have this data. Most ALAs, for example, don’t have the necessary information (however, there are a couple of exceptions for larger ALAs).   In New Zealand, all known paved runways will display the extensions.   Private airstrips will not display the extensions.

I’ve turned it on, but they still aren’t showing!

No worries, there are a couple of things to make sure you have in place:

  • Runway Centrelines is turned on (see above).
  • You have a flight plan open and it contains one or more airports.
  • The airport you’re looking at is designated as either a takeoff or landing point – runways for intermediate turning point airports (i.e. that you overfly) will not be displayed.
  • The airport has the necessary data (i.e. is a Certified, Military or Registered airport)

IMG_0464

So, turn them on for your next flight plan.  They’re great for building a mental picture of what the traffic pattern may look like when you arrive at an airport!

 

Sagetech Clarity

We’ve just had word from the supplier of the Clarity that this product has been discontinued and is no longer for sale. Although you cannot purchase a new device, we will continue to support those who have purchased this unit.

We will have some other options for commercial portable ADSB units available in the near future.

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!