Sharing Your Location With Others

Last week, I touched upon sharing a particular flight plan with friends or loved-ones.  But what if you don’t wish to have to send a flight plan or link each time you take to the sky?  What if you could send a single link to the important people in your life so they can watch any flight you participate in?

Well…With our new AvPlan Cloud’s My Location capability, you can!  Here’s how:

Firstly, you need to log in to the AvPlan Cloud site at www.avplan-efb.com/manage  Your login is the same username and password that you use both within the AvPlan EFB app and the main AvPlan EFB website – no need to have different logins!

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Once logged in, select the My Location option from the list on the left-hand-side of the page.

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The page that opens will contain a large map, showing the last reported location of your tablet whilst running AvPlan EFB or Lite with AvPlan Live option active.  This map is for your own information – it’s not the actual map you’ll share with friends.

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Scroll to the bottom of this page, and you’ll see a Share Link field.  That long URL (or web link) is what you will send to others.  To do so, click in that field and select the entire link.  From there, you can open your email program and paste this link into the body of the email.  Send it to those you wish to see your flight progress each time you fly.

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Your loved-ones will tap on that link, and a glorious full page map window will appear in their web browser.   Tap on the aircraft icon to see your callsign, height and speed information.  While your aircraft is selected, your track from the last 24 hours of your flying is also displayed.

They can bookmark this link and simply return to it each time – no logging in or sharing each flight plan required!  If you move on to a new/different flight plan, the link will still work.

If you no longer wish to have those particular people follow your flight plan, you can return to your AvPlan Cloud page, navigate back to the My Location option and tap the Change Link button (see above).  This will, a) disable the current link and b) generate a brand new randomised link that you can then re-share if you wish.

Remember to enable the AvPlan Live feature on your tablet (Settings > User Settings > AvPlan Live), have the app in Fly mode  and have an internet connection in flight for this feature to work.

Make your loved-ones happy! Try it out on your next flight – it’s a feature available to all AvPlan EFB and AvPlan Lite subscribers.

 

 

 

 

Sharing Your Flight Plan With Others

There may be many times that you’d like to share your flight live with others on the ground.  They could be friends interested in aviation – jealous of your awesome airborne adventures – or they could be loved ones that simply wish to ensure you’re safely making progress to your destination.

Either way, once you’ve put your plan together AvPlan EFB makes sharing your flight live with other people very easy.

To do so, tap the Send/Share icon below the flight log.  From the list, select Email Flight Plan.

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You’ll be presented with a fresh email, containing a screenshot of your map page (so it’s a good idea to zoom out to see the whole plan before sending), a link and a GPX file.  The attached GPX file can be imported into Google Earth for a detailed visualisation of your plan.

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Type in the email address(es) of your intended recipients.  Encourage your friends/loved ones to tap on the hyperlink.  This will take them to a special mini-website for that particular flight plan.  There’s nothing they need to do to start it, as the map will update itself automatically.

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Only people that have the exact link will be able to view this plan.  To make sure that they’ll be able to see your live progress, make sure you have AvPlan Live activated (tap Settings > User Settings > AvPlan Live) and you have a data connection for your iPad/iPhone in the air.

If you happen to tap the Email Flight Plan option and your email doesn’t have a link within it, then do these few steps:

  1. Go to www.avplan-efb.com
  2. Tap My Flights/Login and log in with your AvPlan EFB credentials (the same email address/password you log into the app with)
  3. Find your flight plan in the list and tap the Share option.  When it has been set to the Share mode successfully, you’ll see the option change to Unshare.

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Remember: This method of sharing is on a per plan basis.  When you move on to a different flight plan, your track won’t be shown on this particular shared flight.  If you’d like to have a blanket share option for any plan that doesn’t require a specific sharing process each time, I’ll cover that in a future post.

So, give flight plan sharing a try!

Critical Point

Eagle-eyed PRO Upgrade subscribers may have noticed a new Route Annotation popping up along their flight plan.

It’s a little sign saying CP. What’s it all about, and why should we be interested?

CP stands for Critical Point, or as it’s also referred to – equal time point. It’s the point along the route, when taking into consideration TAS and forecast winds that it will take the same amount of time to proceed to your destination as it would to about-turn and fly back to your departure airport. Note that this point is not the half-way point in your flight plan by mileage, and is not fixed – it may change when flying the same route from day to day. Different wind situations will change this point. For example, if you have a strong forecast headwind all the way to your destination, the Critical Point will sit much closer to your destination than to home.

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One critical point is ok for unpressurised single-engine aircraft… But what if you also need to consider emergency situations in twin-engine or pressurised aircraft?

Now, you can have the critical point calculated for normal cruise, and a reduced speed cruise scenario. For example, it could be single engine performance for a twin, or a lower-level depressurised cruise for a turbine aircraft. You’ll see CP, plus CP 2 at another point along the route.

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To set the dual calculations up, simply work out what your reduced TAS would be. Tap Settings > Aircraft Type Database > [your type] > Basic Performance. Scroll to the bottom of the list – second from the bottom, you will see ‘Reduced TAS (for CP calculations)’. Tap in that field, enter your reduced TAS and tap the return key. Tap the back button (top left of screen: ” < ” symbol) two to three times, until you are prompted to save your changes. Making sure to select Save.

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Now, when you flight plan with that aircraft you should see CP and CP 2 a little further along. CP being the ‘normal cruise’ and CP 2 being the ‘abnormal situation’ calculation.

If you have entered a Reduced TAS accidentally and no longer need the two CP calculations, simply set it to zero and it will return to the single CP.

If you’re a PRO Upgrade subscriber, give this a try!  If not, but you’d like to upgrade to access this and many other advanced features, you can purchase the PRO Upgrade subscription from our Web Store:  http://www.avplan-efb.com/shop/

Traffic Trails

Have you ever been watching traffic on the map and wondered what their next move might be?  Now you can make an educated guess…

New in AvPlan EFB 6.0, double-tapping on a traffic icon will bring up its available previous track.

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Note that the available lengths of the trail depends on the traffic type and how long the iPad has been able to ‘observe’ it.  If you’ve just started AvPlan EFB and tapped on a traffic icon, you’ll only see a very short trail.  If AvPlan EFB has been running for some time, you’ll see much longer trail.  ADSB traffic is only observed for a certain time.

If you’d like to see AvPlan Live traffic, read about turning it on here.

To clear a trail from the map, simply double-tap the traffic icon once again.  The trail will be hidden from view but will continue to be observed for later viewing.

Give it a try!

Infrared Satellite Overlay

Most pilots will be used to looking at the Rain RADAR overlay; it’s a great tool, however this does not necessarily show the whole weather picture.

If you include RADAR rain returns and also look at a satellite-based infrared as part of your weather self-brief during preflight preparation, you’ll have a much clearer picture of the whole weather situation.  That’s where AvPlan EFB’s Infrared Satellite overlay comes into play.

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To turn the layer on, from the En Route pane tap the Weather Overlays button (RADAR icon).  From the list, tap Infrared Satellite.  After a few seconds the data will load, and you will be presented with a representation of the cloud cover/moisture in the air.

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This weather product is a global one, so you can zoom out as much as you’d like to get the ‘biiiig picture’:

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You can use the arrow buttons that appear at the bottom of the screen to step forwards or backwards through the most recent frames.  If you’d like to view them in an automatic loop, tap the play button.

To access this feature in flight, you’ll need to be connected to data – either via an internal sim card, a portable cellular WiFi router, or by hot-spotting your smartphone.

This weather overlay is a often forgotten one by pilots, but can be very informative if you know what to look for.   It can also be combined with the Lightning Overlay to give an amazing picture of any active CBs or TCUs:

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Give it a try when preparing for your next flight!

 

Aircraft Defaults

If you have an aircraft that is flown in a similar loading or setup, you can save time each and every new flight plan by having pre-set-up weights and loadings.

For example:  You have a two-seat aircraft that you fly almost all the time with your favourite co-pilot.  It’s always refuelled at the end of each flight and you always carry the same flight bag and tie-down kit with you.

Another example could be a commercial aircraft that always carries a particular piece of equipment in it for every flight – like a tie-down kit, survey camera, etc.

In these scenarios, you can have these stored in your aircraft profile so every time you create a flight plan, those details are already pre-filled.

So…How do you do it?

Tap Settings > Aircraft Type Database > [Your Type] > [Your Registration].  Scroll down to the bottom of the list, where you should see the subheading: AIRCRAFT DEFAULTS.

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What does it all mean?

Default POB:  Enter a number here, and it will be entered in the Persons On Board field on the Planning > Aircraft Loading/Weight and Balance/Fuel Planning page. (see below)

Default Taxi Fuel:  Enter the number representing your usual amount of fuel burned during startup, warmup, run-ups and taxiing to the end of the farthest runway.  Just enter the number and tap return.  AvPlan EFB will append whether it is pounds, litres, kilograms, US gallons which are derived from the aircraft’s profile.  For example, a small four cylinder engine might only need 3 litres (see below), whereas a large high performance engine might need 2 gallons or more.  Turbines – even more! If in doubt, err on the slightly higher side to be safe.  This figure will be added in the Fuel Table on the Planning > Aircraft Loading/Weight and Balance/Fuel Planning page.

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Default Loading: Brings up a new list of options.  The items listed here are derived from the weight and balance setup of your aircraft profile.  You’ll see your load stations and fuel tanks listed.  Enter the weights/fuel loads as appropriate.

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Survival Equipment:  Shows a list of regular safety equipment carried on flights.  Select the options you carry each flight and these will be automatically sent with your flight plan submission.

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Once you’ve entered these details, tap the back button found at the top-left of the page preceded with a < symbol.  Each time you tap the back button, the preceding page title is displayed.  Tap this back button until you return to the Aircraft Type Database main list, which might be three or four times.  When AvPlan EFB prompts you, tap Save to commit your changes to your aircraft profile.  If you ever wish to change your defaults, simply return to this menu and make the necessary adjustments.

To see these default loadings in action, simply begin a new flight plan and make sure that your particular registration is selected (if it’s not, tap the hollow aircraft icon below the flight plan and select your aircraft’s registration from the list).

Add some waypoints, then tap Planning > Aircraft Loading/Weight and Balance/Fuel Planning.  You should now already see those details entered in the loading stations, POB and taxi fuel.

If there does happen to be a variance from the defaults to a current flight (for example, your co-pilot is not available or you only have three-quarters fuel), you can quickly amend them for this flight.  It won’t effect future flight plans.

Try it – it could save you time!

Electronic Ruler

Electronic maps are wonderful things! No more folding, ripping or replacing.

However, one thing that is eroded ever so slightly with electronic mapping is the sense of map scale; owing to the fact that it can be constantly panned and zoomed through multiple map types. On a paper map, only one map at a time and all remains fixed.

How do we make up for this in a constantly adjustable digital world? Easy.  Have you ever been flying along and want to know exactly how far that town/mountain/lake/airport/landmark is away?

Enter the digital ruler.

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Simply place two fingers slightly spread apart (as if you were going to zoom out, but don’t) on to the map and hold for a second or two.

Between and slightly above your fingers, the ruler should appear. It doesn’t even have to be perfectly aligned with the objects you wish to measure at this time…

Once it’s visible, while keeping your two fingers on the screen you can then spread/contract/twist/drag to align it with your desired measurement.

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Once the ruler is satisfactorily aligned, simply remove your fingers from the screen and the ruler will remain in place. You can even continue to pan around the map with one finger and the ruler will stay in the assigned position relative to the map.

The ruler displays the great circle distance between the end points, plus a magnetic bearing.  Why is Great Circle distance important?  It’s not a big deal for short distances, but for measuring larger ones it makes for a much more accurate measurement… This is why it looks bent over a long distance!

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To clear the ruler, you can repeat the process and create a brand new ruler somewhere else, or simply zoom the map slightly. The moment the map is zoomed in or out, the current ruler is cleared.

You’re flying along and you’ve suddenly got a passenger feeling ill? Want to measure the closest suitable airport distances/bearings before committing to a diversion? Seen an AvPlan Live traffic target appeared on the map nearby and you’d like to know how far away it is? Now you know how to – just some of it’s many uses!

Glide

Have you wanted to use the Aircraft Glide envelope, but don’t have the necessary details to get it going?
Let’s have a look at what’s involved.
First, turning the function on.  From the En Route pane, tap the Map Settings icon (two cogs, top right) > View Items > Airport Glide Range.
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If your currently select aircraft profile already contains the necessary details – great!  You won’t see the above dialogue box.  When you next take off, you’ll see the green shape grow around your aircraft icon as you climb higher and higher.  It’ll also change shape if you’re flying near significant terrain:
If your aircraft does not yet contain the necessary information, you will be prompted with a small window (see above).  The two fields with red text (Glide Ratio, Glide IAS) are required data, Minimum Runway Length is an optional field.  We’ll discuss why a little later.
First, let’s discuss the Glide IAS field.  That’s pretty straightforward.  We all should know the best glide speed for the aircraft we fly.  Place that in this field.  If your best glide speed changes with your gross weight, enter the figure associated with MTOW, that way it’s only going to get better as you burn fuel.  AvPlan EFB needs to know this figure because it takes into account how your aircraft will be affected by forecast winds during the glide simulation.
What goes in the Glide Ratio field?
Well, if you already know the glide ratio you can type it in here.  If your aircraft’s glide ratio is 10:1, we at AvPlan take the :1 part as a given, so simply enter 10 in the field.  You can also enter figures with up to two decimal places here.  For example, if your aircraft POH says the glide ratio is 8.92:1, then simply type 8.92 and tap return.
My POH just gives me a graph – not a ratio.  How do I work it out?
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Take an example altitude – one that lines up nicely with a distance.  In this case, 8000 feet lines up well with 12 Nautical Miles.  Right now, we’re comparing apples to oranges.  In order to work out a ratio, we need to compare apples to apples by converting Nautical Miles to Feet.  You can do this by multiplying the Nautical Miles figure by 6076.12.
This equals 72913.4.  Now we have apples to compare. Divide that number by the height.  72913.4/8000 = 9.114175.   There you have it!  Tap Settings > Aircraft Type Database > [your type] > Basic Performance and scroll to the bottom to enter 9.11 in the glide ratio field.  Tap the back button two or three times and select Save when prompted.
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What about Minimum Runway Length?
The minimum runway length is used by the Pro Upgrade subscribers as a flight planning tool.  Any airports with known runways shorter than the figure you set will not be taken into account by the Glide algorithm.  If you are a VFR-Standard subscriber without Pro, you don’t have to enter a figure in this field.
You can read more about how the Airport Glide Range works in flight and during planning by going to section 5.13 in the AvPlan EFB User Manual.

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.

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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.

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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:

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

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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.

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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!

 

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:

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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.

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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!