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)

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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!

 

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.

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!

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.

Pass Abeam

How do you track directly towards your distant destination, but still have timing points along your route?

You could set up user waypoints along the way, but that could potentially be time consuming.  The answer is AvPlan EFB’s Pass Abeam feature!

Using large, easily visible features along your track you can maintain your straight-through track and still use those features to confirm your navigation.  In some instances, this will save quite a few track miles — therefore time, fuel and money!

For example, consider this simple VFR flight plan:

Before

Note the Summary tells us that it is 225 NM, travelling via those turning points.

Now, try this:

Repeat the above procedure for any intermediate waypoints as appropriate.  Which will give us this result:

Note the overall distance has been reduced to 215 NM, but we still get to use those points as reference whilst flying our plan.

Any Abeam waypoints will be noted by (Abeam) appearing in the waypoint name field within the flight log, and on the map an ‘A’ will appear in the waypoint label before the identifier code.

You can even submit your plan with these type of waypoints.  When submitting your plan, those waypoints will automatically be sent in a format that will be understood by your local air traffic authority (for example, distance and bearing from the original waypoint).

To undo a waypoint that has been set to Pass Abeam, tap and hold its line in the flight log. Then select the option Overfly, that now appears in the same menu position that Pass Abeam held previously.

Give it a try on your next VFR cross-country!

 

 

 

Course Pointer

The course pointer is a favourite feature of mine.  At first it took me a moment to understand what it is telling me, but once I got my head around it I wouldn’t fly without it!

When you’re stationery, it is simply an extension arrow that points out a little bit forward of your aircraft.

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As you begin moving, the arrow begins to stretch out, then numbers appear.  These numbers represent minutes into the future – 2, 5 and 10.  This is your future projected position, assuming track and groundspeed remain unchanged.

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This is constantly being recalculated and updated, so you may see the arrow grow and shrink as you fly along.

To turn it on, tap the Map Settings icon and ensure Course Pointer is ticked:

Turn-on-Course-Pointer

How could this be helpful to you in the cockpit?

An at-a-glance idea of how much ground you will cover in a certain time period – perfect for communicating with other pilots in the vicinity exactly how many minutes you will be when arriving at a particular place or feature ahead of you.

 

Data Downloads

What do all those colours mean?

The Data Downloads page can give you an at-a-glance window into the data you have (or requested to have) stored on your device.  However, many users have not seen all of the possibilities that may occur in terms of the colour combinations on this page – so I thought I’d put a quick explanation together.

Data Downloads Screen

So, there it is!  All of the colour combinations on one screen.  …But what does it all mean?  Let’s break these examples down:

 

NZ

Clear (no shading)

Yet to be selected for download.

 

SE_Aus

Deep Green

Fully downloaded and up to date – MegaVFR, EnRoute Low, ERSA (plus DAP for Pro and IFR subscribers) or AIP in NZ. Country Airstrip Guide subscribers will also have their pages downloaded as well.  This region will be included in updates when the Update button is tapped.

 

WA

Light Green

This area has been downloaded, but set to Leave to Expire.  In this case, once the next round of updates arrives, the data is not renewed and eventually deleted by the app.  If you don’t wish this to occur, simply tap the region and select Do not expire section.  It will then return to a deep green state.

 

SA

Light Grey

At some point, this area has been requested but the download has been halted or cancelled for some reason.  Either the internet connection was severed somehow, or the download has been manually cancelled by the user.  Look for this colour if you tap the Update button, and one particular area you don’t need keeps trying to download – a close inspection of the map will reveal it’s probably looking like this region.  Tap it and select Delete to prevent further attempts to download.

 

NT

Orange

This area is downloaded, but there are updates pending.  This could be all components; or just one small part, like the ERSA for example.  Tap this region and select Download (or tap the Update button), when complete, it will turn deep green once again.

 

QLD

Yellow

This region is in the process of being downloaded.  You’ll also see this reflected in the Downloading slider that appears from the right-hand-side of the screen.

 

So, if there is an extra region that seems to be always downloading when you don’t need it to, or one particular region isn’t behaving like you would expect – it’s because it has been set to one of the above colours at some stage (most likely the light grey).  This is easily fixed by identifying the region with a close inspection of the map, tapping it, and selecting Delete. Fixed!

Route Annotations

Hi Team,

Apologies for missing last week’s tip! My approach to Friday became unstabilised, so I’ve completed a go-around and here I am back for another landing. This one should stick! 

 

Route Annotations – These little signposts posted along your flight plan route can give you some important information about your vertical navigation and be a decision making tool.

Firstly, how to turn them on: From the EnRoute pane, tap the Map Settings icon (top right, two cogs). Then from the list, ensure Route Annotations has a blue tick against it.

Turn on Route Annotation visibility

“I have a route, but I still don’t see them!” I hear you say?

That’s because there is still two small but important ingredients left:

1) A cruise altitude must have been nominated in the flight plan (in order to see Top Of Climb/Top Of Descent), and

2) Fuel must have been loaded on your aircraft in the Planning > Aircraft Loading/Weight and Balance/Fuel Planning page (in order to see Point of No Return).

Example of Route Annotations along a planned route

“How are these calculated?”

The Top of Climb and the Top of Descent are calculated using the data provided in your Aircraft Profile. For example, if your aircraft cruise-climbs at around 600 feet per minute, make sure your profile reflects this for accurate TOC calculations. The descent is the same. When you are flying along and reach TOD, set your aircraft up in a descent similar to that in the profile. I usually set up a nice and comfortable 500 feet per minute descent, so that’s reflected in my aircraft profile, and therefore my flight plans.

Here’s an example with the route roughly lined up with the corresponding points on the Flight Profile view so you can visualise it easier:

Route Annotations Aligned with Profile

“But…What exactly is a PNR?”

The Point of No Return is the point along the stage of your flight plan that with the fuel load upon takeoff, you can fly to, turn around and return to your stage departure airport.  This can become a decision making tool, especially if you are flying over large bodies of water, for example.  A PNR may not be displayed along your route if you can easily make it all the way to your arrival airport and back to your original departure with that stage’s fuel load on board.

If you have a stepped climb planned within your flight plan, the TOC will display at the point you would reach your highest planned cruise altitude.

So, turn these on.  They are a very handy help to vertical navigation!

A closer look at Airspace

A couple of weeks ago, we looked at the Nearest Items popup.  That was a single tap on the map, and shows all things to do with the ground.  Now, it’s time to look at all things in the air – otherwise known as the Select Airspace popup.

The Select Airspace popup appears any time you double-tap the map:

Double tap the map.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You can do this anywhere, and on any map.  Displayed in the resultant list will include all of the known airspace (other than Class G) above that very point.

Tapping any of the entries will momentarily highlight them on the map.  For example, here’s a class C step around Brisbane:

IMG_0423

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

At the bottom of the list in the above picture, you’ll note there are three different kinds of airspace.  The ‘FIA’ entry will display the area frequency for that area.  The class ‘E’ frequency can also be confirmed here too.  Any time you wish to confirm the correct frequencies, you can quickly double-tap near your current position. It also works in New Zealand for the MBZ frequencies:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A little known ability of the Select Airspace popup in Australia is it’s a manual way to request an Area Forecast.  Note that the Forecast Area entry also has a ‘>’ symbol on its right.  This shows you not only the area boundaries, but the Weather pane will be opened and moments later (if you’re connected to data) the selected area forecast will appear.

Area Forecast

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Finally, and probably most importantly, you can select PRD areas to find out further details about them and their status.

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When flying in the United States, being aware of Temporary Flight Restrictions (TFRs) is very important:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Finally, to dismiss the Select Airspace popup, simply tap anywhere outside it.  It works both during the planning phase, and in flight.

Remember: single-tap for the nearest ground-based items (airports, navaids, etc), double-tap to find out about the airspace above.

Enjoy!