Plane & Pilot
Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Adventure Pilot iFly GPS For iPad And Android

Full-featured GPS moving map and an electronic flight bag app for tablets

iFly GPS can display weather from the Internet or ADS-B (with a compatible receiver).
Four years ago, Adventure Pilot launched the first in their iFly series of handheld moving-map GPS devices. Since then, they've steadily improved the feature set, but found themselves competing against apps offering similar capability on off-the-shelf tablets. Last December, they responded by offering an app that basically provides the complete iFly feature set on an iPad. Version 8.1, which I tested on an iPad 2, expands the feature set and supports Android-based tablets, as well.

Installation is extremely simple—download the app from Apple's iPad App Store, and on start-up, you'll be prompted to select VFR or IFR and which states you want to cover. I selected California and Nevada, which required 417 MB. The entire U.S., including Alaska and Hawaii, would have required 8.1 GB. You'll want to be on a Wi-Fi connection as downloading that data can take quite awhile otherwise.

Once the data is downloaded, the app will start in its default map mode, which is capable of displaying digitized sectional terminal area and world area charts, plus a proprietary vector chart format and a vector-based weather mode (when connected to the Internet or a compatible ADS-B receiver). IFR users can also display instrument procedures, airport diagrams and low-altitude en route charts. Adventure Pilot uses a proprietary process to enhance digitized charts, which increases their contrast and uses color to highlight special-use airspace. All charts are georeferenced, so you can expect to see GPS-based aircraft position displayed properly.

Across the bottom of the map are a series of buttons. Tap "Flight Plan," and a simple form pops up in which you can enter a departure, destination and optional waypoints ("rubber-band routing" is also supported from the map view). A "Set Altitude" button displays a profile view showing terrain and special-use airspace along the route. Altitude selection is done using "Raise" and "Lower" buttons that are intelligent—single taps give you 50-foot changes, while holding down the buttons give you larger changes. The "Airspaces" button previews any special-use airspace along your route.

Most handheld GPS moving-map devices offer a simulator mode, so you can preview a route or experiment with features while safely on the ground. I've missed that on other iPad moving-map apps, but iFly has it—hidden under the Menu g About buttons. Once simulator mode is started, a set of buttons lets you increase or decrease altitude, airspeed and heading. I found this extremely useful while writing this review as the local weather (including embedded thunderstorms) wasn't suitable for flight-testing.


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