Flight Guide Online, by Airguide Publications Inc., offers pilots a vast amount of information with their subscriptions. It’s also low in cost and physically small (it resides on your laptop, as if it were paper, but it’s not paper, it’s more convenient and has a lot more features).
“Convenience” is the byword. The Flight Guide manual was born of necessity in the 1960s, when charts didn’t carry enough information. Now that we have arguably “too much” information in front of us—appearing on too-small paper—the modern online version is designed to take the info pilots want and present it with a minimum of clutter as quickly and intuitively as possible, so time isn’t wasted wading through useless info, deciphering overcrowded plates or just not knowing where to look for stuff.
Flight Guide Online targets owner-operators, those who perform nonroutine flying and have small (or nonexisting) support staff, and smaller flight departments. The info is presented quickly (with minimum energy devoted to searching for it) and in a useful format.
Before Your Trip
The home page provides immediate access to airport information: See an airport diagram with elevation, pattern altitudes and approach procedures, FSS hours of operation, phone numbers for the field, names of select businesses at the field (and live links to them), noise abatement recommendations, radio stations and nearby VORs, pilot-controlled lighting information, as well as “government” information (such as Customs or AWOS, ATIS, ASOS, Unicom and instrument landing information).
The airport diagrams are clear, not scanned reproductions of government documents. Airguide actually draws them with useful details, such as taxiway designators and FBO locations, and then submits them to airport managers for comments, updates and corrections.
Alternates are also easy to vet and find; storing info for ready reference will prevent a lot of fumbling around in the air or sorting through any unsuitable landing sites that your friendly GPS may serve up. Suppose you want only airports with an ILS or airports with runways of a certain minimum length or width or with a snack shop—you can set your search and qualification parameters to fit your needs.
The manual allows you to know what you’re looking for before you go. Flight Guide Online also incorporates Google Maps automatically, so you can see recent satellite views of the airport and the surrounding area as it really looks. Double-click to enlarge—it’s right in front of you.
|Airguide Publication’s online version of its Flight Guide manual offers pilots instant access to flight planning information, including airport data, satellite images and user blogs.|
Your Accountant And Your Mechanic Will Like It
You can use Flight Guide Online to save your flight logs and expenses, as a double-check against paper logs or to keep track of en route repair records. Save your information in your Flight Guide account. It’s painless, and when you plan a similar trip or plan to include any of the same airports, you can use your existing information to compose new flight plans.
Like A Club Membership
Flight Guide Online allows subscribers to add comments and notes to a common notepad, a “pilots’ blog,” if you will. Comments about the airport, facilities and nearby support and attractions are allowed into the online comment section for all to read. Users can input info on construction, airport changes, tricky approaches under various conditions and so on. This feature could also be useful to a group that plans to meet—set up the who, what, when and where in a ready-reference spot.
It’s (Mostly) Better Than Paper
Like all our favorite official paperwork, Flight Guide Online includes runway diagrams for all listed airports, but it also includes taxiways, business locations (the businesses are numbered and correlate to the links where you can find fuel types and prices—with live updates, courtesy of your fellow users), hours, services, whether they’re monitoring UNICOM—even the availability of a courtesy car. And, unlike paper editions, which come out every six months, Flight Guide Online is updated continuously; NOTAMs are also formally checked daily.
If there’s a change, it’s available online right away, not like print revisions. Even so, a lot of people like paper, and the Flight Guide’s “enhanced service” option allows you to print all pages rather than just the revisions. The online edition lacks margins for scribbling notes, but there’s a useful “comment” area, where you can not only make notes, but also find them again.
Paper lovers can choose between printing on standard-sized or kneeboard-sized (5.5×8.5-inch) paper. This way, you can have the comfort of paper that’s up to date. It’s good for your trip logs, too: just print out your entire trip—route, fuel, even where you tied down (which may become useful, in the event of a mechanical or security problem).
Because Flight Guide Online isn’t intended to replace the Flight Guide paper manual, and since there are still some advantages to paper, the Flight Guide comes in three versions, keyed to convenience. You can get the changes only, you can get the entire guide or you can get everything except the binder—a duplicate manual, all collated and ready to clip into the binder. (The old one can go to your students or the local school.) For more, contact Airguide Publications Inc. at www.flightguide.com or (800) FLY-FLY1.