• iPad and Flying in Europe

    by  • 26th July 2011 • post

    For my Euro Trip which I have planned with Ivan Horsky I’ve decided to purchase an iPad 2 to help us with planning and flight tracking.
    The original idea was that we are going to fly around europe in a PA28 which has just a single GNS430 and having a second GPS/Moving Map device would be of advantage.

    I’ve decided to go the iPad route because it was the least expensive solution in my eyes.
    Even the cheapest portable aviation Garmins or Bendix equipment was prohibitively expensive. Going with the cheap and cheerful GPSes wasn’t an option as they lacked loads of functionality as well as the main one … only UK maps. Ipad 2 with 16 GB and 3G was $666(£480) when delivered by my nephew from USA. Garmins and Bendix stuff was starting at £800 ($1200) and the ones which I really liked (Garmin 696 or Bendix AV80R 7 inch ) were £1600 …

    Now how does it work for content. All these expensive GPS devices which I’ve mentioned have it preinstalled. They both have full maps for Atlantic ( US and Europe ) . However iPad comes with none, we have to head to the App Store and experiment.

    I have tried all the leaders like ForeFlight, WingX, EFB and some other ones which popped up in search. The leaders were really leaders, ease of use, interface, perfect.  However I was struggling to find anything with charts for europe! Yes, they had radio nav aids and airports but no charts, only free openstreetmap.org as a basic reference. May I add that radio nav identifiers were badly renamed as well.

    Screenshot from Foreflight

    Foreflight is US centric and pain to plan a route with

    In Foreflight when I’ve tried to “search for a route” ( foreflight you have very bad route planning functionality ) for EGHH DCT LYD DCT ING DCT EDFH I was taken twice across the Atlantic! Why ?? when there is perfect ING VOR between departure and destination airports. Further attempts at easy planning were futile as well, it was always finding nav aids in US instead of nearby me or my route!

    Foreflight however had a nice , very nice airport directory with all the relevant information, missing only the plates.

    Screen shot of Foreflight Airports page

    Foreflights were well designed Airports page

    How do you purchase the plates for Foreflight ? I couldn’t workout.
    Also the overlay of winds , ceiling, temperature and sky coverage on the map is really good.  And the briefings in the Imagery section are really useful even for Europe.
    Another functionality which didn’t work for Europe was Flight Plan filing … it doesn’t work and unless they fix it, it’s useless.
    That made my decision clear. Foreflight was not for Europe.

    I could write about others which I’ve mentioned, why they didn’t work but they had exactly the same limitations. Just bad and what is worse they don’t mention that on their App Store pages.

    However apps that  work for european pilot are there:


    It’s nice, very good for airport WX briefings and they work perfectly well in Europe. It’s free of charge.

    screenshot of AeroWeather

    AeroWeather with great Stations list

    I particularly like that you have very WX presented on the Stations list in very accessible form, wind direction arrow and pressure trends are a brilliant touch.

    Air Navigation Pro

    This is the application which I’ve discovered by accident. Can’t remember where but I definitely didn’t find it in App Store first when searched for “pilot” or “aviation”  ( guys you may work on your marketing there as you can be loosing some downloads ). The application costs 26 pounds.

    This application has all moving map, route planning, airspace and nav aids by default and this is amazing as you can use these with any map or chart beneath.

    Air Navigation Pro screenshot

    Air Navigation Pro with only Airspace and Navaids

    It can be openstreetmap.org which is free but also ICAO Charts! Yes, finally, and guess what, they are available as in app purchase.  No separate account creation no playing around, click wait for download and use.
    I’ve downloaded South England 1:500k and France 1:500k these two charts gave me coverage of whole Benelux as well as Western Germany. Great deal.

    Air Navigation Pro screenshot with charts

    Air Navigation Pro with Charts and airspace and airports and nav aids

    I would recommend looking at their website for all the features as it looks like there is a vast amount, planning, en route, frequencies, imitations of instruments, vertical profile, a logbook …

    It even integrates with your govfr.com account to fetch and push flight plans. The only feature which is missing is submission of Flight Plans to authorities. Also a en route briefing would be lovely.

    This software is growing very fast and I think it’s the only one of that kind of software suitable for flying in Europe at the moment.


    It was harder than I thought , as iPad is very much hyped by US centric media and for a few days after purchase I thought that I’ve fallen into a trap.  With great hopes and loads of research I’ve found iPad software which makes it suitable for VFR flying in Europe.

    What I’m still missing are flight guides like the printed Pooleys one and that’s about it, I believe that Air Nav Pro will soon surpass the market leaders and with euro charts it will be the default go to app for Euro flyers

    happy iPad flying!