Garmin upgrades iOS flight planning, Android layout

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Garmin recently released its last update of 2015, adding some minor updates to flight planning in the iOS app and a more major change to the Android app. Here’s what to look for.

iOS Updates

First, Garmin has moved its default flight planning service to Lockheed Martin Flight Service instead of DUATS. Many other apps have gone in this direction over the past year, as LMFS offers a modern platform that makes flight plan filing much faster and more reliable. Garmin Pilot users will get an email confirmation when a flight plan is filed, and it’s immediately accessible by Air Traffic Control – not always the case with DUATS filing.

This change also enables filing in the ICAO format, a more complicated flight plan form, but one that is increasingly becoming the standard. There are no settings to change for LMFS filing and it requires no new credentials, so it’s a fairly invisible change for pilots.

Another upgrade in the area of flight planning is the app’s new Trip Planning page. Pilots can now input a new flight plan, then quickly create a NavLog and get a formal Briefing from Flight Service by tapping the options at the bottom of the page.

Garmin Pilot iOS trip planning

Android Updates

Garmin Pilot has long offered what we consider to be the best all around aviation app for Android, with a good mix of powerful features, an easy-to-use interface and solid support. Lately, the app seems to be a little stagnant – it did not see the same number of updates as the iOS app, and it still lacks synthetic vision.

But the most recent update is a good sign, as Garmin has delivered a pretty significant upgrade to the user interface. A new slide-over menu is fast and easy to use, with frequently used tools like the stopwatch, screen lock and brightness settings quickly accessible. This is a small change but a big time-saver in flight. The split screen layout has also been upgraded, with a nice tab-style interface for selecting the bottom half of the screen (widgets, charts, traffic or terrain, for example).

Garmin Pilot Android menu

Version 5.0 for Android also includes some other usability upgrades:

  • Automatic Chart Binders for approach plates, based on your active flight plan
  • More powerful scratch pad section, with option for multiple pages
  • A “night mode” for SafeTaxi diagrams, to preserve night vision
  • The ability to control Garmin’s new VIRB XE video camera from the app

Garmin Pilot for iOS is available in the iTunes App Store, and Garmin Pilot for Android is available in the Google Play Store.

8 COMMENTS

  1. good articles….I am considering buying a plane- and have the goal to havie one as clsoe to 2020 mandate as possible(ADSB). Current candidate has Garmin 696 on the panel conneceted to GNS432W and GTX 327. I need to update to the ES capability. My question here: what monthly and or yarly subscrtiption costs am I incuring and how much are they? Receipt of al this traffic/wx inso seems to be at hidden costs- can you elaborate – PLS?

  2. The GNS430W would be a valid position source, but you would want to add an ADS-B Out transmitter to the panel – the GTX 327 can’t be upgraded. There are a number of options for this: GTX 330ES, GDL 88, GDL 84, Appareo Stratus ESG, L-3 Lynx.

    There is no monthly subscription for the weather or traffic – tax dollars paid for it.

  3. I am very familiar with foreflight subscriptions and regular updates. Is there a rundown of the garmin subscription cost, updates to maps, charts and approach plates?

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