Garmin released the first big update for 2017 this week, adding a variety of features designed to improve safety, connectivity and convenience when flying with the app. By utilizing their expertise in panel-mount avionics development and integrating closely with Garmin hardware accessories, the app continues to introduce functionality not available in any other EFB app.
Garmin Pilot 8.6 adds a new fuel planner to the trip planning section of the app, the ability to add photos to the logbook, auto-logging of flight time, new SiriusXM hazardous weather overlays, compatibility with the inReach messenger to send in-flight text messages and checklist improvements.
Let’s first take a look at the new fuel planner feature in Garmin Pilot. Head over to the Trip Planning function from the main menu and create a new trip. After entering your route information, scroll down to the fuel section of the form and select the new Fuel Planner button.
The pre-flight section helps you calculate required takeoff fuel, including shortcuts to determine how much you’ll need for the flight with various reserve amounts.
Next, you’ll see the fuel price for the departure airport along with FBO phone number and/or email address to simplify the process or ordering fuel. Press the “i” button next to the fuel price to select a different fuel provider.
The in-flight section of the fuel planner shows the fuel required for the flight and landing fuel, accounting for the forecast winds aloft and your preset reserve amount.
Digital logbooks in mobile apps have not only made logging of flight time more convenient, but they’ve made it more fun too. The latest update to the Garmin Pilot app adds the ability to save photos from your flight to better archive your experience:
- logbook photos may be taken while in flight using your device’s camera, and are automatically added to your provisional logbook entry
- use the Add Photo icon in existing logbook entries to attach them from your photo library
- all logbook photos are securely stored in your flyGarmin account and synced across all devices
To save time on data-entry after a flight, the Garmin logbook added an automatic logging feature. When used with a GPS, the entry will include duration of flight, time of departure, distance flown, average speed, maximum altitude and maximum speed.
New SiriusXM weather overlays
For pilots flying with a GDL 69 SiriusXM satellite receiver and Flight Stream, Garmin Pilot can now display additional weather overlays. The new options include lighting, icing, echo tops and storm cells. To enable these on the Map page, select Overlays from the map layer icon and choose the SiriusXM product you wish to display.
Garmin recently announced the inReach SE+ and inReach Explorer+ handheld communicators with global Iridium satellite coverage for two-way messaging and SOS alerting anywhere in the world. After pairing the inReach to your iPhone or iPad with Bluetooth, you can send and receive text messages right from the Calls/Messages section of the Garmin Pilot app. The inReach can also serve as a source of GPS postition data for the app.
The checklist feature has been enhanced, allowing pilots flying multiple aircraft to customize the order of checklist binders. To change the order, press the Edit button at the top of the binders list, hold down on a binder name and drag it to a new location.