Today’s modern avionics for GA airplanes have evolved from basic GPS and Nav/Comm radios to full flight management systems, providing pilots with navigation capabilities and in-flight information that rivals (and often exceeds) that of the big jets. But unlike the basic panel-mount systems from a decade or two ago, it’s not practical to just hop in the airplane and expect to be proficient in them on the first flight without any prior training.
Fortunately, most of the major avionics manufacturers and aviation training providers offer several training resources designed specifically for iPad. The iPad’s large touchscreen makes for the perfect training platform touchscreen avionics, allowing you to run simulators that mirror the operation of the real-thing from the comfort of your home. You can practice entering flight plans, look up airport data and set up instrument approach procedures right from the app, so that it all becomes second-nature to you when you start using the real thing in flight.
Garmin GTN 650/750 Trainer – The Garmin GTN trainer app simulates the full operation of Garmin’s popular GPS/Nav/Comm avionics system, allowing you to interact directly with the touchscreen display on your iPad. It includes a full US database so you can plan and practice just about any flight in the U.S. It also includes all the bells and whistles, so you can learn to use SafeTaxi, Garmin FliteCharts, terrain/obstacles, ADS-B traffic and weather, SiriusXM weather, weather radar and stormscope. The app is free to download from the app store.
Flying the Garmin GTN 650/750 Training Course – For a more guided approach to learning the Garmin GTN systems, check out this video training course. It includes 75 minutes of HD video broken down into individual training segments to show how to practically use all the GTN features. The app is a free download to try out and costs $39,99 to access the full version with all the training segments.
Garmin G1000 Checkout – Garmin set the standard with the G1000 glass cockpit system, and this training course simulates an avionics checkout by showing step-by-step how to use each feature of the Primary Flight Display (PFD) and Multifunction Display (MFD), including real-world in-flight scenarios. The course includes a syllabus to use with your instructor, an interactive review test, a digital version of the G1000 Cockpit Reference Guide and a G1000 simulator to use on your home computer. The full course for iPhone/iPad is available for $89.99.
Garmin G1000 Simulator – Garmin does not offer a G1000 simulator app directly for iPad, but a company called Simionic has produced their own version to help you practice operation of the system configured for Cessna single-engine airplanes. It includes controls to operate each button and knob to help you learn the system and a full navigation database. There are two separate apps offered, one for the G1000 PFD and a second for the G1000 MFD. Each version is priced at $9.99 in the app store.
Avidyne IFD Trainer – Avidyne recently released a new line of touchscreen GPS/Nav/Comm systems designed as a Garmin 430/530 replacement. They also developed a dedicated trainer app that turns your iPad into the IFD550, 540 or 440 interface to help you learn how to use the system. It’ll simulate synthetic vision (IFD550), the interactive moving map, Jepp charts, WiFi & Bluetooth connectivity and much more. The app is free to download from the app store.
Flying the Aspen Evolution – This guided training course from Sporty’s demonstrates how to use every function of the Aspen Evolution EFD1000 PFD and MFD, including the latest synthetic vision features. The program also takes you along on an IFR flight to show the practical use of each function on a flight to Reno, NV. It includes a review quiz and digital versions of the Pilot’s Guides. The full program is available in the app store for $29.99.
Aspen EFD1000 Emulator – While not a full simulator and not as interactive as the other avionics trainer apps on the market, this app allows you to interact with the controls and display to get a good feel for its operation and learn the display before heading out with the real thing on a flight. The app is available for $11.99 in the app store.