FltPlan.com is a popular website for flight planning and weather briefings, especially among professional pilots. They have offered a free iPhone/iPad app companion for some time, but initially it was a fairly limited app that simply allowed pilots to download their FltPlan.com nav logs to their iPad. Recent updates have made it a more complete and powerful app.
The app includes complete digital charts, from sectionals to IFR enroute charts to approach plates–even Canadian approach charts. These charts can be dowloaded for offline use. Nav logs can also be downloaded from your online FltPlan.com account, which is helpful for remembering what route you filed.
The latest version (3.1.1) is available in the iTunes App Store, and adds two significant enhancements:
- Edit routes in flight. Previously, nav logs could only be downloaded and viewed in the app. Now, pilots can edit the route while offline if plans change. Simply tap the “edit route” button that appears on the left side of the screen.
- Multi-tasking bar. FltPlan.com approaches their in-app navigation in a slightly different way. Instead of showing buttons continuously, pilots can tap the small Multi-task button at the bottom of the screen. This brings up a full-color menu of the key app features.
Other features that are not new to the 3.1.1 release, but are still fairly fresh include:
- Pilots can write directly on approach charts. This is a handy feature for drawing out a complicated taxiway clearance or for marking up approach plates with key information (see picture below).
- GPS data can be overlaid on the map page, including location, speed, altitude and heading. The app does interface with popular external GPSs.
- Routes are grouped by today’s routes, future routes and past routes. This is most helpful for pilots flying multiple legs, like many of FltPlan.com’s professional pilot users.
Overall, FltPlan.com’s app is a handy addition to any pilot’s iPad–especially considering it’s free. This is certainly not a full-featured app like ForeFlight, WingX or Garmin Pilot. It’s more of an add-on, especially if you already use the FltPlan.com website (it has amazingly accurate aircraft performance models for flight planning). But the latest updates constitute a step in the right direction.