Garmin is one of the few app developers that seems firmly committed to making both iOS and Android apps for pilots. While the Android version of their Pilot app has lagged for a while, a new update brings it up to date. In our opinion, it’s still the most complete, most polished Android app for general aviation flying.
Let’s review some of the new features:
- One of the best features of Garmin Pilot is the Active FPL screen, which mirrors panel-mount Garmin GPSs. It’s a powerful route editor, and it’s now available in full screen. This includes a map section with the ability to graphically edit the route, which is great for planning weather or TFR deviations.
- Traffic, delivered by the GDL 39 ADS-B receiver, can be overlaid on the moving map, but the app also includes a dedicated traffic page. Now, this page can be viewed in a split screen mode. Tap the Menu button, then Split Screen, then Traffic. This is a nice setup for busy terminal operations.
- For pilots who are totally paperless, the Scratchpad function is a handy way to copy clearances. This feature is now available from home screen menu for faster access.
- A lot of small but important things have been improved with Trip Planning. One complaint has been addressed by allowing trips to be scheduled earlier and amended. There is also now the ability to save up to 200 trips for future use, which is especially helpful for professional pilots. Finally, routes from Active FPL can be imported into Trip Planning, so you don’t have to enter the same route twice.
- While not everyone may use it, the Pilot Profiles section is very helpful for trip planning and flight plan filing. In version 2.4, you can now store multiple profiles, which is helpful for flight departments or other applications where multiples pilots may use the same tablet.
- Garmin added a Cloud Sync feature to their iOS app recently, and it’s a great way to keep multiple devices (phone and tablet, for example) updated with the latest information. Garmin Pilot for Android now supports Cloud Sync for trips, pilot information, aircraft, bookmarks and up to 1,000 custom user waypoints. There is no additional charge for this feature.
This free update is available now in the Google Play Store. If you aren’t using Garmin Pilot, it is free to try for 30 days. A full subscription is $74.99/year or $149.99/year for the Pro level. Both can be ordered at Sporty’s.