SkyDemon update – new features galore
Last year we profiled SkyDemon, declaring it the closest thing to a European ForeFlight, with solid moving map features and intuitive preflight planning. In particular, their vector maps are bright, easy to read and clutter-free. Since many iPad Pilot News readers are from Europe, we thought we’d check in with the folks at SkyDemon to see what’s new.
The short answer? A lot. Rob Hart of SkyDemon says they’ve been busy adding new features, and it shows. Here are some highlights:
- Glidesafe is an interesting safety feature that uses wind, terrain, altitude and your glide ratio to draw estimated gliding distance. We’ve used similar features on other apps, and found this to be helpful–especially in single engine airplanes at night. Keep an airport in range and you can fly with added confidence.
- Vertical planning is also new, and it’s well executed. This is one of SkyDemon’s best features, in our opinion, as the side view of your entire route clearly shows terrain, airspace, airports, weather and more. To change altitude, simply drag your altitude up or down. You can really get a 3D view of your flight with this feature, but it’s never too cluttered.
- Airways mode is a new option on the Mapping menu, which offers a quick way to switch from VFR-style maps to IFR-style maps. This mode focuses on airways and declutters airspace and terrain for better clarity. Complete map layer customization options are still available in the menu.
- Cloud storage is an increasingly useful feature in aviation apps, and SkyDemon has added it as well. This is useful for moving routes, aircraft or logs between multiple devices. It can make your next iPad upgrade a lot easier.
- Weight and balance has been a useful feature for a while, and the latest updates add full capability for helicopter pilots (including lateral weight and balance), plus support for multiple fuel tanks.
- Airfield plate PDFs are included as well, including national AIP and local information like Pooley’s and AFE plates. These are georeferenced where possible. In total, it offers a comprehensive suite of tools for choosing the right airport and briefing your arrival. Note that Pooley’s and AFE plates require an additional subscription.
- PowerFLARM traffic integration allows the app to connect to one of these popular traffic alerting systems, offering improved situational awareness and safety. Requires the Butterfly Connect accessory to enable WiFi connections.
These are just the highlights–there are a host of other small improvements that have been made. Overall, we found the app to be polished, fast and easy to use. There are even some features for the big US app developers to take note of here.
While SkyDemon can be used in the US, it’s clearly made for European pilots first. But if that’s you, there’s a lot to like here. A subscription is required for full use, but the app can be downloaded for free on the App Store.
I have used SkyDemon in Europe for over a year after trying several choices and this is the best available here. It is very intuitive and really loads your situational awareness. I also have a subscription to the VFR plates. Most are geo-referenced (viewable right on the map) and this is absolutely necessary here since (especially the Germans) are very strict about ground tracks. Well worth it.