Garmin Pilot adds automated logbook and Nearest airport feature

Garmin made big waves at Oshkosh this week announcing that their Connext wireless cockpit system is now compatible with ForeFlight. But their new iPad-related product announcements didn’t end there. They also released a new version of the Garmin Pilot app adding an automated logbook and nearest feature, a new Android version that adds obstacles and terrain and unveiled a new iPad app designed specifically for those flying Piper airplanes.

Automated Logbook and Nearest Navigation
The new logbook feature in the Garmin Pilot iPad app automatically records the details of each flight and syncs them to the cloud.

The new logbook feature in the Garmin Pilot iPad app automatically records the details of each flight and syncs them to the cloud.

It didn’t take long for logbook apps to hit the App Store after the iPad was released in 2010. While the mobility and cloud sync features of a digital logbook remain a popular feature among iPad pilots, it still requires manual data entry after each flight. Garmin is aiming to change that though with their new automated logbook function in the iOS version of the Garmin Pilot app.

While on takeoff roll, Garmin Pilot detects a change in airspeed and altitude via GPS, which initiates the logbook function to automatically begin recording. Pertinent information such as date, duration, total flight time, route and the number of flight segments are automatically recorded and logged within Garmin Pilot, creating a logbook entry for the pilot to review and accept. You can then modify these log entries or manually add flight information such as Hobbs or tachometer times into the logbook as needed.

The logbook provides even more opportunities for record keeping, including a tab for pilot certificate and currency endorsements. Within the Garmin Pilot application, flight instructors and other designated authorities may document flight reviews, Instrument Proficiency Checks (IPC), pre-solo knowledge test sign-offs and more.

It also provides pilots with quick and easy access to flight currency information. A dedicated currency tab identifies FAA, EASA and TCCA day/night and instrument currency types so pilots can quickly reference whether or not, for example, they are current to fly passengers or at night. For easy reference, the logbook automatically generates a report to display past flight information by day, month and year.

The new NRST feature is a welcome addition and allows pilots to quickly identify and navigate to a nearby airport.

The new NRST feature is a welcome addition and allows pilots to quickly identify and navigate to a nearby airport.

In addition to the automated logbook, Garmin also added a powerful new Nearest (NRST) feature in the iOS version of the app. This is accessed from the top of the main menu, and incorporates nearest navigation functionality to help you locate the closest airport, NAVAID, intersection, user waypoint and more, relative to your location. Pilots can also quickly locate Visual Reporting Points (VRPs), Air Route Traffic Control Centers (ARTCCs) and their associated frequencies, as well as nearest airspace for added situational awareness. After activating the NRST feature, the 10 nearest airports are automatically highlighted on the map and listed at the top of the screen.

To assist with the decision-making process, the app displays a ruler line that identifies the selected airport on the moving map, as well as course and distance information relative to the location of their aircraft. You then just need to tap the airport name and the Direct-To button to start navigating to the airport.

In addition to these new capabilities, Garmin Pilot now calculates and displays density altitude information on the weather tab within the airport page. This calculation is automatically displayed within Garmin Pilot so you can view at-a-glance, density altitude data, which is critical to aircraft performance. The distance-measuring tool has also been modified to allow you to adjust each end of the ruler after it is placed on the map.

New additions to the Android App too
The new terrain and obstacle features brings Garmin's powerful hazard avoidance resources to Android.

The new terrain and obstacle features brings Garmin’s powerful hazard avoidance resources to Android.

Garmin Pilot remains one of the most capable apps for the Android platform and it’s rapidly growing. While the app doesn’t have all the bells and whistles of the iOS version, it contains the essentials of what pilots are looking for in an EFB app: preflight weather, digital charts, moving map navigation, flight planning and filing and ADS-B weather.

The latest version adds the option to overlay terrain and obstacles simultaneously on the moving map page, while retaining the ability to view pertinent in-flight navigation information. Terrain and obstacle information can be overlaid and viewed in track-up format, ensuring flight plan information is upright and easy to read. Similar to Garmin panel-mount avionics, there is a dedicated terrain page to view terrain and obstacles in an arc or 360-degree view.

This version also adds the much-requested X-Plane simulator support, allowing you to connect the app to the PC or Mac simulator and fly with it at home. You’ll see your simulated position right in the app, making it a great resource to better learn how to use all the app’s features in a more relaxed environment.

Piper Pilot App

Garmin and Piper Aircraft announced a new collaboration this week to develop a Piper Pilot app, a Piper-specific avionics app based on Garmin Pilot for iPad and iPhone. This will allow pilots flying Piper PA-46 (Malibu and Matrix) airplanes to connect their iPad to the Garmin avionics in the panel, providing what we can only assume will be functionality similar to that of the FlightStream system. The first version of the app is expected to be out later this year, with plans for it to expand to include both Piper-specific preflight planning tools and in-flight navigation resources.