There are plenty of options for computing weight and balance on the iPad. Whether it’s an integrated app (like ForeFlight’s built-in tool) or a standalone app (like Aviation W&B), pilots have no excuse for failing to compute gross weight and CG before every flight. One of the more recent entrants in the market is called Jazz Weight and Balance, which offers a powerful and polished app for pilots of almost any general aviation airplane.
To stand out, a good weight and balance app has to go beyond just green and red lights. The whole point of a weight and balance app is that it should save time compared to the pen and paper way – any app that doesn’t meet this goal isn’t worth the storage space it takes.
Jazz passes this test with some smart features:
- Easy-to-read graphical reports: at a glance you can tell whether you’re within the envelope, and how the CG changes throughout flight.
- Save flights: this is a basic feature, but one that many apps neglect. This makes it easy to check your numbers in just a few seconds by pulling up a previously flown trip. This is perfect for flight instructors, corporate pilots or anyone with a regular route.
- Built-in profiles: the app includes pre-loaded profiles for many Cessna 150 and 172 models, which is a time-saver.
- Powerful profile builder: if your aircraft isn’t pre-loaded, it’s easy to create one. This includes all kinds of settings, like zero fuel weight, max ramp weight and multiple fuel tanks.
- Sharing options: you can compute weight and balance on your phone, then review it on your tablet with the fast, wireless sync option. You can also email a PDF copy of your calculations, or print it. Again, basic options, but left out of many other weight and balance apps.
The company partnered with the Vermont Flight Academy and Vermont Technical College’s Aviation Degree Program, and the pilot input is noticeable. Adjusting weights (for example, for the pilot or fuel) can be done by typing in the number or using the sliding tool. We found typing to be fastest on the ground, but using the slider bars to be ideal for the cockpit.
Overall, this is a polished and impressive app. There are, as always, a few minor complaints: creating a new flight doesn’t auto-fill the distance, the list of built-in profiles omits a number of very popular models, and it wasn’t immediately obvious that stored flights were only shown when you had selected the proper airplane. None of these are deal-breakers, though, and we can recommend Jazz as a good option.
The app costs $9.99 (one time) and can be downloaded on the iTunes App Store.