Even with all the capability in today’s modern avionics and sophisticated iPad navigation apps, pilots of all experience levels still rely on the bulletproof functionality of the E6B flight computer. While E6Bs today typically take the form of a handheld computer or iPhone app, the core functionality still replicates that of the mechanical whiz wheel used by WWII pilots over 70 years ago. Having an E6B within close reach makes it easy to determine basic preflight planning items such as pressure/density altitude, or to determine the required rate of climb to meet published IFR climb gradients.
Sporty’s Pilot Shop has been in the business of manufacturing and selling E6B flight computers since the original mechanical version hit the catalog in the 1960s. It evolved into an electronic version in the 1980s, and then a mobile app for iPhone, iPad and Android around the 2000s. Today Sporty’s released an updated version of E6B app that brings full functionality to the Apple Watch, allowing pilots to access any of the 22 aviation calculator functions or 18 conversions right from their wrist.
The E6B WatchOS app runs natively on the watch, meaning it doesn’t need to be close to your iPhone to function. Pilots will find this new E6B watch functionality especially useful in the airplane, making it a snap to compute actual true airspeed, when to start a descent from cruise flight, and calculate crosswind/headwind components for the destination airport. Each calculation automatically transfers the results to other related functions, saving you valuable time when performing multiple calculations.
The E6B watch app also offers 18 common aviation conversions. You can quickly convert Celsius to Fahrenheit or nautical miles to statute miles, for example. We found the combination of conversions and new aviation calculators especially useful on longer cross-countries to determine fuel required for the next leg while still en route, and then easily reference this amount on the watch when placing the fuel order at the FBO.
This update also expands the usefulness of the E6B app on iPhone 6s models or newer, which include Apple’s 3D touch technology. Pilots flying with these newer iPhones can press and hold on the E6B app home screen icon to reveal a shortcut menu to jump right to the Weight and Balance calculator, conversion or functions lists, or your personal favorites list.
Like all Apple Watch apps, Sporty’s E6B for Apple Watch is included with the purchase of the iPhone/iPad app version. Get it here in the Apple app store: Sporty’s E6B Flight Computer.