On August 21, the United States will experience the first total solar eclipse in over 35 years. This event is drawing a lot of attention because the eclipse will stretch from Oregon all the way to South Carolina, offering everyone in the continental US a view of at least a partial eclipse. For the best view, though, some travel may be required to be in the 70-mile wide area where the sun will completely disappear for a few moments. Viewing parties are already being organized in a dozen states.
Pilots are uniquely equipped to join in the fun, since they can quickly fly to an airport that’s in the path of the eclipse (and save the hassle of finding a hotel the night before). They can also adjust plans at the last minute to make sure their destination has clear skies. As usual, a little technology can help make this planning process easier.
We’ve reviewed Weekend Flyer previously, a fairly simple app that allows pilots to view graphical weather forecasts out to three days. Recently, the app has added a new eclipse map option that makes it easy to plan your trip. Open the app, then tap the settings button at the bottom right. Next, enable the “Show August 21 eclipse” option and tap Back.
On the main map page, you’ll now see the path of the eclipse. You can tap and hold on an airport to set it as the departure, then tap and hold on another airport to make it the destination. Across the bottom, you can set forecast weather out to 24 hours or three days, using the slider bar. This should be useful in the days leading up to August 21, so you can find an airport in the path of the eclipse with good weather.
You can also tap on specific parts of the eclipse path to see when the the eclipse will happen at that location, and the duration.
Weekend Flyer is free to download in the App Store.