First look at Garmin Pilot’s new weather and airspace flight planning features

3 min read

We’ve seen big app updates from just about every aviation app developer this spring, and Garmin is the latest in the group to take the wraps off their new release. Garmin Pilot 9.3 adds an impressive set of new features, including airspace alerting, icing in the profile view, storm cell movement, a new SiriusXM surface analysis weather layer, traffic enhancements, extended centerline improvement and support for the iPhone X screen.

Airspace Alerting

Aviation apps are becoming more and more sophisticated as they add the ability to monitor your flight status and conditions, and issue automated alerts when necessary. The latest alerting feature in Garmin Pilot will notify you about upcoming airspace along your route of flight, both while planning on the ground and during a flight.

As you approach both normal and special use airspace in the air, you’ll see airspace alerts appear in a black box at the top of the moving map. The alert will include the name of the airspace, altitude boundaries and your distance from the boundary.

You can also view airspace along your route during the flight planning phase. To do this, head over to the main settings screen and you’ll see a new menu option for Airspace Alerts about halfway down the screen. Tap this, and select the option at the top of the screen to “Show airspaces while preflight planning.” You can also enable/disable individual types of airspace, as well as customize the horizontal and vertical buffer user to trigger an alert.

Then, after you have a flight plan entered, you’ll see a listing of the airspaces your flight will pass through. Tap one to see its location on the map.

Icing in the Profile View

Garmin’s Flight Profile view offers a unique horizontal perspective of your flight, to help put en route terrain, weather and airspace in better context. The latest addition offers the option to display the forecast icing product in the profile view. You can select either icing probability or severity.

The Flight Profile view is available by selecting the split-screen view from the Map page on iPad or the home screen main menu on iPhone. From the Settings button, choose icing and select the type of icing product you wish to display.

Storm Cell Movement

The radar display has been enhanced to include the projected path of a storm. A circle and line extend from the storm cell to display the predicted path in 15, 30, 45 and 60 minutes. If hail or tornadic activity is present, the corresponding icon will appear on the map. The radial menu will display additional information about the cell activity, including speed, direction and more.

SiriusXM Surface Analysis

For users with a GDL 69, GDL 51 or GDL 52, along with a valid SiriusXM weather subscription, Garmin Pilot can display a surface analysis layer on the moving map. This will display isobars, pressure systems, fronts, troughs, ridges and more.

To display the Surface Analysis layer when connected to a SiriusXM device, select Overlays from the map layer icon at the bottom left of the screen and choose the “Sfc Features” option.

Traffic Enhancements

You’ll find a few minor improvements to the traffic screen when flying with an ADS-B receiver. You can quickly change the zoom level by pinching in or out on the screen, and adjust the altitude type displayed for nearby aircraft to either relative or absolute altitude.

Extended Centerline Improvement

The formatting of the extended centerline has been updated to make them more visible on the moving map. You can select between either a feather or dashed-line depiction and adjust the map zoom level for when they appear.

iPhone X support

This update also brings full support to the larger screen on the iPhone X, which many pilots are now using as their primary EFB in the cockpit thanks to the larger screen size.



You can download Garmin Pilot from the App Store here.

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