As pilots, we’re more aware of what’s going on with the weather than most, thanks to our innate curiosity about the 3D nature of the atmosphere. Even on the days we’re stuck on the ground, we can’t help but open up our favorite aviation app to see how strong the wind gusts are at the airport, analyze a severe PIREP, or try to estimate the timing of an approaching cold front.
When it comes time to load a quick view of the local radar picture, you can’t beat the free MyRadar app. It’s fast, clear and accurate, and shows an animated radar loop within seconds of opening the app. Many pilots use this app all the time outside of flight planning, to keep an eye on approaching rain during a baseball game, or during road trips to get a feel for what to expect on the drive.
MyRadar recently made the driving experience more useful, thanks to its new Apple CarPlay app. This allows you to view a radar overlay on a GPS roadmap, similar to the experience of flying with ADS-B radar in the air.
To get started, make sure to update the MyRadar app on your iPhone to the latest version (7.81.0 or newer), and connect it to a compatible CarPlay system. Launch the app from your CarPlay screen, and you’ll see your current position on the road map and radar imagery.
The free version of the app provides a GPS moving map and several weather layer options. You can manually select a light or dark-colored map, or set it to automatically switch based on time of day. There are onscreen controls (not showing in the screenshots here) to zoom in/out, pan around, or switch to a 3D perspective:
Tap the Settings but to configure the weatger overlay options, whichs include radar, clouds and lightning:
The free version also includes MyRadar’s predictive road conditions for major highways. In the following example, wet roads are highlighted in green, and dry conditions in white:
MyRadar also offers a premium subscription ($19.99/year) that provides turn-by-turn directions using their RouteCast system, making this a one-stop shop navigation and weather app.
While it’s a stretch to call the CarPlay app a preflight planning resource, some may find it useful to keep an eye on active weather systems on the drive to the airport. The real value as we see it is scratching that neverending weather itch while in the car to know what is going on around you and what to expect up ahead.