Flight Planning Keeps Getting Easier with New EFB Apps

Flight Planning

Another EFB app is about to make your flight planning, and flying, easier and safer

Aviation flight planning is getting easier and easier these days. Appareo has just released its new Stratus Insight EFB App and it’s got some neat features. Insight is a full-featured app that includes flight planning, synthetic vision, ADS-B in traffic, and weather enabled by all Stratus receivers, but the most amazing feature is Appareo’s ATC radio transcription and playback. More on that in a minute.

The app is available for Apple iOS devices, so it runs on the iPad and the iPhone. All FAA charts can be downloaded, including VFR sectional maps, IFR low/high charts, and georeferenced approach plates. But wait, there’s more. A terrain database is also available for terrain awareness and warning overlay which provides an aural and visual alert when flying too close to the ground. Alerts also warn the pilot when he or she is approaching a runway while taxiing. All of these aural alerts are available via bluetooth. 

For preflight briefings and weather checks in the air, a vertical profile shows wind and weather conditions along the route. But get this, if the weather changes during your flight, or if a TFR pops up and you are forced to take an alternate route, the Smart Flight Plan tool takes into consideration things like fuel stops and day/night currency. WHAT? How does it know? That’s so amazing!

But here’s the really cool part, ATC radio transcription and playback. Maybe you guys already know about this, but I sure didn’t and I think it’s the greatest thing since sliced bread. This feature was already available in the Stratus Horizon Pro app, but now it’s bundled with Insight.

To use it, the iOS device must be connected to the user’s headset with the Stratus audio cable. Once connected, ATC audio communications are automatically transcribed into text and are then displayed on the iPad. This allows the pilot to receive a clearance, ATIS, or routine ATC communication without the need to write it all down. And the best part is that the transcription gives pilots the familiar spelling of common terms, which are much easier to recognize. 

For example, instead of spelling out ten thousand feet, the system is able to write it as 10,000 feet. And instead of spelling out an entire call sign, the system will write it as the proper registration number, for example, N7596W. Frequencies are written as the actual numbers, instead of spelling the numbers longhand. 

Appareo designed a custom aviation speech recognition system that doesn’t require cellular service or an internet connection, so there are no limitations during flight. Insight is also the only app that includes Apple Watch features, such as weather and airport diagrams. 

It sure is a great time to be a pilot. Advances in technology are coming fast and furious – it seems like every time I turn around, aviation flight planning has a new twist. The ability to transcribe ATC radio calls is just the latest advancement designed to eliminate misunderstandings and cut down on radio chatter, creating a safer environment for all. I really can’t wait to see what they’ll come up with next!

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