I’ve been playing around quite a bit over the week end with my new little Asus tablet and the grin on my face just keeps getting wider and wider. This is the first Android device that I’ve ever laid my hands (or, more precisely, fingers) on and even though I’m pretty computer savvy, I’m quite surprised at how quickly I’m getting the hang of it.
Because I mainly bought it to run my Memory Map navigation software on, naturally I’ve been looking around for other aviation related apps to complement it. I’m not interested in gimmicky apps like make-believe artificial horizons that some other microlight pilots in the UK with a bit of a death-wish are. Rather, I’ve been looking around for apps and software that will make flight planning and navigation easier and this is what I’ve come up with so far in the few days that I’ve owned it.
One of the apps I’ve installed is for taking screen shots, so first off here’s one of my home screen from which I can directly access the apps that I will be using the most frequently.
I posted a shot the other day of how Memory Map looks on the Asus while in use. It wasn’t a very good image as I made it by taking an actual photograph of the Asus’s screen, so here’s another showing a planned route out from and back to Galinat.
The GPS position indicator is shown over my house where I did the screen shot and while in flight, usually this would be locked in the centre of the screen with a vector coming out of it showing the direction of flight compared to the planned route. Unlike on the old satnav, you can choose whether to create a track trace or not, which I think is a rather nice feature, because when you fly out and back on more or less a straight line, having the outgoing track showing up as well as the route line and the new incoming track can make the screen a bit confusing and messy.
The next app that I’ve loaded is called Metam. This is very useful because what it shows is a map of the airfields close to your position, as follows.
Your position (ie my house, at the time) is shown by the small blue dot in the centre of the screen, and as you can see, it’s located almost midway between Bergerac (LFBE) to the south-west and Brive (LFSL) to the north-east. If you then click on (ie touch) any airfield’s ICAO code, in this case Bergerac, the screen changes to show the weather conditions at the selected airfield, as shown below.
This is an interpretation in plain words of the airfield’s METAR. Then, if you swipe upwards on the black band, you can also get hold of the airfield’s TAF, which is invaluable if you want to plan a navigation in the local area.
The next app that I’ve loaded is called Wind Computer. This is a simple little program that does wind triangle calculations for you for navigation planning at the drop of a hat. Here’s a shot of its one and only screen.
You enter details of wind direction and velocity, your desired track and indicated airspeed and it shows the heading you need to fly and your ground speed over on the right. Simple but handy if you’re planning a flight by hand.
However, that can get a bit tedious if you’re planning a longer flight with many legs and although you can download other people’s software for that, I’ve made my own spreadsheet that sets things out in exactly the way that I like it. I made it to be used on my PC but I’ve loaded it into the Asus and here’s a shot of the blank worksheet.
All of the calculated values are protected so you can’t mess them up by entering data into them in error, so all that you have to do is enter all of the other data that’s required in the rows with titles in bold text. I checked it out to make sure it worked properly using data that I still have for old flights that I prepared manually and shown below is the first stage between Stoke and Abbeville of my flight down from the UK to the Dordogne back in April 2012.
The worksheet uses data in km and km/hr but I used my old data in miles and mph, which is OK so long as the data used is consistent.
The only differences I found were due to differences in rounding, so I’m confident that it works fine. To get it to run on the Asus I used Quickoffice, the old Google app. It’s been rendered obsolete by a replacement, but on checking, I found that the majority of users who had experience of both apps still favoured the old version, so I rummaged around the Internet for a bit until a found a site that still had an old download and installed that.
So that’s it for now. It’s still very early days and I’m sure that as time progresses, I’ll come across more apps that I’ll find useful. If so, I’ll make sure that I post details of them here on My Trike.