So, it’s been a few months since I last did a NavEx. Since I fly so intermittently at the moment, I use AvPlan as my preferred flight planning tool since I can subscribe a month at a time for $9.
So – I fired up AvPlan this morning and bought a month’s worth in the app. Once bought, I tried checking whether I had updated ERSA and chart information for the local area.
I checked the airfield list – it was empty. I tried checking downloads, but couldn’t see where to download the updates. While I was at it, it was asking me if I wanted to download chart updates. I said yes, and it started slowly – intermittently – trying to download some that I had no interest in at the moment – WAC for Eastern Australia, etc.
So – I tried cancelling all the charts I didn’t want. However, as soon as I canceled the download of one, then another cancelled download would start downloading again. I tried cancelling them all, and then just resuming the ones I wanted, but it seemed to want to insist on downloading all except one of the files, and succeed with none of them. Eventually I exited and terminated the application, then opened it again.
Ok – I gave up on that and tried looking for the ERSA Airfield supplements again – still couldn’t find the download. I tried navigating around the various options but seemed to be getting a bit confused.
I then tried linking to a Dropbox account on my iPad, which I’ve done for various apps. As I did, it crashed. I opened it again, and now it was linked.
After 15 minutes of grappling, I had still not succeeded in downloading the ERSA or charts that I wanted, and it had crashed or needed killing, three times.
I checked OzRunways – now $74.99. I thought about it for a bit. About the same as 6 x 1 month subscriptions for AvPlan, plus a $15 premium for a more stable app. I bought a year’s subscription.
Sorry AvPlan – you were really pioneering with on-map radar charts and best-altitude fuel planning, but I need two things more than anything in an aviation app. Stability, and Usability.
Below is actually the App Store review I left for OzRunways.
It’s actually a little scathing – particularly in contrast to the other glowing reviews – and I feel a little guilty for that.
But also justified. Every time I bring up a separate overlay for Wx, or wait for 5-10s before my plan comes up, I feel it’s not quite there yet.
However – don’t get me wrong…. The alternative is thousands, maybe tens if thousands, of dollars… Or kilos of paper documents and ten times the planning time. OzRunways is revolutionary. I just have high expectations!
I bought OzRunways a few months ago, and have another 6 months of my annual subscription. In the last 6 months, it’s introduced Route planning and some other improvements.
I have a vision of the perfect EFB. Everything seamlessly integrated into one efficient display. And getting close to that vision is…. AvPlan!
In contrast, OzRunways is a little clunky. For example – bringing up weather radar brings up a different small screen, not overlaying it on the chart – as AvPlan does. Route plans are displayed instead the chart, not alongside it – as AvPlan can. And both tools have the almost-useless scratchpad – what’s with that? What about solid ink and text entry, and pagination, so I can write useful notes, guys?
However – both times I’ve used AvPlan in flight, it crashed or had bugs. OzRunways hasn’t. That’s why I use it.
Having said that… OzRunways is suddenlt very slow to respond on my iPad 2 with the current update – sometimes 10-15s before a drag or plan-button press response. It’s bordering on distracting, and hopefully they’ll fix that soon.
Having not used EFBs, as a new pilot, I suspect OzRunways is true to legacy systems and so familiar to many in its methods. AvPlan is more innovative and “Apple-like”, but unreliable. It’ll be interesting to see how the two converge, and which pulls ahead.