After receiving an announcement from ForeFlight, I upgraded my ForeFlight Mobile HD subscription for the iPad to version 3.9. The update adds geo-referenced approach plates and taxiways, as well as some other fine tuning. The option for geo-referenced plates was added to ForeFlight’s basic software plan in a partnership deal with Seattle Avionic’s ChartData technology. The add-on expense for the charts and taxiways is $75 per year, in addition to the basic plan which is also $75 per year.
Geo-referencing allows you to view your GPS derived position overlaid on a Terminal Procedure approach plate. The scale is too crude, and not legal, to use for shooting an actual approach, but then, neither is your $3,000 Garmin 696 box. The positional awareness is simply amazing.
With the iPad, ForeFlight, Garmin and Avidyne EX500 I rarely get lost anymore:
For IFR procedures and approaches, there is no substitute for an FAA-approved panel mounted navigator and multi-function display. Most IFR approved boxes have an option for geo-referenced approach plates, but upgrades are expensive, as are monthly subscriptions to the data through Jeppesen. An upgrade to my Avidyne MFD to support charts is about $2,500 and the yearly subscription for chart data from Jeppesen is $1000.
In comparison, the entire subscription package from ForeFlight for geo-referenced VFR and IFR charts, taxiways and Terminal Procedures is just $150 per year. There are very few bargains in aviation. This is one of them.
When flying an instrument approach Single Pilot IFR (SPIFR), the pilot is likely concentrating all his/her energies on the scanning the flight director, altimeter, airspeed, VSI and the HSI/Glideslope to detect any navigational deviations. But, an occasional glance towards the iPad helps to keep the big picture in mind. For me, the ForeFlight geo-referenced plates are a perfect add-on to my situational awareness without a huge capital investment.
This video is from the ForeFlight blog: