I start a new thread for posting my first (positive) experience with V2.1. The "Future Enhancements" thread after all should be left as the place for the eternal wish list!
At the moment I have a total of around two hours flight time tested with V2.1, two flights, one as pilot, the other as copilot :-). LSZI->LSGK->LSZI. Not a lot, only one country, but good news should also be reported.
Performance: to be honest, I did not notice any significant change. If there is one, maybe marginally better, but it should be measured and I certainly did not do this.
Stability: I experienced NO crashes of the application. Differently from other times, in the first flight I had ONLY JMFD running (and I mean really ONLY that, iPad was shut off and started again before flying). But in the flight back, where I could play a little more with the navigation, since I was only copilot :-), I also started AirNavigation Pro (ANP) and a MeteoApp from MeteoSchweiz at the same time. That means, after take off I pushed JMFD in the background and looked at other things. I do use AirNavigation Pro both as a backup Application and because of the place names (see my wish list).
I looked at meteorological radar on MeteoSchweiz App, I looked our position on the ICAO map in ANP, I switched back to JVFR (all the time remaining in the "Go Flying" mode because of the flight log facility), then created a Direct to Route in ANP, then switched back to JMFD and had a look to the "Flight Log" information available from the "Go Flying" mode.
Surprisingly enough (because I had bad experiences with the JMFD running in background) everything went well and JMFD always came back when required. By the way, the flight route for coming back in JMFD was created "on the run" just reversing the planned route for the first flight. Also this action went well. I have to say, having seen the performance problems, my JMFD contains always one-two flights route saved, I delete the old ones.
Flight log: The information was collected accurately enough. The only small critic point that I can mention is that in both cases we taxied about 50 seconds after landing (I use CloudAhoy to record my flights, I know for sure: 55 and 52 seconds). The JVFR log-facility does not recognize this time (probably because less than one minute) and gives the same time for landing and on-block. More accurate would be to round to the nearest minute. But this is just a minor point. Another aspect is that I would like to be able to choose between local time and UTC.
Air Space Warnings: I do not have a BlueTooth headphone, nor will I buy one. I did not hear them. I could suggest, optionally to catch attention you could try to flash the entire screen (as a settable option, of course, someone could not like this).
That would be my two cents and
keep on the good work
Well, I will reply to myself, to give some further positive feedback on the actual version 2.1.
I now had my first short experience of flying abroad (with a group of five planes), August 2015 LSZI-LFLC-LFMK-FLTW-LIMG-LSZL-LSZI (Switzerland-France-Italy-Switzerland). It was exciting and very instructive.
A few considerations concerning Jeppesen VFR Mobile Flite Deck (JVFRMFD) hre:
- We were two pilots in my plane, each with an iPad + a backup iPad. Two JVFRMFDs were continually running (in "GoFlying" mode), one with kneepad, the other with yoke mount. We experienced no crash at all. One iPad was continually with active display, the other was turned "on" only for start and landing and in a few delicate phases, then the display was closed again. So that makes around 10+ hours of no-crash under very hot temperatures. Bravi! That's the way a navigation app should work.
-Under the above mentioned conditions, it would have been extremely useful to be able to synchronize flight plans! At least between the same license (one JVFRMFD license can be used on two devices). But also between two or more different users. It was very cumbersome before every flight to make sure that we both had exactly the same flight route. Please add this feature asap!
- Since the destination of the flight was uncertain until the last day (due to weather), it was practically impossible to buy all paper maps for all possible destination countries being considered. Jeppesen VFR Mobile Flite Deck was in this case really irreplaceable because of the easy downloading of the required countries, on demand. Also, I now appreciate much more the consistency of representation on the map, no matter what country.
- I learned to appreciate another aspect of JVFRMFD, that was not clear to me until i went flying abroad: the possibility to look at NOTAMs and Weather in a uniform and consistent way, no matter in which country you are. I found this extremely useful, also the "pinned" NOTAMS appeared in a completely new light.
- we made constantly use of the "Frequency" information, and I have to say that in flight it is pretty difficult to tap precisely on the airport blue dot and get the Airport information popup. And the frequencies could be written in a bigger font. A settable option would be very welcome.
- In France, in the Cote d'Azur, I believe south of Nice, one VFR-Point was mentioned by ATC but we did not find it on JVFRMFD. We honestly admitted this and ATC directed us to the next one. But that was not good.
- Especially abroad, the need for Waypoints to be automatically named after the town or village over which they are, is very present. It does not help a lot to know WP6 is 4 minutes away when you are required for your position. And, in my opinion, but this I already expressed, there are way too few place names at the standard zooming. If you have to say where you are, there is no way other than cumbersome zooming with fingers.
- Also: the app is only able to give an ETA/ETE to the next waypoint or to the final destination. ATC very often requires your ETA/ETE to an intermediate WP, say the third one from where you are. I would welcome a feature (also required by other) where you tap on the blue rectangle with the next WP and instead of flipping between next WP and DEST, it rolls over the complete list of WP. and maybe with a double tap or whatever other appropriate interaction jumps to the DEST.
- I still miss a lot the possibility to show (optionally) the vertical profile of the terrain and of the airspaces (like AirnavPro).
Soo, that would be it. I wish to thank you for the really impressive tool, for the now apparently stable running of the app (although slow), and for the good support. I hope to see progress in the directions required by so many of us, though!
Keep up the good work!
Thank You very much for your detailed suggestions, and comments. That’s highly appreciated !
First of all, we are happy to hear that the stability improvements we implemented with version 2.1 are realized that way !
A few more comments to your suggestions:
Synchronization of two iPads: We are aware that this feature would be very beneficial. We have that on our list for future improvements.
Flight Log: We are aware that under some circumstances not all times get always correctly logged. This issue is already addressed to the development team. However, all times can be easily manually modified, added or deleted. So it’s a combination of automated logging, plus the option of manually editing.
Local time/UTC: Although we understand your wish for flexibility when it comes to switching between local time and UTC, we have decided to stick to UTC, as it is the worldwide standard aviation time. All official flight time logging is in UTC only. We try to keep our app as simple to use, and as user friendly as possible. Having the option of switching between local time and UTC would require an additional menu and buttons, and would implement the risk of logging wrong numbers. That are the reasons why we stick to UTC only. Hope you understand.
For the Mobile FliteDeck VFR Team,
I want to reanimate this thread with a similar experience report as Claudio's very useful contribution. I had similar overall positive experiences, of course mixed with some (for me) not so positive points. Here comes my report:
I report on the experience of about 12 hours flying in France (LFLC, LFMP, LFOT) with respect to JMFD usage. Two iPads had been used, one (mini) mounted on the yoke, the other one (Air2) as a backup in case of problems with the first one. Paper maps were available as emergency backups. Previously, I had some experience with AirNavPro and Flymap.
Of course, all is my personal impression, and sometimes taste. The listed features have intensely been used during flying. Many features which are not mentioned have not been used at all (e.g. weather information) for several reasons (e.g. no Sim-Card).
Overall summary, stability: Very useful software. Backup paper maps were never necessary. Not a single crash (neither plane nor software) during flight, with both iPads. In the second iPad (Air2), the screen has been often switched on and off to save battery, and without any problems. One crash occurred during flight planning.
Information accuracy: Complete, no information has been missing. This holds for the enroute information (Frequencies, airspace designations) as well as e.g. for airport information in graphical mode and textual mode. This - seldom mentioned - fact is highly appreciated. It would even be better if the download page would indicate not the date of downloading, but the versions of the downloaded maps, change indications etc, as has been with Jepps paper updates.
Airspace violation alerts: Excellent, the yellow rim around the area to be warned of is very well recognizable. The acoustical warning has not been used (no suitable headset). Of course, this could be positively complemented by a graphical vertical airspace profile. For me, nice to have, not absolutely necessary.
Graphical route planning: For me, one of the big strengths of the software. It is very intuitive and simple. One tap on the departure point, a second one on the destination point. All in between can simply be inserted by tapping on the course line (gets a waypoint) and dragging it to the required position. WP removal is likewise very easy. WPs on airports or e.g. on VORs obviously are caught automatically within some circle. This works in exactly the same way in flying mode and can be used immediately when e.g. a military area is reported as active by FIS and has to be avoided (it happened several times during this trip). The course line is thick enough to almost always be hit the first time (when flying, and in contrast to the airport position, see below). Big plus point!
5 Minutes distance line: Ok that it cannot be switched off. The sometimes discussed lacking distance information was not important for me. I have never been requested position information based on distances.
Popup windows information: The information when displaying one of the various popup windows (airspace information, airport information) is very well structured and fast and easily comprehended. After some flying it has been much preferred over the information written on the map due to the zooming and panning deficiencies.
Zooming and panning, see my other contributions to these items.
"Go Flying", "End Flying" Buttons: During flight, the "End Flying" button had been hit now and then unintendedly. On the one hand, this has been causing confusion as the aircraft symbol vanished, on the other hand it confused the flight log. My recommendation would be to lock the "End Flying" button in some way. I personally do not understand why it is necessary to distinguish between flying and non-flying mode. I cannot see any advantages for having the two different modes.
Airport position hit before landing. As a landing preparation, I used the airport information, available by tapping on the requested airport (for instance to become familiar with the taxiway designations on a larger unknown airport). To achieve a hit on the small airport circle, I always had to zoom in. What is clearly missing for me is a "back" button for an immediate return to the map display before the airport display to avoid fiddling with zooming out in this critical filght phase. Notably, the airport display is different in the US edition of the SW. My workaround has been to use the second iPad for the described landing preparation.
Pushbutton feedback: Clearly lacking is an immediate feedback whether a pushbutton press has been successful or not. I do not mean the sometimes rather long response times, but the immediate information if a button has been hit on the display. It occurred several times that – for this reason – a button has been hit twice, being particularly annoying with toggling buttons, like the “Go Flying” “End Flying” one.
Neutral / Suggestions:
Synchronization of two iPads / Cloud backup: Like mentioned by others, also in my opinion this would be a very attractive feature, as paperless flying requires two devices. Also a backup of the configuration and collected data in the cloud would be very helpful.
Flight log: I used it only as supplemental information, as it gave sometimes strange results (I will post a separate report on this). It is active in flying mode only, thus being useless in case the "Go flying" button has only been hit some time after takeoff, what happened frequently with the backup iPad. It might be considered to activate it based on other informations (like ground velocity in AirNavPro, for instance).
Abbreviations Glossary: Not absolutely necessary, but would sometimes be helpful with rarely used abbreviations.
Map display: It would be very useful to have a little insert showing the main map section within a larger area like a country. This could be activatable as another map overlay. This feature is known from many other graphics-based applications and is always much appreciated.
I believe that the developers have to be praised, if they are doing a good work, exactly as the have to be criticized if the deliver a bad quality. For this reason I wish to say a big:
BRAVO! - Thank you!
to the developing team. At the end of January I flew (for my standards :-) intensively on three days in the Swiss Alps (LSZI, LSGS, LSZL, LSGY, Domodossola) . Sometimes alone and oft with a copilot. The App was always running all the time, either with a Flight Route planned or simply in "GoFlying Mode" to have the moving map and the other informations at hand, if the other pilot was at the commands. Sometimes I had to change the route during flying (because of weather) and also used the App to deliver all required information (for example Milano Information Frequency, or the frequency of small Airfields like Domodossola). Of course as a backup I had the paper maps by me.
I never experienced a program crash in about 5-6 hours of flying.
If Jeppesen will sometime in the future take into account the most requested features, that we, the user community, ask since the beginning, this will certainly become one of the best (if not the best at all) navigation Apps on the market. Not cheap, but good. My personal wish list is in the appropriate thread, But "repetita juvant" :-) so:
- Waypoint renaming and automatically taking the name of geographical features under them (passes, cities)
- Flight plan printout (ex. as PDF) in a reasonable form that resembles what a pilot would do by hand (screenshot isn't really an alternative, sorry). Compare AirnavPro.
- more geographical detail (optionally selectable) -> place names, passes, rivers, ...
- synchronization of two devices (airplane library and route(s)
Keep on the good work and best regards