APG iPreFlight App Allows Inflight Performance Calculations

 - September 4, 2012, 12:35 AM
APG’s iPreFlight app v2.01 allows the user to calculate weight-and-balance on the iPad without Internet, right. Similarly, the pilot can compute takeoff and/or landing distance in flight, left, of particular importance in the event the destination changes en route.

A long-awaited feature on the Aircraft Performance Group iPreFlight iPad app–in-flight analysis–is now available on the Apple App Store. Previous versions of the APG app need to be connected to the Internet to perform runway analysis calculations. The advantage of performing a landing-distance assessment while airborne is that conditions at the destination sometimes change, and pilots need to calculate if the destination runway still meets legal and safety parameters.

“It’s a complete integration of runway analysis, weight-and-balance and performance,” said APG co-founder Rogers Hemphill of iPreFlight Version 2.01. APG has also added a new document management system to iPreFlight. This system not only stores documents on the iPad but also allows users and dispatching departments to manage distribution of documents, including a feedback loop to ensure that documents are delivered to the correct users and that they have actually viewed updates, safety information and so on.

The iPreFlight app is designed to be used by individual pilots in small flight departments and by large departments and fleet operators that employ dispatchers (using the Windows-based iPreFlight dashboard software running on their computers). Both can use iPreFlight to generate a complete package for each flight in advance, which is called the Flight Book and contains the performance and weather data for the flight and applicable FAA AeroNav charts. Dispatchers can prepare Flight Books well ahead of a flight, then just update the package as information changes. Closer to the departure time, the pilot or dispatcher creates a flight release with the runway analysis, weight-and-balance, flight plan and current weather, Notams and charts. Flight releases can be emailed, in Adobe PDF format, and stored on iPads or distributed to whoever needs them. Pilots will also be able to make last-minute updates to a Flight Book and generate a new release, without having to start at the beginning.

A useful APG feature is its Max Payload Estimator, which allows users to input all the parameters for a planned departure, including payload, weather and runway characteristics, and calculate the maximum payload that can be carried.

APG is working with Cessna and Embraer and has obtained high-resolution flight performance data for use in iPreFlight. Version 2.1 uses this data for the Citation Mustang, Sovereign, CJ1+ and CJ2+ and Embraer Phenom 100 and 300 and Legacy 600 and 650, allowing operators to fly with the maximum-possible payloads. Flight-planning functions use the manufacturer data and winds and temperature aloft data to calculate fuel burn for minimum fuel or time, reserve, alternate and holding fuel.

For operators of large fleets, APG can work with third-party flight support and flight planning providers, integrating their systems with the iPreFlight Windows dashboard software. Companies that APG is working with include Air Support, Arinc Direct, Rockwell Collins/Ascend and Universal Aviation.

The APG apps are free, but users need to have an APG account to use the app. Data for each customer is specific to each aircraft entered into the system, and it takes APG about a week to set up a new customer aircraft with the aircraft-specific weight and balance data. APG charges $1,500 a year per aircraft, which includes a license to use up to three iPads for that aircraft.