Apple’s iPad has found a new niche in aviation, teaching pilots how to use the modern crop of avionics, especially touchscreen devices. The iPad 2 is an ideal platform for avionics training, with a big colorful touchscreen, plenty of processor power and easy portability. Garmin’s new GTN Trainer app takes full advantage of the iPad 2’s capabilities.
Garmin’s new touchscreen-controlled GTN navigators are so easy and intuitive to use that they hardly seem to need a separate training program. But for those who prefer to learn how to use their new avionics safely on the ground, the GTN Trainer for the iPad 2 is an excellent product. It would be great if Garmin would take what it has learned from developing the GTN Trainer app and produce a similar product for the G1000 avionics, which remain somewhat hard to learn.
The GTN Trainer app costs $24.99 and it is available only for the iPad 2. The original iPad’s processer wasn’t sufficiently powerful to run the Trainer app, according to Garmin.
The utility of the GTN Trainer app extends beyond teaching a new GTN owner how to operate the device; the app lets owners actually practice more complex operations. While loading a flight plan is a fairly easy process on the GTN, it can sometimes be challenging, especially if the route is one with an undefined transition point between airways. In this case, the only way to input that kind of a flight plan is to create a user waypoint at the undefined intersection. Practicing this on the GTN Trainer is a lot better than burning gas or using battery power trying to figure it out before calling ground control for a taxi clearance. And the best way to practice is to have the GTN manual open and follow through each function using the iPad app.
Despite the ease of learning how to use the GTN navigator, the GTN Trainer iPad app is a useful and reasonably priced product. If anything, it will encourage GTN owners to learn how to use the system safely on the ground instead of in the air, and the app will go a long way toward preventing those “why is it doing that?” moments in the cockpit.