Our first guest blogger Aaron D. presents is evaluation of the recently released WingX for Android. Learn about how the Android version of this cross-platform weather and pre-flight intelligence application benefit this Part 135 helicopter pilot.
I am currently using WingX developed by HiltonSoftware. I have been using this program for a few years now following an exhausting search for a program to meet my needs as a part 135 helicopter pilot. A lot of our flights are on call and require me to have instant access to the weather in a regional area. From a full aviation weather package, current IFR charts, AOPA A/FD, FAA Documents, route planner, and on and on, this program has it! WingX provides me with all of the information I need without ever having to go to a computer. I was impressed with it when I was using it on a Blackberry and am even more impressed with the new layout for the Android system. I spoke with the developer a few times and he is wonderful! Tech support answers the phone all the time and works to ensure that you are up and running. I could list all of its’ features here, but the list would be extensive. I suggest you see them at http://www.hiltonsoftware.com/. The best part of the entire program for me…When you download all of the current databases (weather,AOPA A/FD, Charts, etc.) they are stored on your SD card and you don’t have to have an Internet connection to view them!! These downloads for all of the current information are included with the program.
I know this probably sounds like a typical ad from someone who is selling it, I assure you it is not, I won’t get a dime, unfortunately..Wish I could have come up with a program of this quality, probably wouldn’t have to fly anymore!
Down side, I suppose, You can’t file a flight plan as of now with the Android version, but that is soon to be released the developer said.
WingX is NOT free though. I will tell you this is a perfect example of “you get what you pay for”. Well worth the $99. I have compared numerous programs from free to not so free. 🙂 This one is definitely top of my list and I HIGHLY recommend it! They were offering a trial, but you had to call them for an access key, not sure if they still are or not.
If anyone would like any more screen shots, let me know..I would be more than happy to provide them..
This program appears to be limited version 2.0 or better Android devices as the program won’t install on (or be found in the market by) a Google ION device running 1.6. The bullet-list of features includes:
A searchable version of Airport Facilities Directory (AFD or the green book)
AOPA Airport Directory
NACO Instrument Approach/Departure plates that are zoomable
Color-coded METARs and TAFs
Route Planning with airways
Animated weather RADAR displays
Animated E6B flight calculator
A comprehensive set of documents including the FARs
As the program continues to evolve, it is hoped that it will inherit some of the features available on the more mature platforms like Moving Maps, DUATs integration, TFRs, Weight and Balance, Smart Taxi and Sunrise/Sunset information.
Cost: $99.95 (includes first year’s data subscription)
If you are good at interpreting raw Metars and TAFs or looking for textual NOTAMs in the palm of your hand, you’ll find that Aviation Weather is a quick and dirty tool for the job. This truly is a single purpose application so there is no need to wade through multiple screens and buttons to get to the meat of the application.
This ad-supported application (AdMobile) starts up right on the data entry screen where you input the ICAO for the airport you are looking for. They conveniently show you the time in UTC in the upper right side of the screen, right below the normal clock in the status bar.
Using the application is as simple as typing in the airport identifier and pressing the “request” button on the screen. If you want to save this particular airport’s ICAO identifier, you can check off “Add to favorites” before pressing “request.” This will keep you from having to re-type your most frequently requested METARs/TAFs.
The normal screen, blue with some clouds in the background is ok in most scenarios but they offer a “lo contrast” button which will change the screen display to green text on a black screen like the old, original monochrome monitors from the 80s. One complaint I have about the display of information is that, even in this version, after you input an airport identifier and press “request” the keyboard doesn’t close automatically. You can close it to view the whole screen of results by pressing the back button or long pressing on the menu button on your phone (or at least it did on my v1.6 ION device).
This latest version now offers NOTAMs by selecting NOTAM (currently the only option in the menu). While the NOTAM functionality doesn’t allow you to select airports from your Favorites collection it does thoughtfully carry over the currently selected identifier from the METAR/TAF screen. Regardless of the contrast setting from the home screen, the NOTAMs are displayed as white text against a black background. This screen too fails to auto-close the keyboard on my phone.
Bottom line: This app has found a home on my phone for now. For the price, I haven’t found something better yet.
Note that this is video is for version 1.3 rather than the current version which is v 1.41
This is going to be home to Aviator Apps specific to the Android platform. Hopefully in addition to keeping the ‘Droid faithful up to date on new Aviation applications but also to allow you all to provide your feedback on these apps as well as in-depth evaluations of how to make your flying life more pleasant and safe.8