Affordable Electronic Charts Finally Reach the Cockpit
Atlanta, Georgia - Instrument pilots have long had to deal with a frustrating problem - picking their way through stacks of approach charts during flight. EFB (electronic flight bag) applications have provided paperless flight for some time, but their high price tags put them out of reach for many pilots. The solution seems to have come from an unlikely source: Amazon's new generation of Kindle ebook readers, including their large-format Kindle DX.
Gold Seal, a Georgia-based publisher of pilot training multimedia products, seized the opportunity and developed a new product called AirBrief. Using the internet, the site delivers instrument approach charts, Airport/Facility Directories, and a number of other aviation documents, ready for use on the Kindle DX ebook reader. The device's screen has almost the exact same dimensions as an approach plate. Charts and A/FD pages appear on it full scale with an astonishing degree of clarity. Gold Seal is also developing support for the smaller original Kindle as well as other platforms.
Rob Resnik and Scott Yanke are representative of the dozens of pilots that have been involved in the new product's beta test. None had any affiliation with either Amazon or Gold Seal, and participated in the trial independently.
"The charts are full sized and look beautiful," said Resnik. "With the page index, it's two clicks and you have the approach plates for any airport in the country. Tremendous utility and I don't have to worry about charts blowing away when I open my vents on a hot day."
Scott Yanke reported, "For several years I've been looking for a way to replace 40 pounds of paper charts in the airplane. AirBrief on the Kindle DX seems to be the ultimate solution to this problem. It provides the perfect combination of size, readability, and battery life, and best of all with no panning or zooming needed."
While the Kindle DX allows users to copy their own .pdf files onto the device, a fundamental problem immediately appears with this technique - inability to quickly search for specific pages or charts.
"One solution is for people to make every approach a separate file on their Kindles," noted Gold Seal's technology chief, Paul Kiefert. "This works fine if you only want charts for a couple of airports. But if a pilot needs plates for several states, this quickly turns into thousands of files. It can be a real mess." AirBrief solves the problem by computing page indices that allow users to instantly jump to any airport in an A/FD or TERP volume.
In addition to providing current FAA charts and documents, AirBrief includes an on-demand component called LiveBrief. Kindle users will be able to request and receive books tailored to specific airports. These are defined by the user and can include any combination of A/FD information, current weather charts, airport diagrams, and approach plates.
"LiveBriefs are delivered straight to the pilot's Kindle in under two minutes," Kiefert said. "Because it uses the Kindle's built-in Whispernet access, pilots can get these almost anywhere in the country. No wifi connections needed."
Users may register at www.AirBrief.com
for free. Access to all components of the service is free during an introductory period.
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For more information email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Gold Seal Ventures, LLC
460 Briscoe Blvd.
Gwinnett County Airport
Lawrenceville, GA 30045