Garmin Pilot App Overhauled: Game Changer?

Major changes for the company’s popular iPad app.

New Garmin Pilot

New Garmin Pilot

** Garmin Pilot**

Garmin today announced a major upgrade for its popular Garmin Pilot iPad app — we've already been flying a beta version of it for a week now — and this one might be a game changer. There are a few cool new features: version 5.0 adds track up, chart annotating and cloud-based syncing (so your flight plans are available on any device you use to run Garmin Pilot). But all of these pale in comparison to one update, which makes Garmin Pilot in many respects a brand new product.

This feature is what Garmin refers to as dynamic mapping, and Garmin is not the first to market with this feature, though its implementation of it is extremely well done.

Jeppesen launched this feature, which it calls “data-driven” maps on its fine though intentionally feature-limited app, Jeppesen Mobile Pro. Data driven maps are in essence maps that are unbound by the concept of the printed page. Turn the map upside down, and the labels turn with you. Zoom in and the size of symbols change to fit the available space.

The result of dynamic mapping is that Garmin Pilot, which was already a top app, is even better, offering a wealth of features, including integration with the company’s own GDL39 ADS-B receiver, with industry leading map views. With all the bells and whistles, including SafeTaxi and geo-referenced flight charts, Garmin Pilot goes for around $150 a year.

The enhanced version of Garmin Pilot is currently only available for iPad and iPhone users, with a similar updated Android version slated for release later this year.

For a full review of Garmin Pilot 5.0, check out an upcoming issue of Flying.