Jeppesen's Surprising VFR Flight App

You might figure the prices for Jeppesen's Mobile FlightDeck apps are out of reach. Not this one.

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Jeppesen's new VFR chart app.

Folks from Jeppesen have been strolling the grounds of EAA AirVenture this week with an iPad in hand to give demonstrations of a nifty VFR flight app with some cool capabilities and a surprising price. The subscription service costs $49 — which usually elicits the question from Oshkosh showgoers, “Per month?” Nope, that’s the price per year.

That's half what a one-year subscription to WingX Pro7 costs and a third the price of ForeFlight Mobile Pro. You get quite a lot less capability with Jeppesen's Mobile FlightDeck VFR app, and that's the point. Jeppesen reasons that if you fly only VFR and don't need IFR en route charts and approach plates, why pay for them?

The Jeppesen app also stands apart because it uses Jepp data to populate its maps rather than digitized sectional charts. As you zoom in on the map, it automatically fills in with more and more data, even to include detailed taxiway and runway depictions. The beauty of this approach is that it eliminates the need to toggle between charts and airport diagrams.

How Jepp handles data is pretty revolutionary. I like to think about it as being similar to the early transition to glass primary flight displays. In the beginning, glass displays presented the same blue-over-brown artificial horizon of a conventional ADI. It wasn’t until synthetic vision arrived on the scene that the full value of glass was realized. In the same way, merely digitizing a paper chart ignores the flexibility that data manipulation affords. Jeppesen gets that.

But the really big surprise is the low price for Jeppesen's VFR app, which updates on a 28-day cycle just like other charting apps. If you're flying home from AirVenture VFR and have an iPad, you can stop by Jeppesen's exhibit here to get a demo and download a free 30-day trial. If you aren't in Oshkosh, you can still get the free trial here.

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