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Flight planning: paper maps, or software, or both?

We have a reasonable mix of European pilots here; not just the standard UK community

How do people here do it, and why?

Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom

Paper maps, while flying inverted :D

Seriously, Both... I like the speed of the software (I use Skydemon), and tend to use it for Notam/METAR/TAF/Flight Plan Filing; and occasionally for route planning if I am in a rush, but I always print out/hand write the PLOG. I have twice had a ipad fall over on me, once mine (battery) and once with a fellow pilot (overheat).

But I also like to be able to do the long hand calcs etc... call me wierd, but I get a good feeling from working out that if I fly on a heading for a particular time I should see something... and when I do, it feels good and is my enjoyment from flying.

If it was just a case of flying with an iPad I would always want to take a paper backup with me. With an MFD, two Garmin GPS navigators and an iPad in the new aircraft I am planning to fly paper free other than taking one Jepp folder with enroute charts and RADs as sometimes in planning it is easier to be able to look at a paper chart to get an idea of what is going on.

EGTK Oxford

Nowadays I tend to do my initial flight planning on SkyDemon with the iPad because I can do that absolutely anywhere, and I have the Pooleys iPlates as well. Its easier to use SkyDemon to manipulate things and try different options and get instant time / distance calculations. I also like it because it shows a lot of the IFR waypoints that do not appear on the UK CAA charts, and thats handy for loading into the GPS :-)

Later, I then transfer the flight to a CAA chart to make sure I havent missed any danager areas, gliding sites and to check airpsace boundaries and who I could get a Radar (sorry Traffic) service from if I needed it. I also put all Pooleys plates for all en-route airfields onto my A4 kneeboard ring binder. For the PLOG I use the SkyDemon iPAD generated one, rather than the SkyDemon PC version but I rarely look at it in flight, but its useful as a backup should all the GPS's fail and its back to the WWII method. I check NOTAM's on the AIS site as well, and use RocketRoute for flight plans. I have a RR subscription so havent tried SkyDemon for flight plans. I also think, dont put all your eggs in one basket, and use different pieces of software so you dont have one single point of failure.

In the air, I mostly use the Garmin GNS430, but have SkyDemon running as well, and carry the CAA chart with me as well. For plates, I prefer the paper copies attached to my kneeboard rather than using the iPad.

Both, it's a no-brainer. Also use Skydemon because of the 'while-you-fly' graphical/map references to NOTAM details/sites. Good to have the rigour of the time and heading method wrt paper maps and the convenience of checking/using GPS at times of higher workload or occasionally to react more easily to e.g. ATC requests to 'report at'


Paper maps for VFR because there is currently no way to get the Jeppesen VFR maps on an iPad.

I dislike the Jepp VFR maps and think that most locally issued maps are much better but I don't want to figure out the system of each country before flying there so I stick to the least common denominator.

For IFR, no paper maps for enroute and for approach charts either paper printouts or a 2nd iPad as backup.

The GNS430W drives my autopilot but the yoke mounted Garmin 695 is my main GPS for tactical things (check distances, airspaces, monitor forced landing options, VORs, etc.) as well as the iPad with JeppFD.

IFR flight planning with RocketRoute, VFR with various tools depending on where I go. Jeppesen Internet Flight Planner is a very old and little known tool but it is highly practical because you get worldwide coverage for about 150 € a year.

All flight planning on PocketFMS (Weather, Notams, Route). On the iPad mainly, but occasionally still on my PC. Being able to do the NOTAMS the day before hiding non-relevant notams and only checking for new ones before the flight makes things really easy there.

Plog printed from PocketFMS and kept on the kneeboard (and completed during the flight).

Usually I have a paper chart with me too. If the route is in unfamiliar terrority (ie foreign) I will usually have the line drawn on it (copied from PocketFMS).

Though occasionally I won't have a paper chart while going foreign. In these cases I might have a digital copy of the ICAO chart on my iPad (PocketFMS can split the screen so I can see an ICAO chart on one side and a PocketFMS chart on the other) but sometimes not.

If I don't have a paper chart with me, then I will always have two backup system (ie iPad + 2 other devices with PocketFMS) and always have at least 2 devices running at any time so that if the iPad falls over for some reason (it's over headed once when I left it on the panel for a few minutes) I can quickly transition to the other device.


EIWT Weston

Completly paperless is working now in SRXX!

Equipment is an iPad as BACKUP#1 and in IFR a second one as BACKUP#2. The Backup#1 i use also for writing up some notes.

Everything else can be done with the installed equipment of the airplane.

I like this very much, because you don´t haul anymore all that needed paper for the flight.

But i know, there are a lot of people, how like to use paper. Most of them don´t even like to read a book on the ipad. it´s a matter of personal preferences i think.

i use AEROPAD on the iPad. This is done from i pilot and it suits perfectly in our cockpits - if you fly SEP, TurboProps or Jets. It has no navigation features (does not use GPS). I upload all the needed files as pdf into it and then GO. Then i have all the paperwork with me i need.

Flying VFR i use additionally AIRNAVPRO to show the VFR MAP.

APPROACH Charts is use with AEROPAD.

So, i need a pilots case only for the headset and my things when having an overnight.

I like it, but i accept, that not everybody likes it ;-)


One six right!

forgot to say: would be nice to have FlightPlanProIfr (which i use regularly) as well on the iPad! This brings me a lot more mobility when not at home!

One six right!

I'm trying to be paperless with GNS530 and Garmin 295 and iPad with ICAO IFR charts and plates but I still carry Jepp IFR paper charts and printed plates as a backup stored in the bag.

LDZA LDVA, Croatia
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