Q: What is Avilution AviationMaps?
Avilution, LLC is a developer of applications for Android™ devices, for use on cell phones and tablets. AviationMaps, developed by Avilution, is an in-flight information source for pilots including moving maps or charts, NOAA weather, terminal procedures or plates, airport and taxi diagrams, A/FDs, flight plan filing, and more.
Q: What Android devices do you recommend?
AviationMaps works on a wide range of Android devices running Android 2.2 or later. Many of our customers use us on their phones as a backup to their primary source of information. We regularly test our applications on a Galaxy Nexus and Samsung Galaxy Vibrant, and occasionally on other phones and tablets. We have a ton of users using various devices from Motorola and HTC as well.
There are a wide range of tablets out there. In general, any tablet from a reliable manufacturer will work just fine; if you’ve heard of the maker it should be safe. Low end tablets from no-name manufacturers often don’t have enough RAM in them to work properly, however.
Smaller 7” tablets are very popular as they seem to fit into many people’s cockpits. We fly with the 7” Galaxy Tab regularly, so it is very well supported. The Kindle Fire works great and is cheap. Be aware that it does not include an internal GPS, however. Viewing charts works just fine, but we won’t show where you are on a chart.
We also test on 10” Motorola Xoom devices, and a number of our customers have reported very good luck with 10” Samsung tablets. The ASUS Transformer is known to work well, but don’t get a second generation one with a metal back as the GPS has known problems; there is a version with a plastic back which is reported to work fine. Toshiba and Acer tablets have poor GPS reception as well.
Q: How much storage space does AviationMaps use?
It depends on how many states charts and plates you want to store on your device. It’s hard to give precise numbers, but if you downloaded our full data set, including sectionals, low altitude charts, high altitude charts, and a full set of approach plates for the United States is around 8 gigabytes, so any device with 16GB of storage is fine. You can also use external storage cards on many devices; we suggest using a card of 16GB or larger.
If you don’t fly outside of your home region, you will use substantially less storage space.
Q: When are you going to get FAA approved? Why can’t I use AviationMaps for navigation?
No portable electronic device can be used as a primary source of navigation information; only panel mounted, TSO certified devices can be used as navigation sources. This applies equally to any portable, hand-held device. AviationMaps is for situational awareness use only. Please reference AC91-78 and AIM Chapter 1 for more information regarding removal of paper aeronautical charts from the cockpit and restrictions for use of hand-held devices for navigation.
Please note that Avilution, LLC does not check the chart and database information nor do we guarantee that any device used will not interfere with equipment or systems required for flight. Thus, it is the PIC’s responsibility to verify all available information before flight and determine suitability of device being used, including completeness and accuracy of data presented.
Q: Why does the distance between two waypoints seem to be really far off?
If you have selected “Track Position” and have a valid GPS fix, the app behaves like a GPS and shows the distance and bearing in the active flight leg as relative to your current position. If you have selected “Don’t Track Position” then it operates as though in a flight planning mode and the waypoint distances are relative to each other.
Q: How can I improve my GPS reception?
We have had reports of success using various Bluetooth GPS receivers, including the Dual XGSP150/A and Garmin GLO. We’ve also had quite a few people report that Tether GPS works well. It is an application which broadcasts an Android phone’s GPS position over WiFi and allows other Android devices to use that for location. For Kindle Fire devices, which include neither GPS nor Bluetooth, this allows them to have location information. While we don’t test any of these approaches, they seem to work well for our customers. We recommend installing “GPS Status and Toolbox” to improve the performance of in-phone and in-tablet GPS’s. Please remember never to try to use a phone or tablet’s GPS for navigation! They often are just not very reliable or accurate!
Q: What geographies do you cover? What about Canada?
We cover areas which the FAA charts through its AeroNav division. That primarily means United States (including Hawaii, Alaska, and Puerto Rico) and its territories. We do have chart coverage (sectionals and enroute) for portions of Canada and Mexico but approach plates are not available. If you live in an area where electronic charts are easily available please let us know and we’ll look into supporting your region.
Q: Do you support real time weather or ADS-B? What about TIS-B?
We are currently supporting Baron’s MobileLink product for weather delivered over XM Radio by WxWorx, SkyRadar via Wi-Fi for in flight weather through ADS‐B transmissions and the Dual XGPS170. With AviationMaps, ADS‐B will provide NEXRAD Radar, METARs, TAFs, NOTAMs and PIREPs. We plan to expand our ADS-B coverage in the future. TIS-B is not yet supported as the lack of aircraft using this technology may create a false sense of safety.
Q: Do I have to have an internet connection to use your application?
You do need a connection to download data, but that data is stored locally on your device and is fully accessible in flight without an active connection.
Q: How do I get AviationMaps? Is there a difference between the Google Play version and the version on the Avilution web site?
If installing from the Avilution website, a prompt will appear for changing the Android device settings to “allow installation of apps from unknown sources.” This can be changed back after installation is complete. You can also get our application via the Amazon App Market if your device supports that.
You can also install AviationMaps from the Google Play Store now. However, that version only allows the purchase of year long increments of data with no recurring component due to limitations in Google’s in app billing model.
Q: AviationMaps isn’t in the Amazon Market? Why? How do I get it on my Kindle Fire?
For some reason Amazon hasn’t made our app available for the Fire. We really have no idea why, and when we’ve asked we were told to “be patient”. For now you can install directly from our web site but be sure to allow third party applications in the settings menu.
Q: If AviationMaps app crashes, how do I send you a crash report?
If you installed through Google Play, please use the automated crash report functionality. If you installed directly or via Amazon, add the application “aLogcat” from Google Play. Immediately after the AviationMaps crash, launch the application and send us the your debug log by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Q: What about Geo-Referenced approach plates?
We are currently beta testing (as of Feb 2013) Geo-referenced terminal procedures and airport diagrams. Avilution intends to announce a formal release with pricing options, soon.
Q: How do I know if my charts are up to date?
When starting AviationMaps, you should briefly get a date on the opening screen which shows you when your current airport database is due to expire. If no red bar appears at the bottom of the screen, then your charts have successfully been downloaded to match the states you selected within the preferences. If you change the states you want, you’ll need to update your charts again to make sure it lines up.
Q: How do I file a flight plan or receive a flight briefing?
After starting AviationMaps, you can access “Flight Pad” feature using the drop down menu in the upper left. Within Flight Pad, the tab farthest to the right is “Briefing” and from there you can receive your flight briefing and file FAA flight plans. The first time you use it, you’ll need to select the “configure” button and enter your DUATS username and password which you can obtain at http://www.duats.com at no charge. Please note that DUATS and DUAT are different services. Once you’ve configured your DUATS information, just click on the “Request” button. All fields (except “Remarks”, “Close With” and “Alternate”) must be filled out and should be blue when finished. Please note that when filling out the pilot information, all fields there need to be filled out and the pilot phone number must be exactly in the form “256-555-1212″ (dashes and all). On smaller devices such as phones, completing the form in landscape mode is significantly easier.
Q: Where is the manual?
Avilution’s AviationMaps manual is a PDF document and can be downloaded here.
Q: How do I make suggestions or feature requests? What if I have an issue with the data or the application?
Feel free to contact us anytime if you have questions, comments or recommendations for making our product better! Service is everything and we want to hear about your experiences: good, bad or otherwise. If you experience any issues whatsoever, notify us right away so that we can correct the issue and notify other subscribers that may be effected. Avilution is a small company that values each and every user and we strive to make our product as complete and reliable as possible!
Q: I only see the $74.95 data subscription option on Google Play. How do I get the monthly $4.95 or annual $54.95 options that are automatically renewed?
We recommend using a “regular computer” while accessing Google Wallet, for ease of use and access while managing your billing and data subscription information. To see additional subscription options, including a 30 day free trial for new users, visit services.avilution.com/services.
Q: Can I install AviationMaps on multiple devices?
Yes! Your AviationMaps subscription is authenticated using your GoogleID and can be associated with multiple devices, such as a tablet and mobile phone.
Q: How do I setup my Android device to use an SD card?
The AviationMaps application can be moved from your local directory to an SD card if desired. To set the location preferences for AviationMaps, tap Main Menu > Preferences > Device Settings > Path to external storage. Type in the complete directory string (like /mnt/sdcard). Once the directory has been properly set, AviationMaps will do the rest.
The way you find the SD card directory will depend on the device and the file management software running it. We recommend referring to your device manual for detailed information. Android devices usually install SD cards under the /mnt (mount) directory off of the root directory. (Motorola Atrix II displays files under /mnt/sdcard). Some file manager programs will automatically show the SD card as a separate location, like “SD Drive” (similar to seeing drive “D:” under windows), which may not be be the actual location of the SD card directory. In that case, you will need to install file management software that will let you see the actual android root. Search for the /mnt directory and select it to see how the SD card is named. You will need that complete directory string of the SD card. Some devices have multiple SD card ports which may show as /mnt/sdmicro or /mnt/sdcard (some ASUS devices). Make sure you select the SD card that you plan to keep in the device so that you don’t loose the data when you remove one of the SD cards.
There are known issues with using SD cards where during application install, users will experience what some describe as an “endless loop” where AviationMaps keeps asking to install the data files. This is typically caused by a corrupt file or file allocation table on the SD card. That problem can be repaired by plugging the SD card into your windows computer and running chkdsk /f which should fix the file size or file allocation table. Next, look in the various data file sub-directories. If there are zero-size files under the any of the sub-directories, remove the read-only flag (by right-clicking on the file and selecting properties) to delete them. BE SURE THAT YOU PROPERLY DISMOUNT THE SD card before you remove it from the computer. If you don’t you could damage a file or the file allocation table again. If you are not sure how to do this, read up on handling removable storage under windows. Or you can shut down the windows computer before removing the SD Card.
After running chkdsk, it may be necessary to delete the AviationMaps directory, uninstall the app then reinstall and update databases and charts.
Q: Some labels, altitudes, etc. are cut off. Where can I find the legend and Special Use Airspace information?
The vast majority of our users have requested that charts be “stitched” together rather than switching from one chart to another. Unfortunately there are some side effects to this process where the borders meet or overlap that can occasionally cause labels to be cut off. We are working to support an alternative view that would include charts with full borders but there is no ETA yet. In the meantime, Terminal Procedures and Sectional Charts with legend may be downloaded digitally from Aeronav.
Q: Why does AviationMaps crash every time I select Main Menu or try to edit Preferences?
This will occur if “do not keep activities” is selected in developer options the Android device being used. Selecting this option will kill an activity as soon as a user leaves it. To check the setting and turn it off, select System Settings > Developer Options > Do not keep activities.
For more information or installation and user assistance please view our online user guide.