NAVIGATION APPS FOR IPAD
I personally feel that the best invention for aviation was the advent of GPS in the cockpit. The second best invention is the IPad in coordination with navigational APPS such as ForeFight and WingXPro7.
As you know from my previous columns I have been a proponent of WingX over ForeFlight, that is until now. When I bought my IPad 1, I had to make a decision ForeFlight or WingX. ForeFlight (FF) had much more to offer, and it was no contest. I signed up with FF for a year and was extremely happy. I never had a glitch and new features were being added during my subscription. WingX was way behind in features and not worth purchasing. Then something happened. WingX made dramatic improvements in it’s product and blew by FF.
At the expiration of my FF subscription I decided to buy WingX. WingX now had both VFR and IFR enroute charts and also added a split screen. This allowed me to have both the enroute chart up along with Seattle Avionics Approach plate. I could see my plane on the chart and where ATC was vectoring me, as I rarely get the full approach from ATC on my travels. With FF I had to switch the page between the chart and the approach. This is not efficient.
Through this year WingX has added many features including altitude above the ground, timer, distance from a waypoint and most importantly track up. To this day the features of WingX outperform FF.
FF has continued to stress quality over quantity making sure that everything works properly before updating their product. This is why the FAA is allowing FF to be used in airliners and charters as an approved Electronic Flight Bag (EFB). FF quality reigns supreme. WingX has taken a different tact introducing new features and not making corrections of it’s existing defects until being contacted on numerous occasions. WingX is not an FAA approved APP for an EFB. You would think that WingX would monitor it’s product and have a way of knowing if there are any defects.
I have now encountered 3 problems with WingX in the last several months that have affected safety of flight.
1: When the IPad 3 was introduced WingX did not work properly for approximately a month. It worked fine on the IPad 1 and 2. The charts were way off showing airports and other waypoints in 2 different areas on the charts and the charts were not seamless. WingX offered a free second year subscription for anyone who owned an IPad 3.
2: I like to start planing my flights a week before leaving. On preparing for a trip to Santa Monica (SMO) I found that the weather would not update, and that I could not do any flight planning. I emailed WingX and notified them of the problem, and they had it corrected in 2 days. If I was making the trip the next day I was totally out of luck and would have to rely on my Garmin 396. I still use my 396 for things that neither FF or WingX will do.
3: This week I am planning a trip to San Diego (MYF), and I also review my return to Scottsdale (SDL). To my amazement the approach plates for SDL would not load, and the screen on WingX started shaking to where I had to reboot it. I contacted WingX and they stated they had found a bug in the program. They also stated they would supply a fix on the next update later in August. I find this totally unacceptable. If they have a fix send it out NOW!
The IPad along with my 396 are my lifelines when I’m flying. If I can’t have faith in what I’m using then it is not what I want to be flying with. I’m also in a quandary because I bought Sky Radar ADS-B IN which only works with WingX or Sky Radar which is not a very good APP.
In a recent article by Sporty’s, Sporty’s compared FF, WingX and Garmin APPS for the IPad. FF came out number 1, Garmin 2, and WingX last. This comparison can be deceiving as Sporty’s is tied into FF and Stratus ADS-B. Therefore I don’t give the survey much credit.
Garmin has been improving their APP and with their resources can pass WingX quickly.
I don’t understand why I might be the only one who contacted WingX with their defects. I would hope others that own the APP would be contacting WingX also. Without maintaining their quality WingX will be losing a lot of customers. It’s too bad, as I still consider this the best Navigational APP on the IPad when it works.