Thursday, 1 October 2009

Who stole my week?

It's been a busy week (it's press week) with all sorts of aviation activity and writing going on. Time's still short and the deadline is rushing towards us, so I thought I'd go for the short, succinct blog review of the week so far...

Katana - Safe, strong and a bit expensive
Egyro - Expensive, small and hard to use
iPhone software - Get AeroWeather
Dick Rutan 'Decision Making' DVD - Good, but very cheesy in places
Log Ten Pro - Amazing customer support

Now for QSY...

Wednesday, 30 September 2009

What do you think about solo time?

Only time for a quick post today, it's deadline week for FLYER magazine and there are a few things to do... anyway, a quick question. Is solo time valuable on the way to an airline career? If so, how is it valuable and how much solo time is needed to bring that value?

It's not a random question, but it seems that Europe and the USA could be moving apart on this one.

Monday, 28 September 2009

United States of Europe













I am used to finding this kind of thing in the USA, but this web site is aimed at the European market.

EuroFPL was launched by Travis Holland as a solution to the endless nights he spent in Iceland trying to get routes accepted to airports in Europe. As his hours available for sleeping were robbed by battles with CFMU's deep thought routing computer, Travis yearned for something like www.fltplan.com that would show acceptable and validated routes... and so in March 2009 the Eurofpl project was launched. It is currently supported as a public service of Holland Aero. The basic flight plan filing, route catalogue and weather briefing services will always be free. Premium subscribers ($EU100/yr) will have access to SMS service, JAR-OPS certified wx services, flight notifications, and other value added services.

Current features include: Route catalogue with search capabilities, built-in validation, guaranteed ACK within one minute of filing, RTEPOINTS from CFMU delivered via email, CTOT delivered via email, support for DLA and CNL from Blackberry or iPhone and the ability to send ARR from Blackberry or iPhone when landing at uncontrolled fields.

There are loads of other bits and pieces including internet-based live route tracking. Quite frankly it's a bloody great little website that makes European IFR flying that little bit easier.

Take a look www.eurofpl.eu

Electronic plates























I've done a little flying with the SolidFX Plate reader recently. It's based on an Irex ebook and comes loaded with software that's the fruit of a partnership between Jeppesen and SolidFX.

Initially it failed at the first hurdle, i.e. I had to have a quick look at the manual to get it to work. I didn't have any trouble displaying the plates, but rather the super-sensitive external controls kept scrolling and switching and doing all sorts of stuff that I didn't want. A quick read explained how to disable them.

Once I'd got to grips with the basics the unit worked well - the display size is slightly too small for my 47-year-old eyes to read easily, but a stylus enlarges and scrolls with ease.

There are price deals for the Jepp data if you already have a JeppView subscription and the unit itself sells for $1600 - not cheap. If you do a fair amount of IFR touring, the the ability to access plates in the air without having to carry bags full of laboriously updated books is worthwhile - I would still take printed copies of my departure, destination and alternate airports, but having anywhere else at hand in a small, lightweight package is a win, at least if it fits in with your kind of flying, and of course your kind of flying budget.