The iPhone is an assisted-GPS smartphone manufactured by Apple Inc. Users have access to iTunes (Apple's online shop), and may purchase and download different applications (programs) to their phones. There are several programs that may prove useful for aviation professionals. For example, aviators may download a tracking position application which uses the iPhone's GPS features to track the position of their aircraft every second during a flight (it can be used with the sim card removed so as to eliminate airwaves interference). At the end of the flight, users can download the data onto Apple servers and retrieved it from there as spreadsheet files as well as video files that can be opened in Google Earth (these playing back an animation of the whole flight in a 3-D environment). The tracking reliability of this assisted GPS seems to be good for purpose.
This application allows for post-flight analysis of a flight. This may prove beneficial to different aviation users in different contexts. Eg:
- Pilot students may be able to revisit a particular flight, especially if something unusual happened during it.
- Recreational users, such as gliders and paragliders, seem to be keen to show progress to colleagues in Google Earth, especially after competitions.
- Commercial pilots may use it for feedback purposes after a job done. For example, to "prove" to a customer the agricultural field sprayed and the time spent in doing so.
Avionics producer, Garmin developed a revolutionary iPhone/iPod Touch application named as Pilot My-Cast, which is dedicated for flight crew members. The application is capable of providing detailed aviation weather information, subsequent assistance in drafting out the flight plan as well as functions for filing the flights. Flight crew members are only required to enter the flight route. The application will subsequently display the planned flight path with the weather conditions expected along this flight path. Such convenience would reduce a pilot workload and allow him/her to dedicate greater attention to piloting the flight(Flightglobal, 2010).
Flightglobal. (2010, January 25). General aviation in brief. Retrieved 5 September 2010, from http://www.flightglobal.com/articles/2010/01/25/337530/general-aviation-in-brief.html.