September 14, 2010
First, a quick summary:
• Double tap on map to bring up plates.
• Tap on ‘i’ to select your region of interest to download plates and charts. See Q26 below.
• Tap on upper left button to select chart type (vfr/ifr/tac/fly/hfr).
• Tap on lower left button to toggle terrain.
• Tap on upper right button to switch track up or map north.
• Tap on D> to enter a route. Airports have K prefix (ICAO). See Q6 below.
• Tap on the GPS icon to center/lock the display. See Q30 below.
• Tap on Zulu time to toggle zulu/ft/timer. See Q27 below.
• To use X-Plane with SkyCharts, go here: http://skycharts.net/?page_id=228
• BreadCrumbs is explained here: http://skycharts.net/?page_id=365
A/FD = Airport/Facility Directory
TPP = Terminal Procedures Publication
Approach plates = TPP
SIDs, STARs, DPs = TPP
Q1: Why would I want to reboot the iPad daily and how do I do it ?
A1: The iPad is great, but it frequently runs out of memory. Remember its basically a computer but with a lot less memory. This is how to reboot:
Q2: What happened to the $9.99 version of the app ?
A2: That version has been removed from the AppStore.
Q3: How do I cut&paste in iOS ?
A3: First, if you have Mountain Lion on your desktop you can use that to quickly enter Notes (with routes) to yourself:
To cut&paste, follow this:
Also see Q44 below how to quickly change apps, and disable auto-correct for Notes or it will try to correct the fixes you enter.
Q4: What about chart updates ?
A4: One year of chart updates are included in purchase, after that you will be able to subscribe to another year of chart updates.
Subscriptions are currently $19.99/year.
Q5: How do I cache approach plates ?
A5: As of v2.4 ALL approach plates are downloaded for every region you select. See Q19 on how to select your region.
Q6: How do I enter a Direct course, or plot a course ?
A6: If you just enter one ICAO code you will get a Direct. If you type more than one fix you will get a course.
3 digits = VOR/NDB (NDB’s that have 2 digits are not included).
4 digits = Airports. If your FAA identifier has 3 digits, please prefix the identifier with K in USA. P for AK and Hawaii.
5 digits = IFR fixes
Multiple fixes are OK, try for example (without the quotes) ‘KUAO UBG ATASY KOLM’.
You can’t ‘rubberband’ routes yet though, you have to use the navigation fixes above.
You CAN type in a manual lat/long, see Q23.
And yes, the app auto sequences legs, just look for the D> in the navlog to see what is current D> in the main display.
If you want to use your present position in the route, enter D>.
Q7: How do I change the fuel burn and speed ?
A7: In the route window type for example (without the quotes) ’105KTS 9.5GPH’. You only need to set this once.
The order isn’t fixed, but you do need to suffix with KTS and GPH (or PPH). MPH and KPH will be added at some point.
Q8: How do I change the settings ?
A8: That’s done OUTSIDE of the app. Tap the Home button, then select Settings, then scroll down until you see SkyCharts.
The settings are discussed here: http://www.skycharts.net/help2…..tings.html
Q9: How do I delete the app ?
A9: Tap&HOLD the SkyCharts icon until its starts wiggling. Then tap on the ‘X’ in the leftmost corner of the icon.
NOTE: Your settings for the app will be reset.
Once deleted, please let the device process that for about 1hr (if you had all regions selected this is really how long it takes to delete!).
Then reboot. The icon should be gone.
If it isn’t, repeat the process until it is.
If these instructions don’t make sense, watch this movie on how to delete apps:
Q10: How do I re-install the app ?
A10: Just tap on the price in AppStore/iTunes. AppStore will NOT charge you again, although it sounds like it would.
Q11: What does the ‘key’ symbol mean ?
A11: It means the app will keep your current GPS position centered on the display.
Q12: How do I clear a route ?
A12: Go to the D> screen, then clear the route/direct in the text entry, and add a space. Then press Search. I may add a clear button at some point to make it easier.
Q13: What does the ‘client/server mismatch’ message mean ?
A13: You are running a no longer supported version of SkyCharts. Fastest way to update is to delete, then re-install the application. iTunes will NOT charge you again. Please check Q14 below how to update.
Q14: How come the app complains about expired charts and wants me to go to ?
A14: You are using an old version of the application. Please update the application itself using AppStore. On the device, find the AppStore icon, then tap on Updates to check for app updates. If you don’t see an update, please try Q9&Q10 above.
Q15: How can I tell what version I’m using ?
A15: The ‘splash’ screen (where it asks to View or Confirm) has a version number in it.
Q16: Does the BreadCrumbs feature work in Airplane mode ?
A16: No. More detail about the BreadCrumbs feature can be found here: http://skycharts.net/?page_id=365
Q17: Does SkyCharts work when airborne ?
A17: Yes. All information can be cached, you do NOT need 3G/Edge for data.
Please recall § 22.925:
The easiest way to turn off the radio is to enable ‘Airplane mode’ on the iPhone and ‘Cellular Data’ on the iPad.
Airplane mode also disables the GPS on the iPhone. The iPad will keep tracking even with ‘Cellular Data’ off.
Also disable WiFi on the iPad.
Q18: SkyCharts is too slow on an iPhone 3G device!
A18: Please DISABLE track up and METAR/TAF in the settings. See above how to change the settings.
Q19: How do I know what charts I should cache ?
A19: Just select the region you live in: AK_E, AK_W, US_EC, US_NC, US_NE, US_NW, US_SC, US_SE, US_SW.
Charts will automatically be included for your region, including ALL approach plates.
The regions are the same as the A/FD booklets:
Caching ALL regions take about 5Gb of ‘disk’ on your device.
Q20: Will you port to Android and other platforms ?
A20: Yes, time permitting. However, currently I’m working on making SkyCharts more complete on the iPhone/iPad.
Q21: Is the iPad1 still supported ?
A21: Yes, but you need to install iOS5. If iTunes doesn’t ask you to update, please install the latest version of iTunes here, and once installed it should prompt you to update iOS version on your device. http://www.apple.com/itunes/
Q22: What are the METAR colors ?
A22: See here: http://www.skycharts.net/?page_id=421
Q23: Can I enter lat/long coordinates ?
A23: Yes, any of these lat/long formats are recognized:
An easy way to get manual fixes, is to use SkyVector®, then cut&paste the link from there into SkyCharts using this script:
Q24: What charts are supported ?
A24: New charts will be added over time. Currently these charts are supported:
• VFR sectional charts (this includes some WAC charts for larger coverage)
• Low enroute IFR charts (including AREA charts when zoomed in)
• Terminal Approach Charts (TAC)
• FLY charts = Backside of the TAC charts
• High Enroute IFR charts.
Special Use Airspace info is displayed as red dots.
If you double tap on an airport, then select the SUA Info you get the same data but in different form.
Q25: Will you support UK,Australian,Canadian and European charts ?
A25: I would love to. Unfortunately there are no charts available I can legally use.
What about Mexico ? See above, but the app includes CH22&CH23 maybe that’s good enough ?
Q26: How much space do I need ?
A26: For ALL charts including all SID/STAR/AFD you’re looking at about 5GB.
Q27: How do I reset the timer ? (and how do I change to FLIGHT&TIMER in the first place ?)
A27: Tap on ZULU and it will flip through ZULU/FLIGHT/TIMER. Tap on GS and the visible timer will be reset.
FYI: FLIGHT timer automatically starts/stops when GS is more than 30 knots.
Q28: SkyCharts used to work but I no longer get a GPS fix!
A28: First try rebooting. If that doesn’t help, check Settings>General->Location Services and make sure its ON
Then scroll down for individual App settings and make sure SkyCharts is also ON – every now and then this becomes disabled when upgrading.
See Q1 how to reboot your device.
Also, make sure you have good visibility of the sky. If you are in a basement (or no view of the sky) you will not get any ‘real’ GPS fixes and
SkyCharts tries to filter those out – it prefers GPS only fixes. Also note that the built in GPS does NOT work on commercial airliners.
Either the windows are too small or they have some RF treatment, but it simply doesn’t work. Also note that the built in GPS doesn’t like
going faster than 200 knots, you will also loose your GPS position then.
Also remember, the iPod/iPad wifi does NOT have a gps, they use wifi to find you.
If your iPod puts you in the wrong place, try this link to correct your location:
Also make sure to NOT use ‘Airplane mode’! It disables the GPS.
Q29: What are the dates when new charts become available ?
A29: New charts usually become available 1-2 days before they expire. The dates are listed here:
Q30: How do I make the map follow my current position ?
A30: Please tap on the GPS button on the bottom left so you get a ‘lock’ symbol. Chart will now stay centered as long as the lock is in place.
Q31: How frequently are the METAR&TAF updated ?
A31: Quickest way to force an update is to suspend the app (tap on Home), then make sure you are connected (test with Safari for instance), then resume SkyCharts and the WX dots will be updated after a couple of seconds. The app also tries to update the WX dots every 10 minutes. If you have no connectivity at that time, it will keep using what you had cached.
Q32: Does SkyCharts work with external GPS units ?
A32: Yes, SkyCharts works with currently all Apple approved external GPS units. More info here:
Q33: How do I kill apps on iOS4 ?
A33: Even if you reboot some persistent apps will start up after rebooting, so force quit all apps you don’t really use. Here is how:
Follow this to force quit apps in iOS7:
Q34: How do I know how much left the app has to download ?
A34: Tap the ‘i’ button and for every chart you have two progress bars. The first bar is the download progress. The second bar is unzip progress.
The download bar should move slightly faster than the unzip progress. Both bars need to be at 100% before you should consider the charts cached.
Downloads will continue in the background, but only for 10 minutes (this is the longest time Apple allows background processes to run).
The main (map) page only shows DOWNLOAD process, the spinner will stop once downloads are completed. Only the ‘i’ page shows the unzip progress.
Q35: What do the different airplane colors mean ?
A35: Black is good, you have a current GPS fix. Orange is no fix for 30 seconds. Red is no fix for 60 seconds. If you get a red airplane, make sure you are outside, also check Q28.
Q36: How do I prevent rotation on the device ?
A36: On the iPad, check your Settings and set the button to be ‘Lock Rotation’. On the iPhone, use the rotation lock in software:
Q37: It takes too long to download!
A37: How is your device connected to the internet ?
Remember, if you’re using DSL it will most likely take a while – you are actually better off in most cases to use 3G directly.
In order to get an idea how long it will take to download, please measure your actual speed:
3G should give you anywhere from 7..14Mbps.
DSL is usually only 1.5Mbps
Cable modem can be anywhere from 10..30Mbps
A couple of examples. Say you have:
10Mbps download speed: It will take 50 minutes to delete the cache (all regions), and 1hr30 to download (total 2hr20).
1Mbps download speed: It will take 50 minutes to delete the cache (all regions), and 14hr30 to download (total 15hr20)!
The regions are somewhere between 500Mb to 1Gb in size, use the download speed numbers you got above and calculate how long it will take.
You might want to consider heading over to a wifi hotspot if you’re looking at excessive download times.
Also: If you have multiple devices, please update ONE device at a time.
If you don’t have access to fast wifi anywhere else, check out the free wifi AT&T give to iPhone users:
Also remember that wifi 802.11 will only run as fast as your slowest device, so if you have an old 802.11b device you are throttling the entire wifi network.
Q38: The ‘i’ page is almost blank and has (null) in it, what does that mean ?
A38: Something went wrong when updating from v2.3 or older. Please delete & re-install the app. See Q9&Q10.
Q39: How well does the built in GPS work, do I need to buy an external GPS ?
A39: If you have normal GA plane (Cessna or Piper for instance) with a good view of the sky the built in GPS in the iPad will most likely work.
However, there will be instances when it doesn’t. It works at least 95% of the time, and close to 100% when less than 10000 feet,
it seems the faster and higher you go the higher the chances of the built in gps not working.
I have been at 15500 without any problems a couple of times, but if you search online forums you’ll see reports of it not working.
The built in GPS is however not WAAS capable, so if you want that type of precision you should get an external gps right away.
The iPod touch does NOT have a gps at all, so for that you need an external gps as well. The iPhone 3G&3GS also has a ‘lesser’ quality gps and is worse than the iPhone4&iPad gps.
Q40: What’s the difference on the SUA colors ?
Q41: AirPrint doesn’t find my printer ?
A41: Not all printers are supported yet. Check here for a list of compatible printers.
You can also try this to enable airprint from your desktop computer:
Q42: What’s ICU and how do I use it ?
A42: ICU stands for IphoneConfigurationUtility (but it works for all iOS devices) and can be used to display debug information from apps running on the device.
Download it below. Note: Run this on your DESKTOP computer!
Once installed, plug in your USB cable and your device, then find your device on the left, then tap on Console.
You will see messages when apps are running. I can most likely tell what’s happening if you email those messages to me.
Q43: Do you support geo-referenced approach plates ?
A43: Not until FAA adds geo-referencing. Supposedly they have been working on that for a while, but I don’t know when they will become available.
Q44: When will you add feature X (like scratchpad) ?
A44: Depends, see the release schedule. Also, since iOS4.3 now supports 4&5 finger gestures to quickly change apps instead of waiting for that, please try finding another app that does what you want and simply switch between it and SkyCharts ? The new gestures are discussed here:
Q45: The display is too bright at night!
A45: I have been hoping Apple would add a new setting for that, but seems like they are not.
In the meantime, check out the ‘white on black’ setting:
Q46: What does the green airplane on the high enroute charts mean ?
A46: Its just to show that charts are aligned, 1/2 of the plane is one one chart, and the other half on the other chart.
Q47: I can’t register on the forum ?
A47: Sorry, too many spammers registering. Please check the contact tab on the main page and email any questions instead and I’ll update the FAQ accordingly.
Q48: I get a link to update.html, what does it mean ?
A48: You are using a no longer supported version of SkyCharts. App updates are free, please follow the advice here:
Overview video. Please view this usage video to get a quick overview of how to use the application. Note: This video is more than 2years old so its out of date, caching is easier and SUA (Special Use Airspace) information that was not present then is included now, High Enroute IFR charts are also supported and the FLY charts as well.
It also doesn’t mention the Published NOTAMs or the textual description of the SUA airspaces.
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