THIS FAQ IS NO LONGER MAINTAINED!
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.
• 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.
• BreadCrumbs are explained here.
Usage video here.
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. Please hard reboot if possible.
Q2: Why are there ads in the application ?
A2: Your subscription has run out.
Please see the Subscription tab for more details.
Q3: How do I cut&paste in iOS ?
A3: First, if you have OSX 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: When downloading the app you have 30 days to try it out.
Chart updates happen every 28 days or so. More here.
Q5: How do I cache approach plates ?
A5: They are automatically included.
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, or you can import routes from online planners.
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.
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.
Q10: How do I re-install the app ?
A10: On your device, press the Home button, then tap on AppStore. Search for SkyCharts, then download it. Do NOT use iTunes.
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. Please check Q14 below how to update.
Q14: How come the app complains about expired charts and wants me to go to http://skycharts.net/update.html ?
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 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.
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.
Charts will automatically be included for your region, including ALL approach plates (in USA). The regions are the same as the A/FD booklets. Caching ALL regions take about 13Gb 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.
Q22: What are the METAR colors ?
A22: See here.
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.
- Helicopter VFR charts.
- VFR Gulf Coast WAC.
- IFR Gulf Of Mexico.
- VFR Wall planning chart.
- ONC worldwide charts!
- Low Enroute Caribbean 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: Would love to. As of 1505 worldwide ONC charts are provided! Due to legalities Canadian charts are impossible, but If you know of some other charts I can provide please see the contact tab.
Q26: How much space do I need ?
A26: For ALL charts including all SID/STAR/AFD you’re looking at about 13GB of disk. Please choose regions carefully before downloading ALL data.
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.
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. Note that the built in GPS does NOT work on commercial airliners. 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. 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.
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: No longer applicable.
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 ?
Q42: What’s ICU and how do I use it ?
A42: As of iOS8 this is no longer relevant.
Q43: Do you support geo-referenced approach plates ?
A43: Not until FAA adds geo-referencing.
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. If you’re looking for a checklist with scratchpad, please consider using Active Checklist.
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 HIFR chart mean ?
A46: Simply shows that charts are aligned, 1/2 of the plane is one one chart, and the other half on another chart.
Q47: What happened to the forum ?
A47: The forum has been discontinued. 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.
Easiest way to fix this is simply to delete&re-install.
Please see Q9&Q10 above.
If you have any questions, please see the contact tab how to get support.
Q49: What does the “Chart expired..” mean ?
A49: You get 30 days of free data when downloading the app, but after that you have to pay for updates. More here.
If you have v3.9 of the app, please tap on ‘i’, then on Buy to extend your subscription.
If you don’t have v3.9 of the app, please see Q48.
Q50: What does ‘in app purchases not allowed’ mean ?
A50: Make sure your settings allow in app purchases.
See here for more details.
1.6.1 First iPad Version
1.7 iPad version with terrain, please use X-Plane to see what this looks like when you have altitude:
1.8 Universal app of SkyChartsPro. G-Fi support.
1.9 Bugfixes for iPad 3G
2.0 Bugfixes for running out of memory when updating.
2.1 iOS4 fixes. Cached METARs/TAFs. Fix for missing METARs
2.2 More iOS4 fixes, including fast suspend/resume. Fix for random rotation of airplane icon.
2.3 Automatic nearest calculation with bearing and distance (iPad gets 20 closest, iPhone has one). ZULU time on display.
2.4 iOS4 changes. Release of both Classic&Pro. New easier chart selection, and faster download. Show current chart cycle and expiration date.
2.5 Background download. SUA information (SpecialUseAirspace). High Enroute IFR charts. Partial WAC charts to extend sectional coverage.
2.6 AirPrint support. iOS4 fixes.
2.7 Fix when updating from old version.
2.8 X-Plane fix, new Pacific region select (and charts), and Alaska low&high IFR charts. Removed G-Fi support.
2.9 Maintenance update: Updated database, less download threads to improve slow networks like DSL or Edge.
2.9.1 GUI fix for iPhone 4S
2.9.2 iOS5 fix for XPlane
2.9.3 iOS5 fix, set file attribute to avoid file deletion by iOS. Added Action button to plate viewer to allow other apps to view PDFs.
2.9.4 X-Plane 10 fix
2.9.5 Retina display support
2.9.6 iPhone5 and iOS6 updates
2.9.7 Ground speed fixes and removed iOS4.3 support
2.9.8 Easier to select charts and better search help
2.9.9 Bugfixes – the database could in some instances become corrupt first time you run the app
3.0 iOS7 bugfixes
3.1 iOS7 bugfixes
3.3 In-app-purchase contents fix
3.4 In-app-purchase fixes, remove Buy button if subscription is valid.
3.5 iOS8 fixes
3.6 Support for iPhone6 and iPhone6 Plus screen resolutions
3.7 iOS8 fixes
3.8 Helicopter,GCW,GOM and Wall charts added
3.9 ONC fixes.
4.0 Over-zoom restored, iOS9 fixes.
5.0 Total rewrite. This includes easier to use selection of charts, easier search, and other GUI goodies.
5.1 Winds Aloft.
5.2 HSI overlay.
5.4 Radar overlay.
Add ‘GPS only’ switch (instead of using gps/cell/wifi – the latter two can be very inprecise).
Display disk usage. E6B. Cross track readout. Allow customization of GPS readouts. Colors. Icons.
Show scale of charts, or an extension of plane with NM in it. Extend Info sensitivity area.
Look into MSFSX connection.
Show breadcrumbs on map for flight so far.
GPX export. Save/restore flight plans (automatically).
Add home/favorite identifiers for quick selection.
Allow user to download everything in X miles around route.
Include winds aloft calculation in navlog.
Add more phone numbers & ILS frequencies etc to a new page with a clear airport info.
Free text search of navigation database. More options to BreadCrumbs.
Add international airports to navigation database. Decoded METAR/TAF.
Add a human readable form of lat/long instead of what’s in place now.
Showing what type of airspace currently you are using. Glide-range.
Change chart selector to avoid cycling through unwanted charts.
Automatically display airport diagram when on ground (give user choice if they want this or not).
Larger/customizable flight data readout.
Fix copy/paste issue. Build database for approach plates vs fixes.
Make it easy to add holds: left/right and time or distance.
Link A/FD to tower enroute control (SoCal for instance)
Add international fixes so all low&high enroute charts can be added.
Quick select list of favorite airports/IAPs.
Import other flight planner waypoints somehow.
Add dimmer for night flying.
List frequencies for ATC in your region.
Add lock for inadvertent touches.
CAP search pattern
Easy user select of custom waypoints on charts.
VOR check data from A/FD
Manually geo-reference approach plates and airport/taxi diagrams
Add obstacle data and highlight obstacles close by
Show navigation data on approach plate
FYI: If you have an iPod touch or an iPad wifi, you can get GPS location in a couple of ways.
These products work well:
You can also jailbreak your device and add an inexpensive GPS bluetooth receiver.
For the iPod touch the RoqyBT reportedly works.
For the iPad wifi the BTstack reportedly works.
FYI: You loose your warranty if you jail-break. Please be careful!