Online Community of Zenith Builders and Flyers
If you haven't seen this app, I found it while looking at Garmin's solution that costs thousands. You can use this app running with your traditional "steam gauges" or digital cockpit. It will give you emergency landing airports and a glide path for wherever you are during your flight, airport or not. All you do is follow the emergency glide airspeeds and path through a series of hoops in the sky. You still use your regular apps or EFB for flying your flight plan and AHRS, but you always have emergency options en-route with this app and a separate iPad or phone. Check it out on the YouTube video he made. Seems to be a very low-cost subscription for the capability it gives you.
It was developed by the programmer who invented X-Plane.
NOTE - I AM NOT SPONSORED. I FOUND THIS APP WHILE ON LEVEL AVIATION'S WEBSITE.
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It may be a great app that might have some application for a slippery plane flying in the teens or higher. However, I don't see turning to an app in a life or death situation when flying a Zenith or other light aircraft, typically at 10,000 feet or less.
When my engine dies I'm looking down at a 45 degree angle and picking a spot within that range. I am not going to fire up an app during these critical seconds and try and decide if it makes sense or not. Or let it kill me.
If you had watched the video, you'd see that the app is on at all times as a backup and there is no "tuning". You simply hit "EMER" and the window in the sky tells you where to fly at best glide. It is constantly providing the best glide angle solution and distance and your glide area is shown no matter where you are. The great thing is that you are free to look down 45deg and ignore the app.
I am not trying to win an argument here so please don't take this personally. I am trying to explain some real-world concerns with using this app.
I looked at this video from 2015.
IF you are in IMC and/or flying at night there may be some benefit to the system as a very last ditch solution. It had better be because your are now trusting you life to an Ipad app. This of course assumes that the app takes into account your precise airplane performance and flying skills. It also must calculate the wind speed and direction to extreme precision, including gust factors and changes in heading.
In a real world VFR or IFR scenario, the pilot is still going to be trying to troubleshoot the problem which means taking your eyes off the screen. Even in this video the inventor, while trying to demonstrate this "amazing app" and publishing it for YouTube - can't even keep his own plane within the boxes.
The other aspect of trying to fly this in IMC is - how do you work this into your instrument scan in solid IMC? Do you now spend hours practicing and staying current working an Ipad app into your instrument scan? This over-simplification of IMC or dark night flight (where this is supposedly a useful function of this system) completely ignores the reality of IMC flying and critical instrument scanning. If you've ever flown single-pilot IFR, just hand flying the plane and keeping the right side up is very challenging and requires constant practice. Adding an Ipad app, and following these gates in the sky, into your instrument scan would likely result in a loss of control for anyone one that has not spent a huge amount of time practicing with this system.
However, the worst part of this app is the basic concept of the flight route or box window layout. If you follow the boxes you are literally giving up precious altitude in a life or death situation. The app has you fly some presumably perfect arc to align you with a runway. This arc is wasting precious altitude - as opposed to flying direct to the airport. This is a critical flaw in my opinion.
And what happens if you accidentally miss one of the boxes to the outside of this arc, as can easily happen in such a stressful situation? (This guy couldn't keep his own invention inside the boxes in his own demonstration video). Well, now you are totally screwed because you are now going to come up short - because you didn't fly direct to the airport.
The more I look and think about this it is really nothing more than a fun addition to Xplane or some other flight simulator. I can't see a single real world scenario where this is going to put the typical pilot in a better situation to land a plane safely in a critical loss of power scenario.