AeroPad for Android
AeroPad is a PDF and image viewing application made ready for cockpit use. Designed from the ground up by a pilot, it has a lot of unique features no other app has to offer.
- Unique user interface concept specifically designed for cockpit operations
- View PDFs of any size, possibly consisting of thousands of pages, including PDF-navigation (outlines, bookmarks)
- View images of any size, any resolution
- Whiteboard for storing handwriting
- Night mode suitable for night flying (red and green supported)
- Chronostat for one-click-storing of e.g. block time, departure time, etc., in UTC, and calculations
- Delivers the best experience on a tablet, but is also capable of running on Android phones and all other Android devices, which makes these perfect backup options (Android > version 2.2 required)
- Easy file sharing
- Designed with flight safety in mind
- NOTE: this App doesn't contain ANY charts, but programs like Jeppesen JeppView™ make it easy to "print" charts into a PDF.
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The features in detail
User Interface for cockpit use
A lot of effort has been taken for designing the user interface for cockpit operations. While there are many good PDF readers out there for Android, none of them is really suitable for use in a shaky, cramped cockpit environment. Therefore most operations while viewing a document have to be carried out using two or three fingers instead of one, so that accidentally touching the screen while flying doesn't change the page, for example, and therefore it's safe to toss the device around should the need arise to put it away quickly. Additionally, all user interface elements that are needed most frequently during flight are extra large so that they can be identified and hit easily in a shaking cockpit. The concept of a user interface that doesn't stand in your way was top priority during application design - cockpit work can be quite stressful and the least thing you need is an App that stands between you and the information you need in that very moment, fast. So with all these concepts, the user interface is still very easy to use and nothing is more than two taps away.
AeroPad comes with its own PDF viewing engine that allows you to view PDFs of virtually unlimited size and has been tested with files consisting of several thousand pages. You can zoom and scroll at will, anytime. Documents (and images) are arranged as "quick switch items" on the right side of the screen, which allows you to switch between documents very fast (including images - see below). Zoom and scroll settings are preserved per page, per document and per quick switch item, all at once, so that when you return to a page, it will look the same as you left it, e.g. scrolled and zoomed to that very last important part of the IFR approach.
Additionally, AeroPad supports navigation in the PDF via the PDFs outline and supports full bookmarks management.
AeroPad doesn't only display images - it displays images of virtually unlimited size up to multi-gigapixel-resolution which for itself is another unique feature that no other Android app has to offer yet. Imagine having a scanned version of your sectional chart with you on your mobile device!
Because mobile devices are not nearly as fast and doesn't nearly have as much main memory as a typical desktop PC, large images have to be broken down into smaller ones, at different zoom levels. For this purpose the free program "AeroPad Tiler" is provided at http://www.wana.at/aeropad which can be started directly from this webpage, without the need of any installation on your computer, and it will run on any operating system that supports Java (e.g. Windows, Mac, Linux).
The Whiteboard is a scratch space where you can write with your fingers. Very convenient to write down that clearance, METAR, etc. without needing to put your device away!
Your mobile device is also a clock (of course) and the chronostat feature allows you to keep track of block times, flight times, etc, and automatically calculates the difference between them.
Runs on all Android devices (Android-version > 2.2)
Clearly a document viewing app delivers the best experience on a large screen, so a tablet is the most suitable device for AeroPad. However, it also runs on any other Android device, making these perfect backup options for your flight! You only have to buy AeroPad once, it can be installed on as many Android devices as you own!
Yet another unique feature for any PDF reader for Android is AeroPad's night mode feature. When activating night mode, the whole user interface switches to black and red, including the documents you are viewing. Black and green is also supported, e.g. if you are flying with night vision devices. A must for night flying! Be sure to see the screenshots above!
Easy file sharing
PDFs and image files can be loaded into the application in various different ways. Files can be opened directly via the device's Internet browser and can be sent to AeroPad using Android's built-in facilities. This also works from any e-mail-app or any other app that can send files to other apps (for example DropBox, CamScanner, Box, Bluetooth-receiver, ...). There is a large amount of apps that can receive files via Windows file sharing, WebDAV, directly via WiFi, etc. and send them to other apps. AeroPad doesn't interfere with your personal choice in that matter. AeroPad can also open files that reside on the devices SD-card directly.
Flight safety considerations
For any pilot flight safety should be the top concern, so please take note of the following: never rely on this application alone, always have appropriate backups ready and in reach, e.g. printed charts, when conducting a flight! Hardware can fail and software can crash. While there is no guarantee that AeroPad will never crash, a lot of effort has been taken into making crashes recoverable. For example data is written into a database at the earliest moment possible, so that nothing gets lost when the application crashes.
I'D APPRECIATE HEARING ABOUT YOUR EXPERIENCES WITH AEROPAD AS WELL AS ANY FEEDBACK AND IDEAS FOR IMPROVEMENT! I WISH YOU MANY HAPPY FLIGHTS WITH AEROPAD!