SkyDemon Mobile Documentation: Getting Started
Starting Your SkyDemon GPS
When you turn on your SkyDemon device, the first thing you will see after a few moments is a disclaimer screen stating the purpose of our software and the limitations of our charts. You will need to agree that you understand these limitations before you can continue to the main screen. Once you are viewing the main screen, most of which is taken up by the main map, you will see the chart, which will load after a few seconds.
TIP: If your device has not been turned on for a while, or you are turning it on for the first time, it can take a while to obtain an initial GPS fix. To speed this up, take the device outside or place it on a windowsill. The satellite icon at the bottom left will turn from red to yellow or green once a fix has been obtained.
Your screen should look something like the image on the right once a GPS fix has been obtained and the chart loaded. Congratulations, your SkyDemon is up and running! To move the main map around, drag it lightly with your fingertip or the back of your fingernail. The map is dynamically drawn from our vector charts so it's normal to experience a slight delay of less than a second between releasing your finger and the newly-exposed area of the map being completely drawn. You will see a "Redrawing Map" message while drawing is in progress. Zoom in and out by pressing the orange + and - buttons at the sides of the map. SkyDemon Mobile devices have a built-in stylus (which you can find slotted into the bottom right-hand corner of the device) that you can use for more precise manipulation of the screen. A fingertip will also work just fine or you can lightly use the back of a fingernail for more precise control.
GPS Navigation features are also available to iPad users. Some iPads have in-built GPS capabilities while others will require an external receiver in order to get a GPS fix. Once you have established a GPS fix you are ready to start navigating with your iPad! This version of the software contains all of the same features as the SkyDemon Mobile MD device but with the added advantage of not having to sync from another device. You will see two buttons in the top-right of the screen for Simulate and Go Flying. These contain all the same powerful features as the Mobile MD, albeit with a slightly different layout.
Most of the functions and settings in SkyDemon are accessed through the main menu, which you bring up by pressing the SkyDemon icon in the top-left corner. To move the chart to a specific waypoint - such as your home airfield - open the main menu, select Chart, then select Go To Waypoint, or Find Waypoint on your iPad. The Waypoint Finder window appears; start typing the name or identifier of the waypoint, or even a postcode or lat/long coordinates, using the onscreen keyboard and when it appears select it from the results list and press OK. The chart will move so that your selected waypoint is in the centre. After 20 seconds or so, unless you have manipulated the map again, it will snap back to your current position. You can stop it from doing this by going to the Chart menu where you will see an option to Follow Position. On the iPad you can simply toggle On or Off. Mobile MD users will see a green bar next to the Follow Position entry of the menu which indicates that after a few seconds the map will relocate back to your current position. Click on it to stop following position and the green bar will disappear, signifying that the map will remain at the waypoint you have selected.
At this point you will probably want to locate and explore the area around your home airfield to see what it looks like on the SkyDemon map.
One of the most compelling features about SkyDemon is its contemporary chart display, which offers a uniquely uncluttered view of the airspace and other features that matter to your flight. Many of the features of the SkyDemon charts can be configured to suit your individual preferences. To do so, open the Chart menu and choose Map Features/Map Layers. The resulting window has a long list of options which can be scrolled up and down by flicking your finger over it.
The Map Layers menu can be quickly accessed on the iPad by tapping the orange North indicator in the top right-hand corner. You can also press and hold the North Indicator button in-flight to change the chart orientation.
TIP: The Map Features window includes a Weekend View feature. When turned on, all airspace that is designated active only during the week disappears, leaving the chart even less cluttered. Remember to turn it off again after your flight.
SkyDemon includes multiple chart styles, which change the colours and lines used to represent items on the map. You may be able to change to a style that closely mimics the printed charts you are used to in your country. Look near the bottom of the Map Features window on your SkyDemon Mobile MD or at the top of the Map Layers menu on your iPad to see the list of available styles.
Airspace, by default, is only displayed between the surface and 4000 feet, unless your planned route or current altitude differ from this. The settings in the Map Features window are always overriden by your planned route and current altitude, so you can never end up in a situation where you miss seeing some airspace due to misconfiguration. It is best to set the display of airspace from the surface to the maximum level at which you usually fly.
Some types of airspace can simply be toggled on and off: flight information regions, aerodrome traffic zones, military aerodrome traffic zones, sporting areas and miscellaneous (such as bird sanctuaries). Non-airspace features that can be toggled on and off include visual reference points, roads and railways, airways reporting points, rivers and terrain.
If you're using SkyDemon for iPad you have the option to switch the ATS Routes mode, which removes all airspace and map detail that is not relevant to your route for a more uncluttered chart style consistent with flying ATS routes.
Your Aircraft Symbol
The aircraft symbol itself, representing your current position and heading, is highly configurable. From the Settings menu select Preferences and look at the Moving Map tab. You can change the type of aircraft, size, colours and fill mode (solid or outlined) of the aircraft symbol. The trajectory display extending from the symbol can be switched off or set to display 2, 5 and 10 minutes or distance units away. The distance units are configured elsewhere but are set to nautical miles by default. iPad users are able to configure the appearance of their aircraft symbol, as well as changing the trajectory marker units by clicking on Navigation Options in the main menu.
You will spend a lot of your time in SkyDemon looking at the instruments so it is critical to understand them all well. They are covered individually later in this documentation but for the purposes of getting started, we will introduce them all here. Some instruments can be turned on and off or altered by selecting Instruments from the Settings menu.
Your current position is always shown with the aircraft symbol of your choice, as just discussed. You can obtain a quick plain-English position report on your SkyDemon Mobile MD by simply touching this symbol. This same information is displayed permanently at the top of the screen on the iPad which will take you to the live PLOG when tapped. This PLOG will be colour coded to display the leg you are currently flying.
The Direction Indicator shows your track over the ground in degrees true or magnetic, on a standard rotating compass rose. If you have a route plotted, you will see a purple bug in the dial to indicate the direction in which you should be flying to reach your next waypoint. Aligning the bug with the marker at the top of the dial will ensure you get there. This instrument can be hidden and replaced with a simpler course correction indicator which takes up less space (see later).
The Groundspeed and Altimeter instruments are self-explanatory. Groundspeed units are knots by default and can be changed in the Change Units screen under the Settings menu. Altitude is always displayed in feet above mean sea level, and the instrument features a small coloured flag indicating the current vertical precision (see later). You can touch the altitude instrument to change its display to height above the highest terrain within half a nautical mile.
Distance to Next/End shows the distance in nautical miles to the next waypoint or to the end of your route (press to toggle). It will also show the distance to the runway threshold if you are on final approach. If no route is defined, a red and white cross is displayed.
ETA at Next/End shows the ETA at (or ETE to) the next waypoint or to the end of your route (press to toggle). It will also display the ETA at the runway threshold if you are on final approach. If no route is defined, a red and white cross is displayed.
Virtual Radar, arguably the most powerful instrument, is situated at the bottom of the screen underneath the main map and displays a projection of your course ahead and everything of relevance lying in your path. This is very useful for determining what airspace or obstacles might be a threat and how to get around them vertically.
The clock displays UTC (zulu) time by default but can be switched to display local (device) time in the Change Units screen. Be aware that the local (device) time depends on the timezone configured on the device; SkyDemon does not adjust automatically to the timezone of the region over which you are flying.
In the corner of the screen on your Mobile MD device you will see the GPS status icon and battery icon. The GPS status icon looks like a satellite and is purple if GPS is turned off, red for a poor fix, orange for a moderate fix or green for a good fix. The battery icon simply reflects how much life is left in the internal device battery; alerts are displayed on the main map when the level reaches, 30%, 20% and 10%.
Registration, Part 1
You will need to register your SkyDemon Mobile device to activate your flight-planning subscription which you can access on your PC or Mac.
To get started, go to our registration page and have your device serial number ready. All you need to do is enter this and your personal details and your SkyDemon flight-planning subscription will be set up automatically. When you're done you'll be prompted to either download SkyDemon Plan (our flight-planning product for your PC), or to start using SkyDemon Web (our flight-planning product that runs in a web browser on PCs and Macs).
Even if you have already been using SkyDemon Plan, please ensure that you have downloaded the latest version before connecting your device. This will ensure that you do not inadvertently install out-of-date data onto your device.
Syncing with your Computer
How your device connects with your computer depends on what sort of computer you have. If you have a PC, you will normally use MS ActiveSync mode to establish connectivity. If you have a Mac, you will normally use Mass Storage mode. The default for new SkyDemon Mobile devices is ActiveSync. Either way, start by connecting the device to your PC physically by using the supplied USB cable.
Now that your device is connected to your computer, simply press the Sync button in SkyDemon Plan or SkyDemon Web to transfer your routes, current NOTAM and other data to your device.
Registration, Part 2
The second part of registration associates your name with your device. Until you do this, your GPS will say "Unregistered Device" on startup. How you complete this part of registration depends on whether you are using SkyDemon Plan on your PC or SkyDemon Web in a web browser on your PC or Mac.