SkyDemon Mobile Documentation: Planning a Route
This section concerns planning a route on your device. If you have planned one on your computer and synced with your device, all you need to do to open up your route is select Route View from the main menu then tap Open to take you to your saved routes list. Highlight your chosen route and tap Open again, then click Back to return to the main map where your route will now be plotted, and you're ready to fly. iPad users have the advantage of being able to plan a route, save it and use it for navigation without having to sync from another device.
When your device first arrives it will have a range of charts pre-installed on it. These charts are just a starting point and your subscription entitles you to download and install as many charts as you like. Each time you sync your device with SkyDemon Plan on your PC the charts are also synced across, so to change the charts on your device, simply install the ones that you'd like to use in SkyDemon Plan first.
The charts on your device are loaded and unloaded as you fly, depending on the countries you are flying over or near. This is done seamlessly and results in continuous coverage; you should barely notice it happening. This means that if you are sitting in the UK planning a route on your device to France, you will need to explicitly ask for the French chart to be loaded while you do so, so that French waypoints are available for selection. To do this, open the Chart menu and select Load/Unload Charts.
Creating a Route with the Keyboard
Open the Route View by selecting it from the main menu. You will see a mostly blank screen with Specify Takeoff Airfield button. Click it to begin.
Whenever you add a waypoint to your route using the editor, which includes specifying the start position, you will use the Find Waypoint window. This lets you start typing the name or identifier of a waypoint, and as you type all waypoints are searched and displayed in a list for you to choose from. The search will kick in when you have typed at least three characters. You can also enter the lat/long coordinates or OS grid reference of a waypoint if known, as well as a postcode, (providing you have the Postcode Database file installed on the Mobile MD) in order to create a route.
The buttons on the onscreen keyboard are a little smaller than other buttons in SkyDemon because there are lot of them. For more precise control over it, try using the in-built stylus or the back of a fingernail to press the buttons. The keyboard can be moved out of the way by dragging on its titlebar. To get rid of the keyboard completely, tap on another area of the screen. The keyboard will reappear when you tap in the search box again to carry on typing.
If you were to type "lee" you would get back any waypoints that have "lee" somewhere in their name or identifer. Airfields are presented first, followed by other waypoints in decreasing order of importance. When you have found the waypoint you were looking for, select it (it will be highlighted in green) and press OK.
TIP: You can enter a raw lat/long position in standard degrees, minutes and seconds (eg. N505757 W0022759), or an OS Grid reference with two letters and two to ten numbers (eg. ST61, ST6718, ST673186, or ST67351860), and if you have the Postcode Database installed a full postcode can also be typed in (eg.DT9 5EB). Just remember that no results will be shown when typing in lat/long coordinates, but just tap 'OK' when you're finished and the coordinates will be accepted.
Once you have specified your takeoff airfield you will see a button to specify your landing airfield. After you have done this you will have a simple direct route and you can keep pressing the Insert button to insert intermediate waypoints enroute. The editor allows you to insert and remove waypoints as much as you like. The track and distance between waypoints is displayed for your reference.
You will see in Route View that certain waypoints, such as airfields, are underlined. Clicking on one of these will take you to a page displaying the approach information for that airfield, as well as a button for additional airfield and runway information. Press Back to return to Route View.
TIP: As the list or page becomes longer it may not fit onto the screen. With this and all lists in SkyDemon Mobile, touch your finger on the list (but not on a button) and flick up or down to scroll. A small scroll indicator on the right shows your position in the list. In some cases you will see buttons labelled Pg Up and Pg Down that allow you to see further information on the page.
When you have finished editing your route, press Back to return to the map and you will see it represented with a thick purple line. You can position and zoom the chart so that your entire route is shown by opening the Chart menu and selecting Show Entire Route.
Creating a Route on the Map
Sometimes it is preferable to plan your route visually right on the map, as opposed to opening the Route View and using the keyboard.
The map has a context menu which you can access by touching it and holding your finger there. After a second, a menu appears offering actions you can perform on the waypoint(s) under your finger. You will notice many actions you can perform using this context menu but for the moment we will just discuss route planning actions.
Find the airfield at which you want to start your route. Bring up its context menu by touching and holding your finger over it. Be careful not to slide your finger along while you're touching it, or SkyDemon will assume that you want to move the map. Once the menu appears, you will see a list of all the waypoints found around your finger. Select the one you meant, then select Start Route Here to begin your route. The image on the right shows the context menu opened when a finger is held on Leeds Bradford Airfield. There are a few objects of interest at that location, including radio aids, so we first select the airfield itself from the list to reveal its actions and then choose the routing action we're interested in. The map will look no different after specifying your start airfield.
Now you need to add the next waypoint to your route. Find it by moving the map, open its context menu and select Append to Route. Continue to do this with subsequent waypoints until your route is complete. The route is displayed on the map with a purple line.
When your route is complete you can of course edit it, using the map directly or by using Route View as detailed in the previous topic. To remove a waypoint from your route using the map, open the context menu at the waypoint and choose Remove Waypoint. To insert a waypoint between a pair of existing waypoints (A to B) in your route, open the context menu at the waypoint you wish to insert and select Insert Before B. Alternatively you can simply drag with your finger to create a new waypoint. You can move the purple line (like an elastic band) to an empty space on the map which will produce a white dot, or to a named point such as a town or VRP which will snap to that location and create a green dot.
TIP: You can specify an alternate destination for your route by opening the context menu for the airfield and selecting Set as Alternate.
Briefing with SkyDemon Charts
The charts you use in SkyDemon contain a lot more information than is typically shown onscreen. Further information about most items depicted can be obtained through the map context menu. Along with the waypoint menu which we have already discussed, there are options to view info about the items under your finger. Here is a list of some of the items that can be inspected to reveal further information:
When the information for an item is showing (as shown on the right), just touch it to make it disappear.
Managing Saved Routes
To save a route you have created, open the Route View and choose Save. You will be prompted to enter a filename with the onscreen keyboard. There is no limit on the number of routes you can save, though we expect people to normally create routes on a PC/Mac and export them to the device using the Sync feature rather than to plan directly on the device.
To open an existing route, access the Route View window and choose Open. A list of all available routes is displayed to choose from, and the route that was most recently created is selected by default. Both the open route and save route windows also allow you to delete route files, by selecting the file and pressing Delete.
TIP: You can quickly reverse your route by simply going to the Route View and pressing Reverse.
To clear your planned route and start again, open the Route View and choose Clear.
Obtaining a NOTAM Briefing
Your SkyDemon device does not have internet connectivity of its own, but after syncing with your PC/Mac it is loaded with every NOTAM applicable to the flight information region(s) in which you have planned your route. This means that if you later decide to take a different route, you can still obtain a NOTAM narrow-route briefing right on your device, with the latest NOTAM data available at the time you synced.
To obtain a NOTAM narrow-route briefing for your planned route, open the Briefing menu and select NOTAM. You will see a categoried, finger-scrollable list of all NOTAM applicable to your route.
TIP: To filter the time period for which NOTAM are shown, switch to the Filters tab. This will also affect which NOTAM are depicted on the main map.
NOTAM are graphically depicted on the main map whether or not they lie close to your planned route. They are distinctive with a magenta hatched fill and colour-coded outlines. Like other pieces of airspace, warnings are shown when your trajectory would take you into an area covered by a NOTAM and further inspection of them is possible with the map context menu. Note that it is not practically possible to graphically depict all NOTAM; only rely on the narrow-route briefing for a definitive list of which notices apply to your flight.
TAF and METAR Briefing
Like the NOTAM briefing facilities, TAF and METAR are transferred to your device when you sync with your PC/Mac. They are therefore not live, but are available for reference during flight.
Under the Briefing menu, select TAF and METAR. You will see a list of all TAF and METAR available on the device. The list of bulletins available will depend upon the data that was synced from your computer. Like with the NOTAM briefing, the list can easily be scrolled with a finger. The main briefing graphically decodes TAF and METAR into plain English, using symbols and indicators to represent directions and conditions. If you would prefer to read the raw bulletins, simply switch to the "Raw" tab.
Weather data is not plotted on the SkyDemon moving map; it is displayed as a briefing in the TAF and METAR briefing window and wind information is also shown on airfield plates where possible.