Garmin Updates Pilot App


A seamless transition from tablet to cockpit is the theme of Garmin’s updates to the Pilot app announced today. In particular, the new features in Version 10 allow pilots to load instrument procedures—approaches, arrival and departure procedures—directly into the Pilot app and then connect with a range of connected panel-mount navigators. The app’s new features “incorporate professional IFR navigation tools found within Garmin avionics.”

“Leveraging technologies found within Garmin avionics and flight decks, we’re excited to bring this game-changing update to Garmin Pilot customers,” said Carl Wolf, vice president of aviation sales and marketing. “This upgrade gives pilots the ability to load complex routes and procedures into the app just as they would within a Garmin integrated flight deck, offering added convenience, time savings and confidence when transitioning between multiple Garmin products in the cockpit.” 

Instrument approaches in the Pilot app database can now be preloaded inside the app; before, you could create a basic flight plan on the app and transfer it to your IFR-legal panel-mounted box, but you’d have to manually fill in the arrival/departure procedures as well as the approach itself once inside the aircraft. The revised app lets you create the salient waypoints as a flight plan before you get to the airplane.

Garmin has also updated the Pilot app to include a “visual procedure selector, custom holding patterns and more, give pilots convenient access to advanced tools all within a mobile app.” The procedure selector, available for airports with charted arrival and departure procedures, should take some head-scratching out of the planning. In particular, the ability to review the available procedures in graphical form should make it a snap to determine which one makes the most sense for the route of flight. (Of course, no guarantee that even if you file it, you’re going to fly it.)

Other new features include the ability to create customized holding procedures and revised vertical planning features that allow for automatic population of procedure altitude limits as well as the ability to manually input crossing restrictions. 

As before, the Garmin Pilot App includes a full set of navigation features, including moving maps, full VFR and IFR mapping, traffic and weather (from both ADS-B In and the internet). A one-year subscription to the U.S. Standard version is $79.99, and the Premium upgrade (which offers a terrain awareness display, SafeTaxi, FliteCharts, synthetic vision and more) is another $79.99 a year. Pilot is available for Apple and Android operating systems, though not all features are available on all platforms. 

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KITPLANES Editor in Chief Marc Cook has been in aviation journalism for more than 30 years. He is a 4000-hour instrument-rated, multi-engine pilot with experience in nearly 150 types. He’s completed two kit aircraft, an Aero Designs Pulsar XP and a Glasair Sportsman 2+2, and currently flies a 2002 GlaStar.

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  1. I am Reading this story on February 18, 2020. This version of Garmin Pilot is not presently available in the Google Play Store. I hope this isn’t Garmin’s attempt to transition to the iPad only. If I have to buy an iPad to get these features, I might as well switch over to Fore Flight. I chose Garmin Pilot because it is the best tool that works on Android.

    • Garmin has (almost) always rolled out new features to the iPad version first. These features will eventually make it to the Android version (it typically seems to be a couple months later). I do wish they would align the iPad and Android versions a little closer though, so I know that version X.Y has Z features.

  2. I was really excited until I quickly realized that this was for the iPad version of Pilot. I agree with the above – if I have to go the iPad route I will move to Fore Flight. Just makes sense for that platform.

    If they could ever get the Android version to download and install updates better I would be satisfied with that.

    • Why switch, though? ForeFlight would have a pretty steep learning curve to have to re-learn how to do everything you already do with Garmin Pilot. I use Pilot on both my larger Android tablet (Galaxy Tab S6) and a smaller iPad Mini (there are no high-quality Android tablets in that form-factor, which I prefer when flying helicopters), plus my Android phone, all under the same subscription.

      I agree that it’d be nice if Garmin rolled out updates to the Android version quicker, but it does at least make sense that they’d try to capture the largest share of users (iPad) first.