myWingMan For iPad: Bendix/King Simplicity

Bendix/King is convinced that pilots need avionics that are easier to use. This new tablet app is its idea of simple navigation.

Bendix/King sees its potential market slice as building avionics that are easier to use than a Garmin. While it has yet to deliver any clean-sheet designs of its own since announcing its comeback over a year ago, the newly introduced myWingMan tablet app could be the launch pad for a fresh product line.

Despite a market that’s flooded with aviation navigation apps, the company thinks myWingMan sets a new standard for what pilots can expect from future mobile flight planning and navigation tools. We think it’s a start.

The myWingMan app attempts to present the user with oodles of information without having to hop around numerous screens. This drag- and-drop flat application design avoids the trap of getting lost in menu structure, which we found to be mostly true. On the other hand, we initially found ourselves head down and staring at the screen, wondering how to accomplish rudimentory tasks, such as building a flight plan or fetching a frequency.

But once your fingers do some walking on the map, flight planning is straightforward. Simply touch the map and you’re greeted with a list of surrounding airports, navaids and fixes. Select any of them from the list and you’ll have the option of adding them to the flight plan. Modifying a flight plan from the map is the expected drill of holding and dragging.

A major part of navigating the app is using the on-screen function wheel tab that lives in the lower right corner of the screen. This is for selecting the data to be displayed in the active window. Since the program has up to three-way split screens, the larger window is the active window, while smaller ones are reference windows.

The app interacts with DUAT for filing flight plans, using preset aircraft and user profiles. Once in the cockpit, the user can select customizable screen modes for all phases of flight—from pre-flight to approach, accessed with the flight mode tab at the top of the screen.

When connected to the Levil AHRS unit, myWingMan provides a virtual chase plane and traditional forward view synthetic vision display. There’s also a nifty G-meter as standard which, in our view, is nothing more than amusing.

We used the Internet weather interface but not the optional WxWorx XM in-flight weather. For pre-flight planning, the radar, satellite, Metar, TAF and winds aloft data capabilites are sufficient, but we wish the radar images can be put into motion. A myWingMan subscription includes Seattle Avionics charts, VFR sectionals, enroute charts plus 3-D terrain data.

Available from iTunes now, the VFR version of the app is $99 and the IFR version is $149, not including a weather or AHRS unit. Bendix/King is planning to connect myWingMan with the in-development KSN770 navigator, through the Aspen Connected Panel interface. There’s also a planned version of the app for the Android platform.

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Editor in Chief Larry Anglisano has been a staple at Aviation Consumer since 1995. An active land, sea and glider pilot, Larry has over 30 years’ experience as an avionics repairman and flight test pilot. He’s the editorial director overseeing sister publications Aviation Safety magazine, IFR magazine and is a regular contributor to KITPLANES magazine with his Avionics Bootcamp column.