Let's Go Paperless!
December 24, 2018
Kay Vereeken

Going Paperless!

Can you do a complete paperless Flight Preparation? In this video I’ll show you how to use your Garmin Pilot & Gyronimo App!

Main issues with preflight preparations...

When it comes to flight preparation, I usually see 3 main problems:

a. Poor mental preparation

Let’s face it, a good flight will start with a good preparation, cause once you’re in the air, everything goes pretty fast and it’ very hard to catch up. In other words, mental preparation is KEY.

b. Not knowing where to find the right information.

Knowing your sources and using the right sources is ESSENTIAL.

c. Missing a standard workflow

This is especially true when using Apps.

So let’s get started to be better... 

  • Mentally prepared, 
  • Understanding your resources and; 
  • Developing a standardized workflow on your iPad.

Get the Garmin Pilot & Gyronimo App!

At EuroPilot Center, we’re using the Garmin Pilot App. The main reason is that it offers a flawless integration with our G1000 fleet. You can download the Garmin Pilot App for iOS, free of charge for one month, by clicking HERE. Yearly subscriptions range between 75 and 150 USD a year depending on selecting "standard" or "premium".

For all Performance Calculations, we use Gyronymo. The best app to calculate airplane performance, using actual values from the official POH. You can download the Gyronimo for 19 USD, by clicking HERE

We LOVE E-Checklists en E-Files ;)

Now that we have our Apps, let's first download  our Garmin Pilot Electronic C172SP/G1000 E-Checklist File.

  • Download the latest C172SP/G1000 EuroPilot Center E-Checklist, Revision 3 on your iPad by clicking HERE
  • A Dropbox link will open up. Next click "Continue to the website"
  • In the upper right corner where you see the *.gplt file, click the ". . ." Symbol and click " Direct Download.
  • Click "More" and Click on the Garmin Pilot App Symbol.

The E-Checklist file will be installed automatically.

Now it's time to download the Garmin Aircraft Data File for each airplane you fly.

Note: this is aircraft specific! You must download it for each tailnumber you fly because these files contain performance and weight & balance data.

For the following airplanes:

  • Cessna C172SP G1000, D-EPCE, download HERE
  • Cessna C172SP G1000, G-OARS, download HERE
  • Cessna C172SP G1000 NXi, N446CS, download HERE
  • Cessna C172SP G1000, N153PC, download HERE

After clicking on the link above:

  • A Dropbox link will open up. Next click "Continue to the website"
  • In the upper right corner where you see the *.gplt file, click the ". . ." Symbol and click " Direct Download.
  • Click "More" and Click on the Garmin Pilot App Symbol.

The Garmin Aircraft Data file will be installed automatically.

Let's Get Started

Open the Garmin Pilot App on your iPad. Click HOME in the top left corner of the screen and tap on the Checklist Symbol.

Just tap the Checklist Binder to open it up. Highlight the Preflight Preparation Checklist.

This checklist is identical to the EuroPilot Center Preflight Checklist below:

1. Fit to Fly...

In my last video, I covered how to determine if you’re fit to fly with the IM’SAFE Acronym. If you haven’t seen it yet, make sure to watch my previous video on this topic. Today, let’s consider ourself Fit to fly and simply tick the box to complete this first item.

2. Routing...

And this is where the fun begins… Let’s construct our route of flight!

  • Hit Home and hit the Flight Plan button. 
  • On the left side of the screen, click “ADD Waypoint” and type in the 4 letter ICAO code of the departure airport: e.g. KTRM
  • Next, simply tap on the Palm Springs Airport, in the list which now appears, confirm the Palm Springs Airport. A blue line has been drawn between your departure and destination airport.

Let’s say we first want to navigate to the PSP VOR, pinch to zoom in on the PSP VOR, hold your finger on the blue track and move your finger to the PSP VOR. In the list which now appears, confirm the PSP VOR as a waypoint.

  • At the bottom left corner of the screen, you can change your Aircraft, let’s change it to N153PC, select the desired performance configuration, for example 2300 RPM’s. 
  • Select your cruising altitude, since we’re flying Westbound, only even altitudes + 500 feet for VFR are shown, let’s select 4500 feet, you can see the highest point along the route, leave the Initial Fuel and Cruise Burn rates for what they are and change your departure time to 1700. 
  • Next hit “Create Trip”. This will create an upcoming trip in your Trip Planning page.

Now before we continue: click home and select the Map again. 

  • Click the white arrow on the right side of the screen, click the symbol above the arrow and select Flight Profile from the list. This will show you a vertical profile including terrain and airspace. 
  • Clicking within the airspace boundary will highlight the area and more information is shown about the type of airspace, floors and tops. The green line shows you the planned cruising altitude. This can be adjusted simply by touching and holding the green line and sliding it up and down. Note that the color of the terrain tops will change. Yellow indicates that you will cross a terrain feature such as a mountain peak within 100 to a thousand feet below the airplane’s altitude. 

You want to stay at least 2000 feet from any terrain feature when operating in a mountainous area. 

Note that you can zoom in on the vertical profile by pinching as well. The area viewed will be shown in grey on the standard map. The highest point will be shown on top off the profile view and the minimum terrain clearance will be shown next to it.

  • Now that we’re happy with our route and altitude, let’s finish the routing details by clicking home and selecting the Trip Planning button. This will show us the Trip Planning page.
  • Select the Pilot In Command, click Filing Information, Select Leidos Flight Service when operating in the USA and hit back, Select Flight Rules VFR, verify the correct Aircraft has been selected, leave the callsign blank.
  • Check departure Aerodrome, Adjust the Departure date and time if required and check the Destination aerodrome. Check routing: in this case one waypoint, via the PSP VOR, check cruising altitude 4500 feet, and finally adjust the RPM if required.

Now let’s go back to our preflight checklist and finish item 2, the Routing.

3. Fuel Calculations

Now it's time to perform our Fuel Calculations!

  • Click Home, go the the Trip Planning page, scroll down to Fuel Planner and click the blue text. The Fuel Planner will open up.
  • Scroll down to the section called: In Flight.
  • The trip fuel required for: start-up at Thermal, taxi, climb, cruise descent landing and shut down at Palm Springs, is mentioned as 4.4 USG (15 minutes).

Obviously it would not be safe nor legal to fly with only 4.4 USG on board. 

Therefor the law requires you to add at least 30 minutes of final reserve fuel and 45 minutes for every VFR flight at night. 

When operating the Skyhawk SP, we highly recommend to maintain a final reserve of at least 10 USG, as operating with less than 5 USG in one tank will trigger a Low Fuel Warning.
  • To calculate this, under the Pre-Flight section, hit Planned Take Off Fuel. 
  • Under Quick Set Fuel, select 30 Min Reserve.
  • The Planned Take Off Fuel will now show you what the absolute legal minimum required fuel will be: in this case 8 US Gallons. 
  • Let’s check in our Online Planning system (FlightCircle) how much fuel the previous pilot left on board.
  • We find that we have 33 USG available.
  • So let’s change our Planned Take Off Fuel back to what we expect to have on board, in this case 33 USG.
  • We know we will have 28.6 USG upon landing, giving us 3h57 minutes extra fuel on board.
Note that, when not departing with a full tank, always visually check the fuel quantity by using a Fuel Dripstick. Never accept a verbal or even written statement from another pilot and never rely on the Fuel Gauges alone!

Now let’s go back to our preflight checklist and finish item 3, the fuel calculation.

4. Navigation Logs and Charts

Time to copy all this information to our EuroPilot Center Navigation Log, also known as an Operational Flight Plan:

  • On the bottom of the Trip Planning Page, click NavLog. You can change the fields of the electronic navlog as required.
  • Now copy the calculated Magnetic Course, Altitude, Wind direction and speed, Magnetic Heading, Ground speed, Leg Distance, Distance remaining, etc. onto your Operational Flight Plan.
  • This is a good time to ensure you have studied your Charts
If the goal of your flight is to conduct a full VFR dead-reckoning exercise, purely based on time and heading, make sure to plot your route including 10 degree drift lines and 2 minute time ticks onto your sectional chart. 
  • Also study your airport plates by hitting the home button. 
  • Hit map, hold your finger somewhere on the map until the round radial menu shows up. 
  • Move your finger on top of your departure airport.
  • Hit the airport symbol and hit the Information Symbol in the top right corner. 

Now you can study the Taxi Chart, Chart Supplement, get information on frequencies, Runways, Procedures, FBO’s etc.

One small sidenote: Garmin Pilot will automatically collect all required VFR and IFR charts based on your Trip Planning. 
  • Simply hit the Home button, followed by hitting the Charts Button.
  • All official charts for your Departure and Destination Airport will be collected here.

When everything on the Navigation Log has been completed, you have prepared your sectional chart and you have studied all relevant airport data, go back to the Preflight Preparation Checklist and tick the box to complete item number 4, The Navigation Log and Charts.

5. Weather and NOTAMs

What do you have to check as a pilot? Well, legally you’ll have to be aware about anything which may affect your flight. 

The combination of actual weather reports and forecasts, called METAR’s and TAF’s should indicate that: one hour prior to your flight, during your whole flight, and 1 hour after your flight, both Visibility and Cloud Ceiling must be at or above the Visual Meteorological Conditions (VMC) and the wind is within the applicable limitations if any. 

Depending on the type of airspace you’re operating in, there will be different VMC Requirements. 

Another thing we have to check is if there are any flight restrictions in the Notices To Airman, also called NOTAMS. You can consider NOTAMS as the Pilot’s newspaper. This all sounds pretty complicated, but in fact it isn’t… 

  • Let’s hit Home again, select Trip Planning.
  • On the bottom of the Trip Planning Page, click Brief.
  • Garmin Pilot will search all relevant Weather and NOTAMS for your trip and display them in an easy to read format.
  • Simply hit the Terminal Weather Tab, and it will show you the METAR’s and TAF’s for your departure an Destination.
  • You can check, Severe Weather, SIGMET’s, AIRMET’s, Center Weather Advisories, METAR’s, Pilot Reports, Terminal Forecasts or TAF’s, Winds Aloft, NOTAMS, Temporary Flight Restrictions or TFR’s etc.

Once you have briefed yourself and you are entirely satisfied your flight can be performed safely under the conditions required, 

tick the box on the preflight preparation checklist, to complete item number 5, Weather and NOTAMS.

6. Mass and Balance

In order to determine if the the airplane will be loaded within the mass and center of gravity restrictions, we need to perform a mass & balance calculation. So how do we calculate this: 

  • Click Home, Trip Planning and click M & B on the lower right corner.
  • Click “Edit Loadsheet”  on the top right corner.
  • Ensure the correct airplane has been selected. 
This will be important since every airplane has a different empty mass and moment.
  • Let’s add ourself to the Front Seat assuming that I have a weight of 80 Kgs.
  • Let’s add a front passenger of 100 Kgs to the backseat and;
  • add a flight case of 10 Kgs in Bagage Area 1.
  • Fuel Tanks were already set at 33 USG previously so let’s not touch those.

When ready, let’s check the summary on the right side: A statement: N153PC loaded within envelope is visible.

  • Take Off Mass: 1057.1 Kgs is checked.
  • Landing Mass: 1051.2 Kgs is checked.

Let’s check if the airplane has been loaded within the Center or Gravity Limits by visually checking: 

  • The CG Envelope, 
  • Moment Envelope; and 
  • Station Chart.

Click E-Mail Loadsheet and send a copy to EuroPilot Center Operations and yourself in order to show evidence of having performed Mass and Balance calculations.

  • Hit done in the upper right corner.
  • Hit Home, Checklist and finish Item 6, Mass and Balance.

7. Performance

For this, we use the Gyronymo App and your Take Off and Landing Data Card:

  • Open the App and hit the Take Off tab.
  • Set the aircraft take off mass: 1057 Kgs
  • Set the Take Off Elevation, the Outside Air temperature, Altimeter setting, Runway conditions and headwind components if any.

In the summary on the right, you’ll find the calculated Take Off Roll  and a calculated Take Off Distance.

Since we’re no test pilots, it’s recommended to add a safety margin:
When no stopway or clearway is available:
  • The calculated Take Off distance when multiplied by 1.25 must not exceed the Take Off Run Available (TORA) or;
When a stopway and/or clearway is available:
  • The calculated Take Off distance must not exceed Take Off Run Available (TORA) when multiplied by 1,3 or;
  • Not exceed Accelerate Stop Distance Available (ASDA)  when multiplied by 1.15; or
  • Not exceed Take Off Distance Available (TODA)  

Write this figure on your your Take Off Data Card under Take off Distance Required.

Now let’s calculate the Landing Distance:

  • Tap on the Landing tab.
  • Set the landing Elevation, the Outside Air Temperature, Altimeter setting, Runway Conditions and Headwind component if any.

In the summary on the right you’ll find the Landing Roll  and Take Off Roll.

Since we’re no test pilots, it’s recommended to add a safety margin:
  • ‍The landing distance, from a screen height of 50 ft, must not exceed 70 % of the Landing Distance Available (LDA), i.e. a factor of 1,43.
  • If the landing surface is grass up to 20 cm long on firm soil, the landing distance should be multiplied by a factor of 1,15.
  • If the METAR or TAF or combination of both indicate that the runway may be wet at the estimated time of arrival, the landing distance should be multiplied by a factor of 1,15.
  • The landing distance should be increased by 5% for each 1% downslope
  • No allowance is permitted for upslope.

Write this figure on your Landing Data Card under Landing Distance Required.

  • Hit Home, Checklist and finish Item 7, Performance

8. ATC Flight Plan

If your local regulations require you to file an ATC Flight Plan, this would be a good time.

  • Simply hit Home, 
  • Trip Planning and hit “File”. 
  • This will automatically file your Flightplan. 

You even have the choice to cancel or amend your filed flight plan.

Remember, don’t forget to CLOSE your flight plan after you have arrived at your destination.

Tick the box to complete Item 8, ATC Flight Plan.

9. Pilot Documents

As a Pilot, you should have the following documents on board:

  • Your Pilot License/Certificate or Student Pilot Certificate if applicable
  • Your Medical
  • Your Logbook (if it’s required by law to have logbook endorsements with you for solo flights)
  • Solo Authorization form (under EASA)

Also don’t forget your spare glasses, they may be required due to a restriction on your Medical Certificate.

Tick the box to complete Item 9, Pilot Documents.

10. Aircraft Documents

You probably have heard about the "AROW" Acronym. It stands for: 

  • A - Airworthiness: Make sure you have a  current Airworthiness Certificate on board;
  • R - Registration: Make sure you have a current Registration Certificate on board;
  • O - Operating Limitations: make sure you have your current Airplane Flight Manual on board; and
  • W - Weight and Balance: make sure you have your current Weight and Balance on board. (This may be in an electronic format such as the e-mail previously sent).

Tick the box to complete Item 10, Aircraft Documents.

11. Trouble Report

Always check the aircraft trouble report for open "Squawks" or problems reported by other pilots. So let’s check our online Squawk System (FlightCircle) for any discrepancies.

If there is any discrepancy, check the Kind Of Operations Equipment List (KOEL).

If you can dispatch the airplane with an inoperative Item, make sure the item is properly placarded and any unintentional use prevented by a maintenance action performed by an authorized mechanic!

Remember, you are not supposed to pull any circuit breaker.

Tick the box to complete Item 11, Trouble Report.

12. Dispatch

Simply execute the correct actions to dispatch the flight on the Online Planning System (FlightCircle).

This will include verification of current Hobbs and Tacho times and maintenance status.

Note that this action is usually performed by EPC Ops or your Flight Instructor.

Tick the box to complete Item 12, Dispatch.

13. Flight Notification

When flying out of a European Airport, it may be required to notify the Airport Authorities about certain flight details.

You should do this by informing them about:

  • Your airplane registration;
  • The nature of the flight: being VFR or IFR;
  • The name of the student;
  • The name of your instructor; and 
  • The amount of passengers on board.

Tick the box to complete Item 13, Flight Notification.

Wrapping up, time to FLY!

Hey, didn’t we finish our complete preflight preparation in a quick and easy to follow workflow? You will absolutely find yourself being much better mentally prepared on your next flight!

Oh and one small thing, did you know that Garmin Pilot contains a cool feature whereby all your EuroPilot Center Manuals, POH’s documents, checklists etc… are fully synchronized with our Servers?

  • Simply hit home;
  • Documents; 
  • Dropbox.

Now you have access to all important training materials necessary to make your training even more fun and enjoyable.

Note: get your Dropbox Username & Password via EuroPilot Center OPS.

I hope you enjoyed this tutorial and I love to hear from you.

Please leave your comments below!

Kay Vereeken
Kay started his Aviation Career at the age of 16 and did his first commercial flight at the age of 21. He worked for 3 different Airlines in Europe, flying the F50 and BAE146. Ten years and 8,000 flying hours later, he decided to dedicate his life to his ultimate passion: Professional Pilot Training. Together with his wife, he founded, EuroPilot Center (Antwerp) and SoCal Pilot Center (Southern California).