Flying over Tanzania FIR (Flight Information Region), enroute to Kamuzu International Airport, I got a question. A crew called me via the inter-phone and asked what the name of the water body on the left was. It must have been a question from a passenger trying to get his or her money’s worth. I was clueless, it looked like an artificial water feature so Jeppesen maps didn’t have it.
We often assume that pilots know everything matters geography. The truth is they don’t, but they have resources and training that can make it easier to find out. Some will often use notes, others learn from experience. A lot has changed in the industry especially matters tech.
Notebooks, atlases , maps are slowly being replaced by mobile/tablet based apps. There is a wide selection, but I recently got this one pictured above.
Pilots Atlas, by absolute zero. Like the name suggests, it’s absolutely free, but there is a catch, you have to buy the maps. Maps retail at about 3000 KSH, just under 30 USD.
So thanks to this beautiful software, the next time I’m over this route, just after Dodoma, I will have a correct answer. It’s actually a water reservoir west of Morogoro and North of Iringa. It is fed by the Ruaha river and it is called the Mtera reservoir.
What I like about it is that it still works offline, as tablets are to be used in flight mode, if at all allowed in the cockpit.
Here are some apps I use. Feel free to share what you use from time to time and what you like about them. You could save a pilot the embarrassment of guesswork about some feature enroute.
Some of my apps, for the IPad.