PilotCalc Version 2.1.0

PilotCalc version 2.1.0 is now available on the Apple App Store! This is a big update, incorporating a number of requested features, a few that have been on the roadmap for a while and a smattering of bug fixes.

Calculator Changes

The most obvious change is the addition of two new calculator types to join the default hours and minutes (HH:MM) calculator:

Image of two calculators, one showing the decimal time function and the other the arithmetic function. The first calculator uses the default light blue and silver keyboard and is shown in light mode, the latter demonstrates the dark blue and pink keyboard in dark mode.

First up is a decimal time calculator for those who prefer to work in decimals. This calculator will still do calculations involving clock times, invoked by using the colon key, but minutes are displayed in decimal format. 

Switching between the decimal time calculator and the HH:MM time calculator automatically converts the values in the input line and the history tape to the appropriate format.  Just as a point of note, all calculations involving a clock time are actually performed as hours and minutes calculations with conversion being done in the background as necessary.

The second new calculator type is a basic arithmetic calculator for normal addition, subtraction, multiplication and division. I added this because I found it annoying having to switch out of PilotCalc to another calculator to do simple fuel calculations at 3 o’clock in the morning when my mental maths wasn’t up to the task. Please note that switching to and from this calculator will cause the input line and history tape to be cleared.

The final functional change to the calculator is the automatic saving of the history tape to ensure that any previous calculation is restored when returning to the calculator from a different view or application, but not, as previously noted, when switching between calculator types, which results in either a conversion or a fresh calculation.

An image of the calculator preferences screen.

The bad news is that enabling the new calculator types requires a small (one-off) in-app purchase to unlock. The good news is that I have combined the new calculator types and both calculator colour packs into a single Calculator Preferences purchase. This means that those who have been kind enough to buy at least one of the colour packs in the past will automatically get access to all the keyboard colours and the new calculators, and anyone buying the new Calculator Preferences will get both the new calculators and all of the keyboard colour options. 

Flight Log Changes

The Flight Log has also had a number of changes, ranging from simple, largely cosmetic changes, to detailed additional functionality.

On the cosmetic side, the Flight Log now includes a blue header row indicating the current record/row number and the total number of records/rows.  In addition there is a new free text field intended to hold an aircraft registration, although there is nothing to stop this field being used for some other short text if preferred.

A new Duty Time row has been added to the bottom of each record.  This is intended for simple duty time recording and is not designed to handle splits, in-flight rest or other complications. The purpose behind this row is to provide a quick view of elapsed or planned duties over a single flight or two or more consecutive flights. 

Image of the Flight Log screen.

By default the duty start is calculated based on the scheduled departure less one hour. The duty end is initially based on the scheduled arrival plus fifteen minutes but this is updated to on-blocks plus fifteen minutes once an on-blocks time is entered. Either of these values may be manually overwritten to cause the elapsed duty time to be recalculated.  For those who have previously purchased, or decide to buy the Countdown Preferences, now renamed to Flight Log Preferences, these default values may be changed on the preferences screen.  There is a duty time toggle that allows the duty time to be applied to a single flight or several flights and the start and end times will be recalculated accordingly. Note that a manually overwritten duty start or end will be maintained. To return to the defaults simply clear the value from the manually edited duty field (this will be highlighted with a bold outline).

Another new preference, available in the Flight Log Preferences, provides the option to have the Flight Log display elapsed times in decimal format rather than hours and minutes. Switching between these options automatically recalculates all the elapsed times and displays them in the selected format.  In addition to the new decimal option this version of PilotCalc also provides a log calculation toggle so that the Log End value can be calculated from Log Start plus total airborne time (default) or Log Start plus elapsed block time. This calculation also respects the decimal vs hours and minutes selection.

The final new function within this section of the app is the addition of a simple PDF report of all the records in the Flight Log.  This report is selected from within the Flight Log menu and regenerated each time it is selected. The completed report is displayed onscreen and can then be emailed, saved, printed or otherwise manipulated using Apple’s sharing menu.

The new PDF report, the additional aircraft registration field and the cosmetic changes are available to all users, as is the new duty time calculation.  The remaining changes, which include the option for using the flight log in decimal format, the ability to change the duty time defaults and the use of block times for the log calculation are accessed through the Flight Log Preferences view which requires a one-off in-app purchase. The Flight Log Preferences is the new name for what was originally known as the Countdown Preferences, so anyone who previously paid for this option gets access to all the new features as well as the original countdown options, as does anyone buying the new Flight Log Preferences.