Published date: 6 July 2022

We all know the attraction of navigation apps, but their flaws could be disastrous.

The CAA has received more than one aviation-related concern lately regarding flaws in popular navigation apps.

One, it has been claimed, was at least a full degree out (before the manufacturer fixed the error) which could have taken a pilot through the approach path at certain New Zealand aerodromes.

The AIPNZ is New Zealand’s only official source of aeronautical information. The integrity of its data is assured through certification under Part 175. The CAA’s Aeronautical Services team provides oversight to make sure of this.

‘Third-party’ electronic products, such as AvPlan and OzRunways, may be attractive and useful, but the CAA cannot attest to their accuracy, or the currency of their databases.

“They’re not approved, endorsed or Part 175-certificated,” says David Harrison, CAA Deputy Chief Executive, Aviation Safety. “And we have limited input and oversight of them and how they work.

“But given we do receive reports of errors in the information some third-party apps are relying on, the safety risk is obvious.

“Pilots should always check the plans they’re loading off these electronic databases against certified AIP charts and plates. It’s a critical step in flight planning or in loading routes before, or during, a flight.

“We must emphasise once again,” David says, “that pilots have an obligation to their own safety, and to the safety of others, to check electronic information against New Zealand’s sole, official information source.

“Don’t assume it’s right – make sure it is!”