Aiming Higher - Building the World's Most Comprehensive Flight Computer App, E6BJA

By Dr. Jamie Alnasir, Ph.D

As Software Engineer, and during my pilot training, I embarked on a journey to create a educational tool that would make an impact on General Aviation. Not only did I want to improve my aeronautical knowledge — a self-imposed CPD of sorts (Continuing Professional Development, a key part of flying safely) — I also recognised a significant gap in the availability of high-quality flight computer apps.

Android (Lite) Android (Pro.) Apple (Pro.) MS (Pro.)
Compare E6BJA edition features

The result of this endeavour is E6BJA, the world's most comprehensive flight computer app for both Apple and Android devices, which is also available via a browser. Drawing inspiration from the ingenious "whiz-wheel" (slide-rule) and the convenience of the handheld electronic flight computers (e.g. CX-3, Sporty's E6B), E6BJA is a software-based tool (app) that is rich in features, which efficiently harnesses the power of today's mobile devices. It can be easily installed on phones and tablets, offering a multitude of advantages over the traditional whiz-wheel, namely:

  • Simpler and quicker operation
  • Less margin of error
  • Better reproducibility
  • Less error-prone (no ambiguous results, i.e. 0.75 vs 7.5 vs 750 etc. notwithstanding that a gross error check should always be applied to such calculations)

Visualisation: A Picture Worth a Thousand Words

One of the key features in the E6BJA is the simplification of complex calculations through effective visualisation. The E6BJA Wind and Diversion Visualiser, Wind Components, and Holding Pattern Computer all provide interactive visual representations that make it easier for pilots to comprehend and plan their flights effectively. With clear and intuitive diagrams, pilots can visualise wind corrections, ground speeds, crosswinds, and more, enabling them to make informed decisions for their flight.

Screenshots of E6BJA running on Apple iPhone
 Open fullsize
Above: Screenshots of E6BJA running on Apple iPhone

Models: Precision and Accuracy at the Core

In developing E6BJA, precision and accuracy were paramount. By incorporating models such as the 1976 ISA (International Standard Atmosphere), in calculators such as the Atmosphere, Dew Point, and Relative Humidity Calculators, the app ensures calculations and approximations are not only more accurate but also more precise. These models take into account various atmospheric conditions and variables to provide pilots with the most reliable calculations.

Monographs: Understanding Key Variables and Concepts

To empower users with in-depth knowledge, each calculation in E6BJA is accompanied by an informative monograph. These monographs serve as explanations for each calculation, breaking down key variables and concepts. A typical example is the Bank Angle Load Factor calculator, which describes how Load Factor is calculated from the cosine of the bank angle and then describes how a revised Stall Speed is derived. These monographs serve as valuable resources for pilots and aviation professionals seeking a deeper understanding or a refresher on the calculations they frequently perform.

Aviation Authority/Evidence-based

The Take-off and Landing Distance calculator, for example, is based on guidelines provided by the UK CAA (Civil Aviation Authority). It also provides more fine granularity on the calculation using the recommended safety factors. This ensures that pilots and planners can use E6BJA as a cross-reference for critical and safe flight planning.

Native Development for Apple iOS, Android and Windows versions

In the challenging journey of E6BJA's development, a critical requirement was to ensure an identical user interface experience for the end-users on both Apple and Android devices, the two most abundantly used platforms in the mobile world. Later on, in 2023, support was added for Microsoft Surface Pro and the E6BJA app was also built for a variety of architectures including x64, 86, ARM64 and ARM! This enables the flight computer to run on a number of handheld and mobile devices.

Whilst exploring cross-platform mobile development approaches and tools, it became evident that they fell short of meeting the level of performance and seamless experience desired for the E6BJA Flight Computer app. Undeterred, I embarked on native development for both Apple and Android platforms, which has delivered the desired results. In retrospect, this decision not only has ensured unparalleled performance and efficiency but also provided users with a consistent and intuitive interface across both platforms, making E6BJA a truly versatile and user-friendly flight companion for pilots and professionals worldwide.

The E6BJA app is not only serving the community of General Aviation pilots — I myself use E6BJA to plan the majority of my PPL VFR flights, cross-referencing with other methods — it is also an educational tool used by professional trainers in training flight dispatchers.

With simpler and quicker operations, E6BJA leaves no room for ambiguous results. Its reduced margin for error and improved reproducibility empower users to approach flight calculations with confidence and clarity, making it an indispensable tool for pilots and aviation professionals seeking precision, accuracy and convenience.

DISCLAIMER: The E6BJA App and associated Website(s) are educational websites and software tools for performing aviation calculations and providing related material for educational and general information purposes only and must not be used as the sole source of information. Full Terms and Conditions and Disclaimer.

Copyright © 1999-2023 Dr. Jamie J. Alnasir, all rights reserved. Legal Disclaimer