A new application developed by Austin Meyer, the developer of the X-Plane flight simulator, will literally turn your iPad into an autopilot.
EFIS-App can only link to the X-Plane simulator at the moment, but in future Meyer plans to use it to land his Lancair Evolution kit plane by connecting it to the flight control system. If all goes to plan, the application will be made available to other Evolution owners, and potentially other aircraft—if it can make it past the FAA.
Here is what the process would be like in a dire situation (pilot is incapacitated), as outlined by Popular Mechanics:
1. The passenger pulls back the throttle and touches a red button on the airplane’sinstrument panel. The app then takes over, acting in concert with the flight control system to autopilot the airplane.
2. Using the airplane’s onboard satellite navigation data, the software finds airports within gliding range, assessing distance, obstacles, runway lengths and other variables. It issues commands to the plane’s ailerons, rudder and elevator to steer toward the best option.
3. The plane descends through a sequence of waypoints, then sets up for a standard instrument approach. the passenger manually deploys the landing gear before touchdown. emergency services, contacted by radio, are waiting.
Sadly, there is a very specific clause in the App Review Guidelines that strictly prohibit this from ever landing in the App Store.
4.2 Apps that use location-based APIs for automatic or autonomous control of vehicles, aircraft, or other devices will be rejected