Redbird Pro is an app that you can run on either an Apple device like an iPhone or iPad, or an Android device such as most non-Apple smartphones and tablet computers.
To get the app, simply go to the App Store (Apple) or Google Play (Android) and search for Redbird Pro. Once you find it, load it on your device the same way you would any app.
Redbird Pro is a paid app that requires a subscription, but there’s a free trial period so you can try it on for size. You may choose to get the VFR-only version of Redbird Pro, called Visual Pilot, or the VFR and IFR version called Pro Pilot. After the free trial period, you’ll be charged a monthly fee.
So, which device is better for Redbird Pro: a smartphone or a tablet like an iPad? That depends on your needs. Of course, a tablet computer typically has a bigger screen making it a little easier to see, but the app is perfectly usable using your smartphone as well. Really, it’s a matter of your personal preference. And yes, you can have Redbird Pro loaded on two of your devices (phone and tablet, for example) without having to pay twice. Just be sure both devices are logged in to either the Apple App Store or Google Play (Android) under the same account.
When you open the app for the first time, you’ll be asked which version you want to sign up for. Choose either Visual Pilot (VFR) or Pro Pilot (VFR & IFR). This will start your 30-day trial period. If you keep using the app after the trial period, you’ll be charged monthly through the App Store (Apple) or Google Play (Android).
You’ll then be asked to create a Redbird account. Simply follow the prompts. Once that’s done, Redbird Pro will ask you a few questions to establish your pilot profile. You’ll provide information such as your name, home airport, your certificates and ratings, logged flight hours, and your opinion on your current level of proficiency. Don’t worry, your self-rating is simply used as a guide to help the app determine your goals. Later on, the app will objectively determine how well you perform in a number of areas so you have a realistic measure of your current level of proficiency.
Now that you have filled out the necessary information, the app will take you to the main page which is called the Dashboard.
But before you dive in and start zipping through a bunch of tasks, you should take the 50-question written evaluation, and go to a Redbird simulator to fly the benchmark flight (the “Tools and Features” article tells you how). Okay….it’s fine to jump into the app and start reading articles and taking quizzes (who wouldn’t want to start using this awesome app right away?) but when you go to a Redbird simulator after getting Redbird Pro, the first simulator flight you should take is the benchmark flight.
Also, if you are using the Pro Pilot version of the app, you’ll want to take both the VFR and IFR written evaluations and benchmark flights. Each benchmark flight lasts about an hour.
Why is it so important to take the written and in-sim benchmark evaluations? Well, you want your proficiency score to be an accurate reflection of your actual proficiency, right? This is how we do it. In fact, you should re-fly the benchmark flights every 6 to 12 months just to fine tune your proficiency scores.