19 March 2019

Cowboys in Helicopters: Inside the Aerial Mustering Industry


It took a village before to muster livestock, but not anymore. Thanks to these modern day cowboys, it only takes a helicopter and some next level chasing skills.

With vast cattle stations across the Australian Outback, where each station can be thousands of square kilometers, there's no doubt that the mustering of livestock is one of the most difficult jobs there is. Imagine your herd spread across the length and breadth of Wales and the challenges of normal cattle farming methods comes into stark relief.

Mustering targets the rounding up of herds of beef cattle, sheep, horses, camels, buffalo. These animals that roam the station will be gathered once a year for routine livestock health checks, branding, live export and shearing. It is conducted through various methods by the use of horses, vehicles such as utes (Aussie slang for utility vehicles), motorcycles, ATVs (all-terrain-vehicles) and helicopters. The mustering season occurs during the dry season in Australia, between the months of March and November.


Aerial mustering started in the early 1990's and has been consistently growing since then. Mustering from the sky helps reduce the cost in time and money spent in  herding the stock. The Robinson R22 is often the chopper of choice  for these skilled aviators. The mustering pilot will take to the skies in a R22 to locate the roaming cattle and then notify the ground team of its location via CB Radio.

Although it's one of the fastest method to round up livestock, aerial mustering is no different from the ground based mustering process. Just like the other methods, it involves long, hard hours, patience and skills - added with an increased risk of danger. Keeping your cool while flying as low as 5ft AGL at a maintaining speed while keeping na eye on the herd is not an easy job.

An aerial musterer is not just a skilled aviator. A lot of factors are considered in to qualify for the job; it takes both passion in aviation and agriculture, especially in handling livestock, working well in a team and excellent communication skills and quick thinking.

Photo courtesy by Nina Hardie 


According to industry experts, it's much easier to teach a cattleman/cattle-woman to fly than it is to teach a pilot who has no experience with cattle, which makes it the primary reason why it requires an extensive amount of training.

Sure, flying is a challenge but mustering stock is something that you learn in years and there's no room for errors.

Nina Hardie, a Helicopter Muster Pilot from Western Australia says, "You're not only flying the machine (often at low level), but you're also constantly thinking about where are the other pilots that you're flying with, how the muster is going in terms of daylight left and distance, where the fuel is, communicating with the ground crew on where horses/motorbikes are, how the cattle are travelling and basically trying to be 10 steps ahead of everything."

Before getting the job of a muster pilot, an extra 15 hours of low flying is needed in addition to the 110 hours for a standard license. Under Australian Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) guidelines, they need to have a mustering endorsement by getting a minimum of 10 hours training with an approved mustering instructor. After that, they still have a long way to go. They need to work for another 1-2 years with a contract mustering team and will undergo a series of practices with the supervision of a senior pilot prior to commencing a single chopper mustering activity.

Safety is the utmost priority in this line of work, not just for the pilot but as well as the cattle. There's more to aerial mustering than just chasing these cattle in helicopters. A good knowledge of animal welfare and stock handling is significant to the operations, which is why there are now stock handling schools in Australia to educate farm owners, stockmen and especially pilots in working with the animals.

As the aerial mustering industry continues to grow, the demand for mustering pilots has also increased, especially with the contribution it has brought to the beef production sustainability. As of the moment there are more than 500 but not less than 1000 mustering pilots in Australia. Although it may sound a cool profession, it's not as cool as people think it is, considering all the work that needs to be done. And it's definitely not cool in the dry, hot, dusty Australian outback.

"Days off aren't rostered and is dependent upon how many stations are mustering that day and the number of machines required. This can make it difficult to plan or commit to anything outside work." - Nina

Mustering season takes month and even almost a year especially in the larger stations. Months of hard work being away from families, long days spent in camps and nights spend in swags on the ground. There's no such things as weekends or holidays. Every day is a busy day for the men and women, their horses and machines.


If you want to know more about the helicopter mustering industry, this website has everything you need. Or, check out Craig Gifford's channel on YouTube for awesome heli-mustering videos. 


Are you a pilot with cool travel stories that you want to share? Send us a message on our social media accounts Facebook , Instragram or send us an e-mail at charlyne@airnavigation.aero .


to discover more about the Flight planning application Air Navigation Pro iOS, 
you can also visit our website at 
and check the manual for additional details on how to use the new features.


Blue Skies, 
The Air Navigation Team
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08 March 2019

Air Navigation Pro Monthly Inbox - February 2019


While our team of developers continue to work on making the app better and more functional for you our valued users, we, the support team at Air Navigation Pro will also make sure that we're giving enough assistance to reach out to your concerns and needs. In line with this, we compile the top five frequently asked questions and write it on our monthly inbox wherein we answer these questions. We also add other essential information to serve as a reference for all of our users whenever they need it.

In case you missed last month's monthly inbox, you can read it here.

Here are the top five frequently asked questions for the month of February:

1. How to delete recorded flights from the device?

Recorded flights are categorized in months, under the Flight Recorder section in Tools. In order to delete a recorded flight:

For iOS, go to Tools >> Flight Recorder >> Recorded flights >> swipe each flight from right to left




For Android, go to Tools >> Flight Tracking >> Recorded flights >> swipe each flight from right to left and tap delete.




Before you decide to delete a recorded flight, you might consider synchronizing it to your Services account so you can still access it. For iOS devices, you can tap on a recorded flight and select "Push to web" to sync. For Android, select "Share on the web". Don't forget to login your Air Navigation Services account.

2. How can I disable the airspaces ahead alert?

The airspaces alert is another factor that helps you increase your situational awareness. When you're about to enter a particular airspace, you will receive an Alert five minutes beforehand. You can disable this feature and you can also choose the list of airspaces that you want to get an alert from.

To disable the airspaces alert, toggle off the button "Airspaces ahead alert"

For iPhone/iPad, go to Configuration >> Alerts >> Airspaces Ahead Alert



For Android tablet/smartphone, go to Flight Parameters >> Alerts >> Airspaces Ahead Alert




3. I bought Air Navigation Pro Android previous version (3.0). Can I install and access the app in my iOS device?

Now that both Air Navigation Pro Android and iOS  are free to download on Play Store and App Store, purchasing a package subscription will allow you to unlock your subscription freely on both Android and iOS applications. 

For add-on products, there's no need to buy them again. You can just sync it on your devices by connecting it your services account.


4. How can I display in the app the information of the speed, distance, destination, etc.?

The lower section of the app where you see the information of the speed, distance, destination, etc. is called the Data bar. In order to display it, tap Resize icon.

For Android smartphones, go to the floating widget for the different options and tap the resize icon - fourth button down




For iPhone, go to the floating widget for the different options and tap the resize icon - fourth button down.





5. How do I find my ATC flightplan credit?

For the meantime, this feature is applicable in Air Navigation Pro iOS only.

In order do this, go to the store and tap the tab restore. ATC Flightplan credit will  show how much is the remaining credit that you are entitled. Remember to always connect your Air Navigation Services account from the application.





You can also do this on the services website. Go to the Services site, login your account then go to Store. Click "All my Products". It will show the list of your products including your ATC Flight Plan Credit.



If you have questions that are not listed above, feel free to leave a comment below or message us on Facebook or visit our FAQ page and support center .

Are you a pilot with cool travel stories that you want to share? Send us a message on our social media accounts Facebook , Instragram or send us an e-mail at charlyne@airnavigation.aero .


to discover more about the Flight planning application Air Navigation Pro in iOS and Android, 
you can also visit our website at 
and check the manual for additional details on how to use the new features.


Blue Skies, 
The Air Navigation Team
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01 March 2019

Air Navigation Pro Android 3.1 is out! Server Error Fixed + New Flight Tracking & UI Enhancements


Following the release of Air Navigation Pro 3.0.1, our team extended their efforts to further improve the app to provide improved features, usability and stability to our Android users. We listened to the feedback and suggestions regarding our latest version. Our focus was also on addressing key issues including the server error problem reported, thanks to the collaboration with affected users, and we are pleased to share with you some of the progress with our new update.

With this version, users can now share their flights and current position with the new and improved Flight Tracking tool. They can give access to their friends to follow their flight real time and share the flight as well after landing.

Flight Tracking

Focus on your flight and enjoy viewing it later with the Flight Tracking tool. Flights are always saved to the device so you don't have to think about it. If you have a data connection, it can automatically transmit live tracking data from the device to your Services account for others to follow.






Other functions of the Flight Tracking includes sharing your flight direct to a social media platform by exporting a link from the app.




Old flights are now grouped in the same page and are categorized in months. This can be found in the "Recorded Flights" section. The menu will show the list of flights recorded in the previous months. Beside each recorded flight is an indicator that shows which flights are currently being displayed on the moving map.




If you don't have a data connection during the flight and you still wish to view it on your computer, just tap on a previous flight then select "Sync to  my Account". After that, a pop-up that says "Publish success" will appear, showing that your flight has been transferred to the website. Go to the web and log into your Services account to view the recorded flights.




The settings for the flight trace used for current flights or replaying a flight are moved under Map Options menu.  




You can also customise how you'd like the flight trace to be displayed. 



User Interface Enhancements

These interface enhancements makes the app simpler to use and a consistent user experience. Designed based on the latest features of Android's operating system; another reason you should download it. 

The Configuration items and settings are now improved to make the things you need easily accessible.


In Settings, you can also customize the units used to measure data such as the Altitude, Coordinates, Distances & Speed, Runways and Pressure.



For tablets, the layout is now adjusted to better adapt to your screen, whether it's in portrait or landscape mode. 



After getting the information of airspaces or waypoints, users can just simply tap anywhere outside the window to close. 




To our users in Norway, Velkommen, Piloter! The Norwegian language is now supported in Air Navigation Pro Android. 


Check out these new updates and find out why Air Navigation Pro is the best pilot assistant around! Stay tuned for more improvements, coming soon!



For more details and tips about our different features, go to our website or you can read our other blog posts regarding our features:

-Air Navigation Pro Android 3.0 now Available with a 2-week Free Trial
-The Best Aeronautical Database Features You Should Use on Your Next Flight
- Air Navigation Pro Android 2.2 Updates and Features




What do you think about our most recent update? Let us know by sending us a message in one of our social media accounts Facebook , Instragram or send us an e-mail at charlyne@airnavigation.aero 

to discover more about the Flight planning application Air Navigation Pro iOS, 
you can also visit our website at 
and check the manual for additional details on how to use the new features.

Blue Skies, 
The Air Navigation Team
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08 February 2019

Air Navigation Pro Monthly Inbox - January 2019


This year again, we will continue to provide our users the answers on how to make navigation smooth and convenient with Air Navigation Pro. If you are new to Air Navigation Pro, you can look into this blog and find some of the frequently asked questions in our 2018 Monthly Inbox.

As we kick start the year, we would like to thank all of you for reaching out to us, and helping us making Air Navigation Pro a better application.

Here are the top questions for the month of January:

1. How to delete a saved VFR route on my flight planning application?

Air Navigation Pro allows you to create your own data through custom waypoint, and saved routes. If you want to delete a saved route within the app, swipe from right to left under Route module on your iOS device. 


Click the Route icon to see the list of routes. 



Then, select the route that you want to remove. Swipe from right to left in order to delete it. 


For Routes saved on your account, you can delete it via the Services website. 

Login using your services account then go to Routes. 


Select the Route that you want to delete and click the delete button. 


Go back to the app and check the deleted route. 


In your Android device, under route module, tap X from each route to delete.





2. How to use the Obstacles database for my VFR flights? 

VFR flights require pilots to constantly keep their eyes outside the cockpit to navigate, control the aircraft's altitude, and to avoid obstacles and other aircrafts.

With Air Navigation Pro, you can acquire the Obstacles Database if you purchase the Premium Country Package in selected countries like France, Switzerland, Norway and Finland or, you can purchase it as an individual product in our Store. Once installed, toggle on the button "Obstacles" under Map options.




For more information about the Obstacles feature, you can refer to this post - Air Navigation Pro Obstacle Database

3. How can I import airspace files to my Air Navigation Pro app?

For the meantime, importing airspace files is only available in Air Navigation Pro iOS version. You can import airspaces files through the embedded Webserver, in the <Airspace> tab. To access the Webserver, enable it in on your Air navigation Pro device.

Go to Configuration >> Settings >> scroll down to see "Data import/export over http" 


Enable the Data import/export setting then copy the website URL.



To access the embedded web server, type the address in the URL bar. After that, Air Navigation website should appear in your browser. To import a file, press the file icon with the blue arrow on the right side of the Airspaces row.  


A popup will appear on top of the page. Chose the file that you want to import. Air Navigation is compatible with two well known Airspace file formats: OpenAir and Tim Newport-Peace. OpenAir files must have a ".txt" file extension. While Tim Newport-Peace must have an "air" file extension. Make sure not to include special characters in the file name.


After importing, the chosen file will automatically appear in the Webserver. 


You can check the imported airspace file on your Air Navigation Pro app.



4. How can I remove the imported airspace file from the app?

Same with importing, in order to remove the imported files from the app, delete them via the Webserver. Once deleted, it will no longer display both in the Webserver and in the app.




At the moment, special characters in the file name are not yet supported. As workaround, before importing airspace files, rename them first with an alphanumeric characters so that airspace files will no longer appear from the app when imported files are deleted via Webserver.

For more information about the Embedded Webserver, please read the user manual here.

5. "I have already subscribed to Air Navigation Pro Aeronautical Database and I currently have more than 3 months left within my subscription. I want to purchase the country package in PlayStore, could you explain how your pricing works for this?"

Answer: Since you still have more than 3 months left in your first subscription, then the expiration date of the country package will be carried over to your first subscription, giving you the same expiration date. 

"I have already subscribed to Air Navigation Pro Aeronautical Database and I currently have less than 3 months remaining from my subscription. I want to purchase the country package in PlayStore, could you explain how your pricing works for this?"

Answer: The remaining months left from your first subscription (Aeronautical Database) will be added on top of the whole year of the new package (Country Package) expiration date. 


If you have questions that are not listed above, feel free to leave a comment below or message us on Facebook or visit our FAQ page and support center .

Are you a pilot with cool travel stories that you want to share? Send us a message on our social media accounts Facebook , Instragram or send us an e-mail at charlyne@airnavigation.aero .


to discover more about the Flight planning application Air Navigation Pro iOS, 
you can also visit our website at 
and check the manual for additional details on how to use the new features.


Blue Skies, 
The Air Navigation Team
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