Poll: what app are you using?

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It’s been a year since we last polled iPad Pilot News readers about their favorite aviation app, and a lot has changed in the app world since then. So today we want to know which app is your go-to tool for preflight planning and in-flight navigation. Choose one app below that you use most often, then add a comment and tell us why.

37 COMMENTS

  1. Although I still subscribe to Foreflight, mainly for the documents/reference materials, my favorite, by far, is WingX — WingX is much more customer friendly when it comes to slection of ADS-B receiver selection, and the split screen and ease of calling up approach plates is far superior to Foreflight.

  2. Foreflight’s convention is logical and cogent. Have used other in flight iPad applications and I find them difficult to sequentially progress from one step to the other.

  3. I agree wit Ron. I prefer WING-X to Foreflight and Garmin Pilot. There are two things thought WING-X needs. The Sagetech Clarity ADS-B receiver with should be available the end of this month and better Internet WX with multiple overlay’s. I was using Garmin Pilot with was a good app butt, the Garmin39 ADDS-B receiver was big bulky, short battery life, and didn’t work all that great. Expecting great things from the Clarity ADS-B Receiver.

  4. I have been, and continue to be a user of ForeFlight. I have tried wing-X and the Jepp product, but did not feel they had the same ease of use and flow. ForeFlight Pro offers a full packages for my basic IFR/VFR needs.

  5. Concur with Ron. I tried Foreflight and WingX with WingX the best by far. However, I went to Anywhere Map Freedom from Control Vision when it came out. I had been using Anywhere Map Travel Companion on a small dedicate piece of hardware for quite sometime and it is pretty good and lifetime updates are available. Many features that both Foreflight and WingX now have were in Control Visions software for quite sometime.

  6. I was a Foreflight user, until I got my Galaxy Note II. Now I had to go to Garmin because they are the only one that supports both platforms. I miss Foreflight, but I’m getting use to G Pilot. A good app.

  7. I use both Wing-X Pro and Foreflight because they both have features that I like. I wish one or the other would combine so I would only need to buy one.

  8. WingX was first out of the box and remains the best overall. Foreflight seems to be more “me too”, than an innovator in the marketplace. Latest example, track up. A feature WingX innovated. WingX’s split screen capability keeps it at the #1 position in the app food chain for my VFR and IFR flying requirements.

  9. I wish more apps would run on Android. That is my preferred platform. And I do give much credit for Garmin for taking the lead here. I would go back to Garmin Pilot on Android if they would open up to other ADS-B receivers like Sagetech Clarity.

  10. I was a ForeFlight user until my subscription ran out recently. I stayed with Garmin Pilot instead, which I had been using alongside FF since last summer because of two FF mis-judgements, in my view:

    1. They chose to focus initially on Sirius/XM rather than ADSB, setting back ADSB support that clearly was going to become the future; and

    2. Once ADSB support was available later, they chose not to enable traffic. Guessing that was for legal liability issues relating to showing only partial traffic. But I’d rather see some than none.

    Garmin is improving more rapidly, as they have the resources. But I’ll always feel gratitude toward FF, for Garmin Pilot probably would not exist had it not been for FF.

  11. I started with Foreflight, tried the others to compare, returned to Foreflight. These guys have it together and understand what pilots need. They listen and react. Love the Stratus ADS-B receiver and the X-Plane interface.

  12. I use two apps, since there is no single app out there that has everything I need! Garmin pilot is my navigator, because I use the iPad as sole source navigation in my Thorp Skyskooter, which has no other navaids at all save for a whiskey compass! The HSI on the Garmin is, in my view, essential for primary navigation.

    However, I also fly for CAP, and need the special search grids overlaid onto the sectionals. At the time I got the iPad only Flight Guide IEFB had this feature, and that is my CAP app. At this point the X thing has gotten this too, as well as a special calculator for drawing out the search patterns. This would make it the feature leader for CAP work at this point. I imagine that Flight Guide will be adding this feature soon!

    Aside from special features like those mentioned, the others all appear alike. They are all great and long may this trend continue!

  13. I’m a Air Nav Pro user and I’m satisfied also because for my VFR flight on my Robin ATL (now ULM ex AG in France) it’s one of the best choice in my cockpit with Ipad….cheap, very easy to use and smart for Italian charts.
    I’m searching for others Air Nav Pro users so to compare my opinion and learn more of this app.
    Bye and congratulations to Sporty’s service and shop

  14. We use Jepp FD, ARINC, and ForeFlight. All backups to each other. We have had each one of those apps lock up, but were able to switch over to another with no delay.

  15. My brother and I have both been using Foreflight for some time now. We don’t have an ADS-B Rx in our plane yet since coverage from the CO to KY range isn’t really available yet. That said, I haven’t tried Wing-X. I’m thinking that it would be a nice redundancy to Foreflight should it crash.
    I’m extremely hesitant to use a Garmin product. With all of my past experiences, I see them as an over priced, money grubbing mega corporation. I just felt like they tried to charge for every little thing they could.

  16. I used ForeFlight for about a year before recently switching to WingX. I made the decision because of ForeFlight’s apparent inability to add new hardware. Since I want to use the new Clarity SV which should ship this month, I had to switch. And am I glad I did. ForeFlight is a great program and very intuitive. But WingX is much more feature rich. Of course, because there is more it can do means a steep learning curve. Hilton Software has a series of Youtube videos which help teach the aspects of the program, but they are a bit disjointed and ad hoc. I spent about 5 hours learning WingX before flying with it. I would say I can use about 80% of its capabilities. So be prepared to dig into it. WingX should seriously consider a professionally developed curriculum, either videos or a comprehensive manual. There are a few features I miss from ForeFlight — like the 2-finger distance measurement tool — but mostly you can do everything FF does in WingX, just in a different way. For example, to add a waypoint on your flight plan, in FF you can drag the line. In WingX you touch an airport or navaid, or create your own waypoint, then click “add to route.” It is smart enough to put the point at the most logical place. I love the split screen and the plan view. Both FF and WingX suffer from requiring too many steps to find approach charts. They could take a cue from either FlightGuide or FlyQ in that respect. I spent a lot of time at the AOPA Summit in Palm Springs watching iPad demos and trying to compare apps. I came away more confused than when I started. Each app has its advantages and disadvantages. I have settled on WingX because of its capabilities and the fact that they seem to consistently stay ahead of the field on features.

  17. I’m an Air Nav Pro user and strictly VFR. I had a subscription to Fore Flight, but on a trip from KHFD TO KMYF, I found that I was unable to use the sectional charts satisfactorily. Each morning I would down load the charts expected to be used that day, but when I tried to zoom in, I was unable to go to any lower level than what I had down loaded, nor would the charts extend the length of the day’s flights. Air Nav Pro, however was always available.

    To this date no one at Fore Flight has been able to give me a reason or a solution for this problem. Only statements “that shouldn’t happen” “what did you do wrong?” Totally unacceptable. In my opinion, not worth the price.

  18. We use Fltpln.com for filing flight plans and ForeFlite Mobile in the cockpit. The time in route and fuel calculations are spot on with Fltpln.com. We carry 2 ipads (2man crew) for all enroute chart needs using ForeFlite.

  19. I really like ForeFlight, especially since they recently released 4.9. For example, the new track-up feature is very impressive. Considering ForeFlight’s myriad of features, it’s still intuitive, easy to use, and well organized. I’d frankly prefer Jepps over NACOs, but Jepp Flight Deck is just typical of their overpricing. Little wonder 67% who replied to the survey use ForeFlight!

  20. This poll doesn’t seem very fair coming from Sportys which seems like it is pushing Foreflight and Stratus. I see more pilots have switched from FF to WingX than the other way around. I thoroughly tried out both and the split screen, terrain display, and sharper display convinced me WingX is the better App for me. I added a SkyRadar ADSB receiver which stays out of sight in my seatback and gives me weather and traffic for free. It is mind boggling how much we information we have at our fingertips with all this technology. That requires careful management to be sure you Aviate, Communicate, Navigate all the while minimizing heads down screen time.

    • Peter, the poll is open to anyone who wants to respond. I don’t see why that’s unfair.

      As a reminder, we sell the Garmin Pilot app in addition to ForeFlight, and we also sell the GDL 39 and Dual 170 ADS-B receivers.

  21. I’ve tried them all. Started with Foreflight, still with Foreflight. As subscriptions expre for the others, I renew only so I can tell my students what’s out there. As a Dallas Fort Worth area CFI (Addison), I fly several times a day with students. I’ve found Foreflight gives me, and especially my instrument students, the power, speed, and flexibility to get the job done with a minimum of twiddling. A super wild array of neat features of arguable value is one thing if what you’re looking for is entertainment and you like to twiddle with apps. If you are a serious pilot, however, rock solid reliability and addition of features when proven helpful is Foreflight’s plan, and I think they’re still the best. As an example, professional pilots and CFIs need aviation document management, and ForeFlight has provided it in an elegant, simple to use, powerful form. It all boils down to functionality. Endless bells and whistles won’t help you in tough situations. Easy to get to information when you really need it will!

  22. I am an active GA pilot who uses my iPad extensively in flight. I have been using Wing X 7 Pro for about the last year. I think it is an excellent app from an ease of use standpoint. I have tried ForeFlight on other people’s iPads, but find Wing X to be be more intuitive and easy to use. I like the fact that Hilton Software is constantly upgrading their product and making it more capable without compromising user friendliness.

  23. I spent more time time than I probably should have researching and testing all the apps. It was really fun though, and they are all quality products. I think MyWingMan and FlyQ are under-rated in the reviews, and are equal in caliber to the other top tier apps. I was really looking for an excuse to spend money, but in the end I went with the free Fltplan.com app for the following reasons:

    (A) does everything I need; (B) does most of what I want; (C) plays very nice with my external GPS and shows my position on sectionals and enroute charts with decent pan & zoom response; (D) have to use the website to create and file a flight plan, but was pleasently surprised when I discovered you can edit it on the iPad without an internet connection; (E) has nice extras like W&B, logbook, and documents upload; (F) an use scratchpad to write on a blank page, but can also write, draw & highlight on approach charts; (G) only takes 4.3 GB of storage space for the entire U.S., which is about half of Foreflight; (H) includes the actual A/FD for all crucial information, i.e. noise abatement procedures; (I) for the iPad mini, the seemingly useful & attractive split screen features of other apps just seem to make everything too small unless you have exceptional vision; (J) for VFR flight, do you really need/want all the bells & whistles?; (K) for IFR flight, most airplanes I rent already have an IFR-certified GPS, and I don’t want the temptation of allowing a non-approved geo-referenced chart on my iPad the opportunity to distract my attention from where my scan should be; (L) the primary justification for buying an iPad mini in the first place was to save money buying using it as an EFB and replacing all my paper products, which Fltplan does very well, so why spend more; (M) many of the features missing on the Fltplan app, like wind optimization and flight plan filing, are available on the website, and a link is available inside the app if you don’t want to create an extra bookmark; (N) can download route and destination wx; (O) it doesn’t overlay weather, but unless you have ADSB, the wx info on all apps is old by the time you takeoff and should not be relied upon for weather avoidance, and any graphical overlay seems to be just another temptation to use something in the cockpit that you shouldn’t; (P) I didn’t have issues with Fltplan.com app crashing as much as other apps I tested; (Q) can download by state or region; (R) download times are fast; (S) can store multiple routes; (T) Fltplan.com seems to come out with updates as often as anyone else, so who knows what else they have cooking; (U) the iPhone version of the app is full-featured, which makes for a nice back up and you won’t miss anything; (V) it’s one of the very select few apps that’s also available for Android devices; (W) there are mobile versions of the site for Blackberry, Windows Mobile, and Palm devices; (X) I test flew with it on an instrument training flight, as the student, and it really helped improve my cockpit organization and instrument scan by freeing up my hands from not having to juggle multiple items in my lap; (Y) my instructor has a paid subscription to one of the so-called “top 3” paid apps, and he said he does not intend to renew after seeing Fltplan in action in the air; and (Z) amazingly, it’s all really completely free. Seriously, how do they make money, and what’s their motivation?

    I didn’t originally set out to write all the way to Z, I’ve just done a lot of personal research and testing, and wanted to share my decision and user experience. Even if Fltplan.com cost money, it is a solid app, and I’d still strongly consider it and recommend it to others.

    All the paid subscription apps are very nice, and well worth the money too. You won’t go wrong with any of them, but they are all different in design, presentation, and features. Therefore, I strongly recommend that anyone in the market test multiple apps, spend some time really learning and getting to know them before you make a decision, and take good notes about your experience because your mind may get mushy and struggle to remember distinguishing features after awhile, and it will be easier to perform a more objective analysis weighted against your needs, desires, priorities, and aesthetic tastes. In the end, whatever decision you make will be the right one.

    Anyone know if Sporty’s, Aviation Consumer, AvWeb, etc is seeking product testers and reviewers? Haha, but seriously, I really enjoyed writing this. Can’t believe this is how I spent my Friday night…then again, yes I can. Great site, and great forum. I learn a lot here. Please keep it up..

  24. I am so surprised at all the users of wingx. I’m not sure who designed the interface but it needs to addressed. It seems like it is about 5 yrs behind what I would expect.

  25. Jason, Can you expand on what you don’t like about the interface. I have used all off the apps and still have them active but find WingX has the best user interface of them all. It’s easy to get at information without going through alot of menus. Two things that I would like to see with WingX is the Clarity ADS-B SV receiver hopefully coming the end of this month and better internet WX and Flight plan filing. I want to be able to use one application to seamlessly go from flight planning to flight. If the Clarity ADS-B receiver works as advertises I will not be renewing my other subscriptions.

    Just a note on my personal Garmin experience:
    I must agree with Greg’s comments on Garmin being over priced and greedy. I have had two experiences in that regard:

    1 – I Had a Garmin 696 using Jepp charts, I had to buy a $500.00 key from Garmin to use them. I then bought a Garmin 795 and called to transfer the license. They told me I couldn’t and would need to buy another key for $250.00. I returned my 795.

    2) With my Garmin 696 because of the cost of chart updates $500.00 per year I let them expire.
    Garmin put a message on my Garmin renew license web page that the gave me a time period to renew before pricing would change. Well the day of the expiration I called them and the person new nothing about it. He said it was probably a marketing thing. He put me on hold to call someone and came back and said there would be no change to pricing. A few days later it disappeared.
    I am no longer a fan of Garmin.

  26. I have a 46 Ercoupe and use Garmin, I couldn’tt be more satisfied.
    Seeing that I’m LSAT, it fits my every need.

  27. I too started out with Foreflight and loved it. Because of the single option ADSB (Stratus), I switched to WingX and can offer an honest comparison. Both great Apps, but why have an iPad in today’s environment and not have Weather AND Traffic displayed on a single app with a single device. My Skyradar unit displays both on WingX via bluetooth, on my GRT EFIS and the backseaters iFly 720. The Stratus just doesn’t cut it in today’s market.

  28. I’m a VFR only pilot and although I bought Garmin’s app at the intro $50 price, I won’t be renewing it for $75 as
    Skycharts Pro does everything I need for $20.
    Surprised Sporty’s hasn’t featured this as a bargin VFR-only tool!

  29. I started out years ago with AnywhereMap on an HP handheld computer, and a tangle of wires to various things. What a fine thing it was to watch my progress on moving map with all sorts of interesting and useful information. The program had limitations, was buggy, slow, hard to read in sunlight, but surely better than trying to refold a sectional in a Mooney, or guess what lay behind that big black cloud up ahead. The company seemed to be going downhill, but I hoped their new Freedom for iPad and Android platform would herald better things to come. It didn’t, no real-time WX, and no major updates in almost two years. RIP.
    I’ve since tried ForeFlight, Garmin Pilot, WingX, and now AOPA’s FlyQ, and all are very functional, and each has its own strengths. ForeFlight is just plain easy to use, still speaks to XM-WX, as does Garmin Pilot, which runs both on my iPad and my Android phone, so, belt AND suspenders. WingX’s split screen is great, and so is its terrain info, super to have on a recent cross-continent trip in a Cherokee. I look forward to trying out FlyQ on a longish trip next week, but it works well in the living room! I suspect you can hardly go wrong on any of these products… just pick your downlink weather provider and receiver, and go from there.

  30. I’ve been flying with ForeFlight for a few years now, but I’ve pretty much decided to cut my ties with them after my subscription expires in a few months. I recently had the pleasure of flying with Wing X and found that it has most of the features I’ve been asking FF to incorporate for quite some time now; the split screen rocks, the multiple page scratch pad wins hands down over the FF single page, CAP search grids put it over the top, the timer & e6B are a nice touch. Don’t get me wrong, FF is a great app, but it just doesn’t have everything I want. Now I know most of the squadron has already jumped ship.

  31. I’ve had subscriptions to or evaluated them all at various times. I keep up with new features and functions in most, especially in the two leaders, ForeFlight and WingX. Bottom line in my opinion: ForeFlight continues to win hands down with more solid features and functions for serious pilots at all levels, from the new student pilot to the most seasoned professionals. ForeFlight’s thoughtful addition of solid features adds value. How many of us need things like CAP search grids and the other limited use bells and whistles that WingX seems most dedicated to adding? I’ve used both, but the WingX app continues to lack maturity and lacks attention to the most needed functions while chasing more, more, more bells and whistles.

  32. @ Tom G – I think that as far as functionality goes, I think that they are fairly equal. FF does seem to do some things better (or just different). Maybe once I become more in tune to the W X way, it will seem normal again. Maybe W X does have some bells & whistles, but I would think that they come in handy for a good many pilots. Like I said, that split screen rocks & I love the multiple page scratch pad. The e6B, might be nice for some; I don’t use it, I’m still using the wheel. I don’t use the timer too much. What’s the problem you have with the bells & whistles? They’re there to use as tools if you choose and don’t interfere with the functionality of the app. By your logic, I wouldn’t use the whiz wheel either. After all, I’ll never need to convert a C-152/172/182/etc. speed into a mach # or convert to/from imperial gallons. How many times have you used the radius of action function? You seem rather dismissive of the CAP SAR Grids. If you’re a CAP pilot or crew member, they really help out. Most of our pilots have switched for that reason alone. I don’t know how many total pilots the CAP has, but if all the remaining pilots have the same thought as our squadron’s pilots, that could really add up to a significant loss to FF. Your opinion seems to come down that you like a Ford & I like a Dodge. Both are great products, each with they’re own uniqueness. I’m curious though; what “most needed functions” does WX not have that FF does? I’m not asking to put you on the spot. I’m wondering for my own edification; I think I did a pretty thorough evaluation, and didn’t find anything (I consider needed) that W X was lacking.

  33. In reply to Dave: I don’t have WingX on my iPad anymore, but the first thing that comes to mind is documents – I’m a flight instructor and fly many different aircraft types. Often need information without having to leave ForeFlight. Foreflight provides excellent document management – FAA or aircraft manufacturer manuals, etc. I’m not dismissive of CAP grids, but I don’t think a very high percentage of pilots fly CAP missions. I do know many flight instructors who use the documents feature in ForeFlight. Someone with a lot of free time should do an in depth feature by feature comparison of WingX and ForeFlight from the perspective of various types of pilots!

  34. I’ll agree with the documents thought. WX is far behind the power curve with those. I do however, look at them as sort of bells & whistles. I like having them readily available, but I don’t use them in flight.

  35. Yes, the document feature in FF is better than WX, but it is crappy compared to GoodReader. Try to export a doc that is in FF or open it in anther app. You can’t. I have switched to WX which I use with a Sagetech Clarity SV. I had to re-download and re-scan all the docs I had in FF, but now I can just switch to GoodReader if I need one (pretty rare in flight). I always have paper checklists and power setting tables in the side pocket. Incidentally, I recently started using Xavion on my iPhone which constantly computes best glide to the nearest runway. It is pretty cool, and works very well with the iPhone’s internal accerometers as well asthe Clarity SV, but I am running out of places to plug gadgets in.

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