Pilots have plenty of options when it comes to choosing a preflight weather and navigation app for iPad. While most of the apps offer necessities like digital VFR and IFR charts, many also offer a variety of additional features that can turn your iPad into a powerful in-flight navigator. While we’re not here to recommend any app specifically, our advice is to try several of them out and see what works best for you. Most offer either a free trial period or demo mode, so it’s easy to take them on a test flight without any upfront investment. Our main advice is to pay attention to things like ease of use and dependability–two very important qualities in software, especially since you will be relying on these apps for critical data in the airplane.

To get you started, here’s a side-by-side comparison of the major aviation apps. Click on the chart below for a larger view:

App Comparison Guide 011014