The number of aviation apps seems to expand daily, with thousands of options for flight training, weather briefings, games and so much more. With that in mind, compiling a list of the top 10 apps may seem foolish, but we’re going to try–after all, a brand new iPad pilot needs to start somewhere. The list below isn’t necessarily our 10 favorite apps, but rather the ones we see in use most often, and are worth considering for any pilot’s tablet:
ForeFlight Mobile. This is the app that has, probably more than any other, revolutionized the way pilots view the iPad. The all-in-one pre-flight and in-flight product includes moving maps, approach charts, terrain awareness, weather graphics, weight and balance, flight plan filing and a whole lot more. It has replaced paper charts and even portable GPSs for a lot of pilots, especially as products like the Stratus ADS-B Receiver have come onto the market.
- Garmin Pilot. Garmin practically invented portable navigation products for pilots, and they’ve extended this expertise to tablet and phone apps. This impressive app includes many of the same features as ForeFlight, and adds Garmin GTN-style menus, split screen, GDL 39 integration, international charts and more. It’s also available on Android.
- MyRadar. This free app is simple, but it’s fast and easy to use. MyRadar shows looping NEXRAD radar for the entire US that is easy to zoom in on–perfect for pre-flight weather briefings. Recent updates have added some nice aviation features, like TFRs, AIR/SIGMET overlay and route overlays based on N-numbers.
- Sporty’s E6B. The good old fashioned whiz wheel can rest in peace–the iPhone or iPad makes it much easier to do performance or weight and balance calculations. This $9.99 app does all that plus conversions, timer features and basic arithmetic. It was Sporty’s first app and still one of the most downloaded among pilots. Just don’t try to take it to your FAA written exam. This app is also available on Android.
LogTen Pro. Electronic logbooks have been around for a long time now, but the iPad finally makes it easy to keep them up to date. LogTen Pro is the most powerful logbook app we’ve seen, and is totally self-contained (so it requires no syncing with a computer). Keeping track of currency items is easy with automatic alerts, and there are dozens of options for printing your logbook. It’s also a legal replacement for a paper logbook. Read about the latest release here.
- FltPlan Go. The free FltPlan.com website continues to be one of the most widely used flight planning services around today, especially for corporate aviation. This free companion app allows you to retrieve and store your navlogs and weather briefings and includes FAA charts, moving map navigation, checklists, weather imagery and more. The company recently released a dedicated iPhone version of the app.
- WingX Pro7. This app was around for various mobile platforms well before the iPhone and iPad were introduced and includes complete digital charts and powerful moving maps, including track up, terrain, split screen and flight data recording. When connected to an external AHRS, WingX can also show an attitude-based synthetic vision display.
- Aeroweather. There are times when you need to quickly view a METAR or TAF before a flight and this app is built just for this purpose. A recent update also added a new iOS 8 widget allowing you to view a METAR right from the your Notifications view.
- CloudAhoy. This app is a lot of fun, but it’s also useful for currency and flight instructors. Simply open the app and begin tracking–CloudAhoy keeps a detailed log of your flight, including speed, altitude and location. You can play back the flight over a Google Earth map or an aviation chart, complete with track log. There’s even a CFI mode that makes it easy to review key maneuvers. Read the full review here.
Aircraft Checklists. It only makes sense to use the iPad to replace your paper checklists and this app makes it easier than ever. It includes a free sample checklist to explore the app’s features and offers checklists for over 50 popular general aviation models for purchase. The checklist data is written by Qref, authors of one of the most widely-used printed checklists available today.
So there’s our list of the top 10 apps for pilots. Some are free, some are paid, but all have something to offer for pilots. This list is far from complete–there are dozens of other great apps out there in addition to these. What’s your top 10?