Top 10 aviation apps (you haven’t heard of)

The NRST app provides a list of nearest airports and basic navigation when needed for a diversion.
The NRST app provides a list of nearest airports and basic navigation when needed for a diversion.

Last week we covered the top 10 aviation apps we see pilots using most in the cockpit. This top 10 list is a bit different, and is designed to help you expand your app horizons and check out some different aviation apps you might not have heard of:

10. NRST: Descent Rate and Airport Finder. This app provides a great resource when you need to initiate a diversion and find the nearest airport. It maintains a list of nearest airports based on your present position, including distance and bearing to each one, and gives the vertical speed required to fly there based on current groundspeed.

9. Area Forecast. Most aviation apps include a wide variety of aviation weather imagery, reports and forecasts, but often leave out the Area Forecast. The Area Forecast is very useful when flying to rural airports that aren’t served by a TAF, and is the only place the National Weather Service forecasts cloud tops. This app provides Area Forecasts for the US, Caribbean and Alaska and includes visual cues to help decipher the valid times for the forecast.

8. Black Box. There are several aviation apps that include flight data recording, and several others that record cockpit audio, but Black Box is one of the few that we’ve found that can do both in the same app. This can be useful to review the audio recording of your CFI’s instructions and see the location where each event took place with the track log on the map.

7. Flight ReviewThe iPad’s large, bright screen provides an excellent platform for viewing video when on the go. The Flight Review app takes advantage of this to help you stay current with your aviation knowledge and prepare you for your next flight review. It includes nearly 2 hours of in-flight video and graphics, broken down into both broad and individual subject categories. A quiz is available after completion of the course to test your knowledge.

The BaroAltimeter app users the barometer in the iPhone 6 to track your altitude.
The BaroAltimeter app users the barometer in the iPhone 6 to track your altitude.

6. BaroAltimeter. The iPhone 6 was the first Apple device to include a built-in barometer, and pilots instantly saw the potential here. This app takes advantage of this sensor to display a readout of your pressure altitude, with the option to enter the current altimeter setting for increased accuracy.

5. AvioFuelThis iPhone app provides a simple and intuitive interface for performing fuel loading calculations, especially for larger aircraft that measure fuel in pounds. It allows you to enter custom aircraft profiles and quickly determine how much fuel you can load in each tank based on passenger/baggage requirements and the weight limits for your airplane.

4. Air Navigation ProThis was one of the first full-featured EFB apps to offer international support for many regions in Europe, Africa and South America. It includes a glass-cockpit style display with terrain, synthetic vision, moving maps and more.

3. Cloud TopperHow many times have you been on a flight and see a cloud up ahead and wonder if you’ll be able to top it at your current altitude? This clever app can help answer that question using your iPhone or iPad’s camera as a sight level. Simply open the app, hold it up to the front window and level it out using the pitch indication in the viewfinder. You can also enter the distance from the cloud and have the app calculate the approximate distance you’ll pass above or below the cloud top.

AerovieReports allows you to file PIREPs electronically directly to Lockheed Martin Flight Service.
AerovieReports allows you to file PIREPs electronically directly with Lockheed Martin Flight Service.

2. AerovieReports. Lockheed Martin Flight Services has been hard at work over the past year making their new technologies available for third-party apps and web services. The AerovieReports app ties into the PIREP reporting system and allows you to issue PIREPs right from the app, either with an in-flight internet connection or when back on the ground after landing. It’s also a useful app to view PIREPs on a US map, allowing you to filter them based on altitude and age.

1. XavionDeveloped by the same company that created X-Plane, Xavion is a sophisticated app that provides a glass-cockpit display for your iPad with synthetic vision. The standout feature here is the emergency landing guidance the app can provide, showing 3D “hoops” to fly through directing you to the nearest airport based on the glide range of your airplane.

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  1. Anybody know if NRST works with an external (Garmin GLO via Bluetooth) GPS like ForeFlight does? My iPad is WiFi-only (no internal GPS).

  2. Dan, I don’t know about the NRST program. But my GDL 39 works with FltPlan Go, Go GPS and with Mapquest. So I’m betting it will work with NRST.

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