The number of aviation apps continues to grow daily, with hundreds of options for flight training, weather briefings, games and so much more. At this stage most pilots are fairly set with their favorite EFB app (e.g. ForeFlight, Garmin, WingX Pro, FltPlan Go etc.), so here we’re going to focus on the supporting aviation apps.
With that in mind, compiling a list of the top 10 apps may still 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. In no particular order:
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. It even includes some nice aviation features, like TFRs, AIR/SIGMET overlay and route overlays based on N-numbers. MyRadar is a free app to download.
Cloud Topper Pilot Sight Level
It’s a situation we’ve all been in, flying along and unsure of whether you’ll be able to clear the tops of the clouds up ahead at the current altitude. To help answer the question, pull out your iPad (or iPhone) and use the Cloud Topper app to shed some light on the question. It uses the built-in camera and internal gyros to turn your iPad into a high-tech site level. You can even enter the distance to a cloud to calculate your height above or below the cloud. The app is $0.99.
Don’t wait for your next Flight Review or IPC to get current – keep your flying skills sharp and stay up to date on the latest aviation trends with Sporty’s Takeoff app. This fun and easy-to-use app delivers fresh aviation content to your iPad or iPhone every day, and allows you to customize topics to match your preferences. Get notified when new videos and articles are available, based on your flying skills and preferences. It also features a dedicated aviation news feature to help you keep up with current events. The app is free to download, and also offers subscription-based Pro content.
Listening to Air Traffic Control can be both fun and educational, and LiveATC.net has been pilots’ go-to website for years. The latest version of their app is a great way to stay involved in aviation on days when you can’t fly. Listen to approach control or tower, and monitor the weather conditions right in the app. It is available for $3.99.
X-Plane 10 Flight Simulator
Ok, so this one might not help you pass your written test or solve a weight and balance problem, but it sure is a lot of fun! The simulation and aerodynamics are very realistic, allowing you to practice your maneuvers in the C172 or Piper Cub. On a rainy day though we think the best way to use this app is by flying the F-22 fighter jet through the mountains of Austria. The app is a free download, and offers the option to purchase additional aircraft models.
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 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. The app is $9.99.
This app provides free, live flight tracking on your iPhone and iPad. It’ll display the real-time status of GA flights in the US and Canada, and commercial flights around the globe. The information is enhanced with a map depicting the aircraft’s current location and its previous flight path, along with a live NEXRAD overlay. You can search for specific data by using aircraft registration, route, airline, flight number, city pair or airport code. This is a free app.
Electronic logbooks have been around for a long time now, but the iPad makes it much easier 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. The app is free to download and offers in-app subscription options.
Developed 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. Xavion is free to download, and requires an in-app purchase to access current aviation data.