Navigation app showdown: ForeFlight vs. Garmin Pilot vs. WingX

ForeFlight vs. WingX vs. Garmin Pilot
ForeFlight vs. WingX vs. Garmin Pilot

ForeFlight Mobile vs. Garmin Pilot vs. WingX Pro7. Which one is best?

It’s the #1 question we hear at Sporty’s: “I’m looking at the ForeFlight, Garmin and WingX apps, but I don’t know which one to buy. Which is the best?” Sorry to disappoint, but there’s no quick answer. Each of the three apps has a lot to offer, but often in different ways and with different emphases. Personal preference plays a big part in the decision–do you like Coke or Pepsi?

So while we can’t pick a winner that is best for every pilot, we can offer a side-by-side comparison of the core features, and offer some (completely biased) opinions. Let’s dive in.

App structure

One of the first things you’ll notice about any app is the way it’s structured and how you navigate through the various features. This is an important issue for ease of use, and each of these three apps has a unique style, so consider which approach you prefer.

  • ForeFlight uses a series of tabs across the bottom that give you access to the main features of the app: Airports, Maps, Plates, Documents, Imagery, File & Brief, Scratchpad and More. This takes up some screen real estate, but it makes it fast and easy to switch between features. You can read an approach plate, then pop over to the moving map page without using any menus or back buttons. What’s the downside? These tab buttons are smaller than the buttons in both Garmin and WingX.
  • WingX main menu

    WingX is organized around 12 main menu buttons.

    Garmin uses a Home button that’s always in the top left corner for navigation. Tapping this reveals a drop-down menu that will look familiar to users of the company’s aera and GTN series navigators. Icon-based menu options include: Map, Active FPL, Trip Planning, Airport Info, Charts, WX Imagery, Downloads and Settings. This is very easy to navigate, and features like the Active FPL page are just like a panel-mount GPS. The only downside is that you have to hit the Home button a lot, which adds an extra step for some commonly-used features. One final feature that a lot of pilots will appreciate is the dedicated “direct-to” button that’s always visible at the top left–think of this as a “get out of jail free” button if you find yourself lost.

  • WingX has a main menu, similar to Garmin, but it is on its own dedicated page, not a drop-down. The advantage here is that a lot of features can be displayed, and each has a big button that you can hit even in turbulence: Moving Map, A/FD and AOPA, AeroNav Charts, Route Planning, Wx Text, Wx Images, DUATS, TFRs, Documents, Utilities, Databases & Subscriptions and Help. The downside is that you need to keep hitting Back to return to this menu. You end up jumping around some, although the split screen options for the moving map eliminate some of this.

Verdict: ForeFlight and Garmin tie.

Pre-flight planning

ForeFlight Airport page

The Airports tab on ForeFlight is packed with information, including fuel prices.

Most of these apps began life as pre-flight planning tools, helping you research airports, plan routes and check weather. All three are excellent at this, although they approach it in different ways. Let’s look at how you might plan a flight and get a weather briefing in each app.

  • ForeFlight–there are a number of ways to plan a flight, depending on the information you want. A good place to start is the Maps tab, where ForeFlight recently added some impressive new features. Here you can enter a route, see suggested ATC routes, wind-optimized altitudes and view your track on a map (sectional, IFR en route, etc.). You can also overlay weather and TFR maps and use the “rubber band” feature to graphically edit your route around weather or airspace (just tap and hold your course line until it turns blue). You can even view fuel prices on the map, so you can choose a fuel stop or destination with that in mind. The Maps tab gives you a nice visual overview, but to review detailed airport information, you’ll need to tap the Airports tab. This page includes runway information, frequencies, text airport weather and NOTAMs. There are some nice add-on features here too: the full Airport/Facility Directory page is included, which is the only place to find some information; FBO information includes updated fuel prices; and users can submit comments for added detail. You can save a list of favorite airports by tapping the star symbol. Finally, to review weather before takeoff, tap the Imagery tab for radar pictures, prog charts, AIRMETs, icing forecasts and much more. When you’re ready for an official DUATS briefing and to file a flight plan, tap the File & Brief tab. One interesting note: ForeFlight recently received QICP certification, which means it can be an approved source of weather for commercial operators.
  • Garmin Pilot trip planning page

    Garmin Pilot has a complete trip planning page with route map.

    Garmin–this app has a dedicated Trip Planning page (accessed from the Home menu), that makes it easy to plan a flight. Here you can enter your trip information and get complete stats or review a really nice-looking nav log. You can also get a DUAT(S) briefing, file the proposed flight plan and make this the active flight plan in the app–all right from the Trip Planning page. Tap the Map page to view your route on a sectional or IFR chart (rubber band flight planning is an option here, as well). Garmin Pilot also has Airport Info and WX Imagery pages that are very similar to the Airports and Imagery pages on ForeFlight, and provide the same basic information. One benefit over ForeFlight here is that Garmin Pilot shows forecast icing maps at each altitude (3000, 6000, 9000, etc.), whereas ForeFlight only shows maximum icing potential. Garmin Pilot does include fuel prices, including a handy feature that displays the lowest price in the vicinity of the selected airport, and the full AOPA Airport Directory. This is handy for finding hotels, restaurants or rental cars at your destination. There are no user comments here or A/FD data, which isn’t critical, but they are nice to have.

  • WingX altitude optimizer

    WingX’s optimize altitude feature helps you find the most efficient altitude.

    WingX–like Garmin, WingX offers a dedicated Route Planning page that will display basic trip data. The overall presentation isn’t nearly as refined as Garmin or ForeFlight, but there are some unique features here. The Optimize Altitude button will show you the ideal cruising altitude based on current winds aloft (internet connection required), and will show estimated fuel burns as well. Tap on the Wx Text button to see METARs and TAFs for the airports along your route. For more airport information, tap the menu button to return to the main menu, then select the A/FD and AOPA page. You can enter specific airports or select one of your flight plan airports and view all the detailed information you would expect, including hotels, restaurants and even a Google Earth map. The amount of information here is impressive, but it’s organized in numerous data blocks, so spend some time learning the different tabs. Also note that fuel prices requires a $29.95 annual subscription. To learn about the weather, tap Wx Text or Wx Images buttons. One major missing piece on the Images page is the icing forecasts graphics that are included in both ForeFlight and Garmin. When you’re ready to file, tap the DUATS button.

Verdict: ForeFlight and Garmin tie. Each app covers the essentials: briefing new airports, planning routes and checking weather. The differences are mostly in the usability and some of the higher end features. ForeFlight is probably the easiest to use, and does not require a DUATS account for flight plan filing. Garmin wins points for having the most comprehensive weather maps.

In-flight use

The second core feature, and the one that has caused pilots to really embrace the iPad recently, is in-flight navigation and digital charts. For the first time, a portable device really can replace all your paper charts and even some of the functions of a portable GPS (when connected to an external GPS).

  • ForeFlight maps page

    ForeFlight’s new Route feature makes it easy to change flight plans on the go.

    ForeFlight–the Maps page looks fairly simple at first glance, but it packs a lot of in-flight features into one screen. At the top, tap the button with three lines to display a nav log. This drop-down box shows each leg of your flight, with heading, distance, fuel burn, time en route and other details. Next, you can bring up what ForeFlight calls an HUD across the bottom, with four user-customizable data fields (like groundspeed, track, GPS accuracy and more). Between this and the nav log, it’s easy to keep track of important data. The map itself is quite powerful, with multiple layers to select. Tap on the top left menu to display a basemap (world map, street map, sectionals, IFR en route), then choose additional layers (like radar, TFRs and airport weather). Your aircraft position and flight plan route is displayed on this map, and you can tap any item on the map for more information. The iPad really shines here–if you want more information about an airport or some airspace, just tap it. One nice feature here is that ForeFlight has an optional subscription package that includes Canadian IFR charts–an exclusive feature. Plus graphical flight plan editing is a breeze with ForeFlight, using either rubber band editing to drag your route to a new point, or try the new Edit Route feature at the top of the screen. This allows you to move waypoints, insert arrivals or departures and reverse a trip.

  • Garmin Pilot app on map

    Garmin’s famous panel page is included in the Garmin Pilot app.

    Garmin–the Map page can be configured in four basic ways on Garmin Pilot: full screen map, split screen with a second map view, split screen with widgets and split screen with panel instruments. Full screen map view is similar to the ForeFlight layout, including six data fields at the top of the screen (tap on them to change). The unique features of Garmin show up when you tap the arrow button in the bottom right of the screen and bring up split screen mode. The first option is to display two maps side by side, perfect for a sectional and taxi diagram. The next option is widgets, which are small data blocks across the bottom of the screen. These can be set to show METARs, airport info, airspace and more, and you can scroll across the length of your flight to see how the information changes. Alternately, you can choose to view a combination of data fields and Garmin’s much-loved panel instruments. These instruments use GPS data, so they’re not a replacement for your airplane’s panel, but they are a nice backup and an aid to situational awareness. Two other features make Garmin Pilot a powerful navigator: the dedicated direct-to button, and full-fledged flight plan editing from the Active FPL page. Garmin GPS users will be at home here. Finally, Pilot includes Garmin’s SafeTaxi charts that show detailed taxiway diagrams at hundreds of airports in the US.

  • WingX track up view

    Track up is a useful option for WingX users.

    WingX–this app has often led the market on higher end navigation features, and was the first to offer a split screen view. This allows the pilot to view up to four separate screen areas at the same time, like a moving map sectional, airport diagram, text airport information and flight plan route. The options are almost limitless for customizing this display–including a full screen map view–and all of these can be selected with the Route, View and Options buttons at the bottom of the screen. WingX is also the only app to offer three advanced navigation features: track up display, synthetic vision and terrain views. Track up presents sectional charts or IFR en route charts oriented to match your heading, a much-requested feature. While the text on the charts is upside down in some cases, it’s still a nice enhancement. The terrain and obstacle view adds another helpful layer, especially for pilots who fly in mountainous areas. This can be overlaid on top of a VFR or IFR chart. Finally, synthetic vision takes the terrain view to the next level, with a 3D presentation of the surrounding area and flight data (including attitude) overlaid. It’s not quite a Garmin G1000 panel, but it’s impressive for a portable device. Note that for complete synthetic vision features, including pitch information, additional $100 annual subscription and an external AHRS sensor are required.

Verdict: ForeFlight and Garmin tie. ForeFlight’s overall ease of use is superior, and the new Route feature allows for powerful flight plan routing in flight. Garmin Pilot includes robust flight plan features just like a panel mount GPS, and the famous panel page looks gorgeous. WingX has some advanced features that aren’t available on other apps, but the interface is not as intuitive, and many of the unique features require an additional data subscription. For these reasons, we think it comes up just short.

Other features

ForeFlight Documents tab

Save and read a wide variety of documents with ForeFlight.

Beyond pre-flight briefings and in-flight navigation, these apps are also great for other tasks, like organizing publications and making calculations. These features aren’t the reason to buy one of these apps buy they’re a nice bonus.

  • ForeFlight has a powerful Documents feature, which makes it easy to find, download and view reference items right in the app. This is ideal for POHs, weight and balance data or FAA publications. Because this feature includes a catalog, finding documents is easy. There’s also a handy Scratchpad tab in ForeFlight that is perfect for copying clearances or ATIS information. Pilots can draw with their finger, or type in information.
  • Garmin probably has the least amount of features here, as the app emphasizes the core pre-flight and in-flight tools.
  • WingX also has a documents function, although it’s not quite as robust as ForeFlight’s version. One feature that is exclusive to WingX is its built-in E6B flight computer, which can really help when making performance calculations. There’s even an N-number search function.

Verdict: ForeFlight and WingX tie here. The Documents feature in ForeFlight is the most powerful, but the E6B features in WingX are a handy tool in flight.


Garmin Pilot app update screen

Keeping your charts updated with Garmin Pilot is as simple as tapping a button.

An unexciting–but incredibly important–feature is the ability to keep all of your charts updated with the tap of a button. This is a major benefit of the iPad, since you can always have the latest charts, even when you’re away from home. Spend some time understanding how your preferred app stays up to date.

  • ForeFlight leads the pack for simplicity here, and this is a big reason the app is so popular. Once you’ve selected the charts you want to keep updated, simply tap a button and walk away. New charts are downloaded and automatically made active as soon as they are valid. The app will let you download new charts up to four days early, so there’s no need for last-minute updates. ForeFlight  even prompts you on the home screen app icon to update your charts.
  • Garmin has a similar process to ForeFlight, although not quite as intuitive. To give them credit, they’ve recently streamlined the process and made some improvements here. For example, the app icon now notifies you when updates are available. One unique feature with Garmin is the option to choose areas of coverage by chart (e.g., the Cincinnati sectional), and not just state.
  • WingX also offers one button updating, so you can tap a button and walk away. One complaint here is that there is less detail about what is being updated. Whereas Garmin and ForeFlight show which states/charts are being downloaded, WingX just shows a single status bar for all Sectional/Low/Hi charts. It’s not a major problem, but a difference in philosophy. The options for areas of coverage are also different for approach charts–select either the entire US, 1/3rd sections of the US or an individual state. This isn’t quite as flexible as Garmin or ForeFlight, where you can pick state-by-state coverage areas depending on your flying.

Also consider how often the app itself is updated. This is an under-appreciated benefit of the iPad for aviation–the app you buy is not static. Most app developers are constantly improving their product and adding enhancements. Examples of these updates include ADS-B weather recently coming to ForeFlight and Garmin, or Track Up coming to WingX. The best news is these upgrades are almost always free. Just tap on the App Store app on your iPad and select the Updates tab. It’s like Christmas for your iPad.

Verdict: ForeFlight beats Garmin by a hair for overall ease up updating.


Stratus portable ADS-B weather receiver

The Stratus portable ADS-B receiver works with ForeFlight.

All of these apps work well with external GPSs like the Garmin GLO, Dual XGPS150 and Bad Elf. These devices are nearly universal, and a great investment for any serious iPad pilot. But in the last year, the number of new accessories has exploded, especially with the popularity of subscription-free ADS-B weather.

  • ForeFlight–the big news here is Stratus, a wireless weather and GPS receiver that ForeFlight helped to design. It’s totally portable and receives the FAA’s free ADS-B weather. Because ForeFlight helped to design Stratus, it’s seamlessly integrated with the app for a great in-flight experience. The device can be mounted out of the way, with all status monitoring done through the app. Stratus does not show traffic at this time.
  • Garmin–it’s been a busy summer for Garmin. First, they announced their brand new GLO GPS, a Bluetooth receiver that boasts a 12-hour battery and fast lock-on times. Then, just a week later the company introduced the GDL 39, a GPS and ADS-B receiver similar to Stratus. It delivers GPS position, ADS-B weather and even traffic to the Garmin Pilot app. This is an impressive product, and while ADS-B traffic is fairly limited right now, the presentation (with Garmin’s TargetTrend) is the best of the bunch. The GDL 39 also allows for the radar to be animated. One difference from Stratus (besides the traffic) is that a battery is not included standard, so it requires a cigarette plug. A snap-on battery is an option.
  • WingX–this app wins hands-down for integrating with the most accessories, including multiple ADS-B receivers and even Zaon portable traffic systems. ADS-B options include devices from SkyRadar, Dual, Clarity and others. This is great because pilots have the option to choose the receiver they prefer, and the variety of prices and features is wide. The downside is that, in contrast to Garmin and ForeFlight, the integration isn’t quite as complete and seamless.

Verdict: Too soon to say. ForeFlight integrates beautifully with Stratus and popular GPSs, but offers fewer options. WingX supports the most accessories, but the experience can vary from device to device. Garmin’s GLO and GDL 39 announcements have given their app a real boost. This market is changing quickly, so stay tuned.


The price of these apps is surprisingly low on the list of things to worry about. That’s because each of these apps is a tremendous value, especially when compared to a portable GPS or paper charts. You can easily save over $1000 with an iPad and one of these three apps. Each app works the same way: download the free app and then buy an annual subscription:

  • ForeFlight–$74.99/year for the Basic package, which includes all charts for the entire US (sectionals, IFR hi/lo en route, approach plates, A/FD pages). The Pro package, $149.99, includes everything from the Basic package, and adds geo-referenced approach plates and airport diagrams (shows your airplane on the map, when GPS is available). Note that both plans show your airplane on sectionals and IFR en route charts–the Pro only adds geo-referencing to approach plates and airport diagrams. There’s also an option for Canadian IFR en route charts and approach plates, which is $149.99 additional.
  • Garmin–this is structured much like ForeFlight, with a $99.99 standard subscription plan that includes all charts, and a $149.99 Pro plan that adds geo-referenced approach plates and taxiway diagrams. Garmin is running a special right now so those plans are only $49.99 and $129.99/year for a limited time.
  • WingX–the base $99.99/year package includes all charts, plus terrain and geo-referenced airport diagrams. The $174.99/year package adds geo-referenced approach charts. For $99.95/year in addition to a chart subscription, WingX adds Synthetic Vision; and fuel prices from (accessible in flight) are $29.95/year. For $299.99/year you can get it all.

Editorial comments

We’ve covered a lot of ground here, and some of it may seem overwhelming. Beyond all the flashy features and new accessories, though, some more boring considerations should be at the top of your list. The most important feature of any app, in our opinion, is ease of use. After all, the most powerful app is useless if you don’t know how to use it. These apps are maturing, and as they do, the features are becoming similar. But it’s the way those features are implemented that matters. Much of this decision is personal opinion, so the right app for you is the one you are comfortable with.

Two other things to consider when choosing an app: customer support and reliability. There will come a time when you need help from the app developer, whether it’s help with a new feature or changing your subscription. If they are responsive and helpful, it can make a big difference, so ask around and find out what kind of service other pilots are getting. Reliability is obvious, but it’s critical. You simply can’t tolerate repeated app crashes during critical phases of flight.

Final tip

With all that information in mind, how do you make the choice? It’s actually quite easy: Try before you buy! Each of these apps offers a free trial (OK, WingX is $0.99) that shows off all the main features. Get all three of them and go flying. Only you can decide which app works for you.

For more information, follow one of the links: ForeFlight Mobile, Garmin Pilot, WingX Pro7.

What do you think?

Tell us your experience–which app do you prefer and why? Add your comments below.

298 replies
  1. Paul Qualls
    Paul Qualls says:

    I used to love foreflight. But when WingX Pro added course up, I tried it and never went back. I will reconsider foreflight if they ever add course up to their features. Also, foreflight centers your aircraft. Flying upside down on the screen when headed south with a half screen of stuff that is behind me isn’t terribly helpful.

      • Paul Qualls
        Paul Qualls says:

        No, that’s an awful solution. It should be course up like Garmin and WingX. Along with 95% of all aviation specific gps’s out there.

      • Joel
        Joel says:

        Uhhh. No. Problem NOT solved since all of the identifiers, runways, and text will be upside down. Problem exacerbated.

          • Paul Qualls
            Paul Qualls says:

            Well, then you have never used course up on WingX Pro.. all the written info is rotated so that it is QUITE EASY to read. You should try WingX and see how superior to Foreflight prior to commenting again. Sorry, but Track up (as a choice) as well as Synthetic vision has Foreflight beat hands down, and I AM a FULL subscriber to both apps.

    • Brock
      Brock says:

      Let me be clear up front by stating I have no real preference in any of these apps and certainly don’t work for, or favor any of them. I use a iPhone stuck to a yoke with hook & loop and my car charger in the cigar lighter in a Cessna 150 ~20 hours a month. My baseline is a Garmin 196, VOR, and a sectional. First of all the iphone works anywhere in the plane except the floor under my feet (impressive). I used a tablet and placed it over the sun visor which turned out to be an awesome location and no special stuff needed to attach it. I simply folded the cover backwards and hung it like a towel over a rack… After 10 flight hours with Garmin Pilot on both iphone and tablet, I have to say I am not as impressed as I expected to be. To be fair, there was more of a learning curve with the Garmin than I anticipated. The tablet was useless without wi-fi, and the phone kepps reception 95% of the time, so I use the phone alone now. Garmin Pilot can can un-file with DUATS, can’t say the same with Foreflight. My very first Garmin observations are that the Sectional charts have poor resolution, they are not as accurate as I expected (in some cases, 3 miles off (in flight). Garmin does not have an extended centerline w/ numbers for runways which really is unacceptable. After downloading Foreflight and WingX and chair flying them both, I have to admit, I am more impressed with the initial interface. Maybe the learning curve with Garmin made the interface seem more intuitive for the other two… More to follow after some flight time with all three. All of these aps are astonishing and deserve ample credit and appreciation. I appreciate all that write and keep this dialog open.

      • Brock
        Brock says:

        Update! I have about 10 hours with FF and WX in the C-150 and learned a lot. My flying environment is LAX and a new TFR almost hourly due to fires and half a dozen permanent ones. WX Synthetic vision is a cool feature but not as valuable as I anticipated. I fly in southern CA and am surrounded by 2 mountain ranges and an ocean. I thought Synthetic vision would have been more valuable. The real value is terrain, airspace and runway (view). These 3 choices are the sweet-spot for WX. I add flight rules for planning purposes and this is a powerful combination of info. FF terrain is absolutely unacceptable. It is blurry and almost useless. I have a reminder to down load 325M for Canada that will not go away. This one reason alone is enough NOT to buy FF. However the weather feature is superior to WX and GP. The cloud detail is dead accurate all the time. I do like the less-is-more screen display. The route function simply stated is almost useless. Changing routes on the go is way too much work to be of value. This is where GP has them beat hand down GP uses a rubber band function that is awesome. In the end I may stick with GP due to the ease in changing routes on the fly with ease. Very tough call…

  2. Tony
    Tony says:

    Being that this is a “Sporty’s” written article and they sell accessories to be used with Foreflight it is no wonder why it was favored more than the other two.

    • John Zimmerman
      John Zimmerman says:

      Tony, we sell all three apps. We also sell GPSs that work with all 3 apps. We sell the Stratus, but also the GDL 39 for Garmin Pilot and we’re adding the Dual ADS-B receiver for WingX. There is no incentive on our end to pick one over another.

      This article is written purely from the perspective of active pilots who fly with all three apps on a daily basis. A lot of this article is fact, some is obviously opinion. We’d be happy to hear your thoughts as well.

      • HF
        HF says:

        I didn’t think the article was slanted towards ForeFlight. I am a ForeFlight user and love it, but I am interested in WingX as well. I found the article to be balanced compared to what I know about the two systems and the options available. I thought it was a good article and fair.

    • Joel
      Joel says:

      I disagree. I was expecting a heavy slant towards Foreflight, but I didn’t read it. I think the evaluation was extremely fair. I didn’t necessarily agree with everything I read, but I was VERY pleasantly surprised at how fairly Sporty’s provided this evaluation. Kudos to them for excellent work!

    • JoeP
      JoeP says:

      I have to agree. I was hoping Sportys would be more open, but I was clearly disappointed in that they are so biased towards Foreflight. The accessories was a perfect example. Although they said WingX was “hands down” the better one, they didn’t get the final vote. Come on guys, lets be objective here.
      I can only presume Foreflight has a marketing contract with Sportys

      • John Zimmerman
        John Zimmerman says:

        JoeP, there’s no doubt that WingX integrates with the MOST accessories. But that doesn’t necessarily make it the winner. I’m not saying WingX works badly, but just working with a lot of devices isn’t enough to win. How it works matters too.

        • Dr. Beeman
          Dr. Beeman says:

          LOL. You’re right on, Zimmerman. An app that integrates with MOST accessories is fine…for a commercial bus driver. But for me, an old, slow pilot flying an old, slow ship, simple down-and-dirty stuff like clear approach paths and and a holy-shit button are REAL important. I’m a steam gauge jock trying to lever myself into the Glass Cockpit arena. You guys did good for me. Thanks. Dr. Robert Beeman.

      • Wayne
        Wayne says:

        Curious why everyone ignores Flight Guide iEFB (from the little Brown Book people). I’ve been using it for quite a while and like it as much as I do ForeFlight. Any chance of reviewing Flight Guide?

    • Randy
      Randy says:

      Amen – I disagreed with every Sporty’s opinion. I’ve flow in heavy IFR conditions in the Pacific Northwest. The terrain and track up give you exactly what the others should and don’t. I’ve used forflight and the only advantage to Wingx is that most people started with it. Its to bad that a bunch of entry level buyers will stay with foreflight instead of a much superior split screen, feature at your fingre tips, built in terrain, wingx pro.

  3. David Wyatt
    David Wyatt says:

    Well, at least you disclosed you are biased. WingX deserves a better review than what you are wanting to provide, but your business ties are well reflected here. I use WingX with the Zaon XRX and it works great, and Updates – since the downloads are all an easy one-click, they should be equal, but you conclude they aren’t. Big buttons for turbulence are great, but you have to hit back. Waaah. Split screens are great, but you only have 2 eyes.

    Verdict: Unreasonably biased. Share the Final Tip and not your weak verdict conclusions.

  4. Captain Ed
    Captain Ed says:

    I think WingX used to lead, but Garmin and ForeFlight have really stepped it up in the last year. WingX seems dated to me, especially compared to Garmins setup. I use ForeFlight and love it, but Garmin looks like a potential option. Track up isn’t a big deal for me, but I’m sure it’s coming soon.

  5. Charley Valera
    Charley Valera says:

    Foreflight is amazing. The updates are almost weekly. I’m sure they all will be similar even more whenever the dust finally settles. This is a great time to be in aviation.
    It’s unfortunate to waste this space writing negatively about Sporty’s. Thanks for all you guys do! The IPad newsletter goes out to the 135 members of our association.
    I’d like foreflight to offer split screen, small TFR pop ups, small frequency pop ups, heading up, traffic, and a large coffee with cream and sugar.


    • Mike Walsh
      Mike Walsh says:

      I agree, lay off Sporty’s. I think the article offered credit where credit was due. I’m sure all these apps will likey all offer the same or similar features as time goes by. This really is a personal preference thing. I use Foreflight and love it, but I’ve been playing with Garmin to see how it feels. Currently I find Foreflight to be easier to use…and that’s probably because I’ve been using it for a couple years now. I’ve thought about switching to Garmin for a year to force myself to learn it thoroughly. Then make my own comparison.

    • Randy
      Randy says:

      Amazing that all the things you’d like to have are in wingx and work great. This brings to mind the old lotus 123 users that wouldn’t change to excell because it was feature rich…shoot everybody uses excel now. Wingx will be the winner – there’s just too many rich features for the quick changes that come up in tight situations already installed.

    • EFIS 85 pilot
      EFIS 85 pilot says:

      Good comment – thanks for clearing up a point.
      I was starting to think I was the only one hearing this with hurting ears. I think we need to remember we need to read an opinion/article and take it for just that. Research for your own use – if there is a slant then take it for that. Ever heard of Fox news?

      • wifmtv
        wifmtv says:

        Thanks for the laugh. we have 4 stations with a bias that is liberal(ABC,CBS,NBC,CNN) and 1 station conservative (FOX) I guess its not right that 1 out of 5 is an alternative. Lets revel in the fact great competition gave us 3 nice choices. now if we could only get the journalists to actually research and provide the info and let the public make up its own mind.

  6. Charles Lloyd
    Charles Lloyd says:

    The answer for me is “it depends.”
    ForeFlight’s new edit section on the map page is great. You can insert, delete with ease. The Altitude select is a ++ addition giving time and burn at various altitudes for your selection.
    I recently flew a trip out of Las Vegas to the north past Salt Lake City. The routing feature to dodge all the restricted areas and MOAs was a big help.

    On the other hand I am in the process of a 30 day eval with Garmin Pilot and like one feature big time. That is the ease of selecting STARS and SIDS to specific intersections.
    The GDL 39 announcement provides an advantage for ADS-B in traffic for a reasonable price.

    The final decision depends on what you need and want in your cockpit.

    Competition is giving us good options to choose.

  7. Dan Telfair
    Dan Telfair says:

    The evaluation of current iPad flying apps is a moving target, and impossible to say which is “best” today, much less which will be “best” tomorrow. I love Foreflight Pro with Stratus, but that is just my “druthers”. I have not tried Garmin or WingX, mainly because I jumped at Foreflight when I first compared features. To me, it’s all about ease of use, timeliness and completeness of information. When all is said and done, ain’t it great to have three really good systems to choose from!?! (This is written by one who began flying fifty years ago with an alcohol compass and a Texaco roadmap as primary and only means of navigation. ADF was high tech and VOR was only for the rich.)

  8. Jonathan Levy
    Jonathan Levy says:

    I have used both Foreflight and WingX for the past year. Initially I found Foreflight easier to use for planning, and WingX for in-flight use. Based on recent major improvements, and me getting more familiar with the systems, I now use WingX nearly exclusively. The issue mentioned with the menu page does not exist in flight once you learn the operation. Everything is available directly from the moving map, and the ability to swap between pages, get to the correct chart, and choose what you want to see is easy, and much easier to use in turbulence. The other major plus is having the current course, actual corrected altitude, and ground speed at the top of the approach chart. I also find having terrain makes me more confident, and situationally aware. I am looking into the new Sagetech Clarity receivers that combine ADS-B weather, traffic, AHRS, and backup GPS into a single box that will let me add synthetic vision. I have found WingX support to be very responsive to my requests.

    I did try the Garmin early on, but my 30 days ended before they had it working well enough to evaluate.

    • Jeff Hebert
      Jeff Hebert says:

      I agree completely. I also use both Foreflight and WIng X. I use each for it’s best features. If Foreflight had the option of a Non-Sectional “Graphical” map like Wing X I would give the edge to Foreflight. But until then, I think Wing X is better. I have not tried Garmin yet.

  9. Kayak Jack
    Kayak Jack says:

    I looked at Foreflight, and it is a very good program. I have a Garmin Aera, and specifically went to iPad simply because I dislike Garmin’s high cost of constantly having to update – I felt cheated.

    I use WingX and like it fine, I bought a Bad Elf GPS antenna, and discarded it. My iPad’s GPS is more reliable without it. So far, I like WingX very much. I’ve added the Sky Radar receiver for ADS-B and like the add reassurance. I believe this is the least expensive route to ADS-B right now.

    Thanks for the product evaluation. As you stated, personal preference and bias do weigh in.

  10. Phil Voegeli
    Phil Voegeli says:

    I use WingX and love it. Very easy to use, intuitive and very user freindly in what can be a very busy invironment. The features and ADS-B with skyradar are very inexpensive and give terrific situational awareness. No matter which program, it does appear that the ipad with any one of these programs is a must for any pilot.

  11. Rick Dailey
    Rick Dailey says:

    Article sounds very biased. I use WingX and love it. Sure there is room for improvement. I have used Foreflight also. I wonder if the relationship between Sporty’s, Foreflight and Stratus has anything to do with the tilt on this article?

  12. Frank Christopher
    Frank Christopher says:

    This article is biased against Wing-X, and most are. There is clearly a behind the scenes interaction that skews the reviews. I have used all 3 apps in this article and now I only use Wing-X lately. You can tell the app is written by pilots because the in-flight usage is superior to Foreflight. And that is what counts, doesn’t it? The split screen and the track up features are fantastic capabilities that should give Wing-X the gold.
    The Garmin app is a strong contender. It’s interesting to see that company ‘eat their young’ because their iPad app is destroying their portable market. (But they don’t have a choice, change or die.) Technology is changing so many things in this economy, maybe it’s good for the consumer but at what cost?
    Wing-X all the way. They deserve a better review.

    • Carlos
      Carlos says:

      I don’t understand why all the WingX guys are so defensive. This seems like a very fair comparison with a few opinions thrown in. I don’t see them trashing WingX at all, and they say choose for yourself at the end. Relax everyone! All 3 are amazing.

  13. Trey
    Trey says:

    At Oshkosh this year year did you get a chance to see the new app coming from Seattle Avinoics? They said it would be available in about 60 days. The demo had split screens, good graphics with fast refresh. The app would update with your computer through the Cloud.

  14. Royce Edwards
    Royce Edwards says:

    It’s interesting that Sporty’s claims that the two apps on which it’s earns money through accessory sales, joint venture, or sales of other products by the same company are tied in quality. Whereas the app wherein they have no profit potential (wing x pro) they proclaim inferior. I have used both wing x pro and fore flight. I prefer wing x pro.

    • John Zimmerman
      John Zimmerman says:

      Royce, it’s fine for us to disagree–that’s exactly why we have this comments section. But the implication that there’s some big conspiracy here is flat wrong. We sell WingX in addition to the other 2 apps, and we sell lots of accessories that work with WingX. Profit potential is the same.

      Most of what’s presented here is fact, some of it is obviously opinion. But that’s what a lot of readers have been asking for, so we delivered. The conclusions were reached by talking to a wide range of pilots, many of whom have no affiliation with Sporty’s.

      Thanks for reading and for the comments.

  15. Kayak Jack
    Kayak Jack says:

    Opinions are like sphincters – everybody has one. When someone agrees with us, we tend to say something like, “You’re right!”, instead of just acknowledging agreement. Simple agreement doesn’t guarantee correctness – but it feels better than disagreement.

    Of course, in this case, had the author agreed with me, he would then have been right. ;=)

  16. Tom K
    Tom K says:

    It’s a matter of what you’re used to, I suppose. I like Garmin products, but – after briefly using Skycharts Pro, I opted for ForeFlight Pro. I had to relearn everything I thought I knew about using the iPad, but as I got farmiliar with ForeFlight, I grew to love it. Then, I purchased the Dual bluetooth GPS and find I use it more than the IFR KLN-94 on the panel.

  17. OmniaVidemus
    OmniaVidemus says:

    Ain’t competition great! I’ve tried all three and settled on Wing-X, but the comment that a review is like shooting at a moving target is right on. Each has exclusive features that I like, and they all upgrade regularly! My experience with the resident iPad GPS has been positive; on a recent four hour cross country in a Baron with my iPad in my lap, it was within one degree and two knots of the G430 without an external GPS. My next purchase will be ADS-B; with included WAAS GPS, I will not spend the extra money on my next iPad to get the internal GPS.

    • HF
      HF says:

      Well said. I didn’t understand all the bitterness in the comments. The review is spot on and fair and makes me want to give WingX another try now that I have a little more experience and I downloaded it today.

  18. Joel
    Joel says:

    Excellent review. I’m a WingX user (because I want my Zaon and ADS-B [coming soon]) both to work with my software at the same time. I have tried Foreflight and I like it a lot. I Didn’t care for Garmin. If FF linked my Zaon and my ADS-B it would be an option. Also, I shy away from proprietary products. FF went with Stratus. Stratus doesn’t work with any other SW, and FF doesn’t work with any other ADS-B device. In the short run, this is probably a good move because they were first to market. In the long run this model will hurt FF. WingX is going to support a host of ADS-B receivers and I think that will give them the edge over time.

    • Hilton
      Hilton says:


      You said: “Also, I shy away from proprietary products. FF went with Stratus. Stratus doesn’t work with any other SW, and FF doesn’t work with any other ADS-B device. In the short run, this is probably a good move because they were first to market.”

      Stratus were not first to market, far from it. We introduced ADS-B on WingX Pro7 in March 2011 (last year!), the link to our press release is below. WingX Pro7 now supports 10 ADS-B receivers (5 or 6 haven’t even been released yet such as Sagetech’s Clarity and the Bluetooth XGPS170). I guess we need to add a few more to win that Accessory Verdict though. 😉

      Press Release (March 2011)

      ANN Coverage (March 2011)

      Latest FreeFlight XPLORER Press Release

      But how do you choose?

      At Airventure we were asked which is best. Fortunately the answer is easy – it’s the one that satisfies your requirements. Sounds like a cop out, but it isn’t. Let’s see how this works, you want Bluetooth, yes or no. If yes, get the XGPS170, if not then do you want dual channel (1090 MHz – typically jet traffic), assume not, we’re down to about 4. Do you want AHRS for WingX Pro7’s Synthetic Vision and/or Attitude Indicator? If yes, get the Clarity (or Skyradar plus Levil’s AHRS), if no they do you want a battery powered one or would you prefer to plug it in – your answer gives you either the Single-Channel Skyradar receiver or the Single-Channel Clarity. Oh, if you own the aircraft and want to mount it, get FreeFlight’s XPLORER. So it is much easier than you think. WingX Pro7 lets *you* choose from $585 to $1177.

      Oh, and WingX Pro7 was not the first to market either, the Skyradar app was there before us. I don’t know for sure if they were first or not.


      • Joel
        Joel says:

        Good point. You were first with ADS-B. No denying that. My point was that FF was first with what most people would call a “workable” ADS-B solution. By this I mean the “one box” solution. I think most would agree they beat everyone to market. This has certainly given FF the most momentum. I think the open nature of your architecture will win out in the end. Of course I also think that FF will open up their system to allow for the other ADS-B “one box” solutions you mentioned. Soon, the fact that I can use my Zaon wirelessly and a Dual ADS-B via Bluetooth simultaneously with WingX is going to give me everything I need. Thanks for making Wing X so great!

  19. REID
    REID says:

    I Flew with both foreflight and WING-X for a year and my choice by the end was clear: Wing-X is better if you are actually using it in flight (vs planning on the ground). Just compare the readability of the filght-plan info (ETA, etc) on the MAP page…. A very under-appreciated feature of Wing-X is the ability to display ONLY airspace info and terrain (like a G430). I really dont need a picture of my airplane on a VFR sectional for situational awareness. What I want is to see are all the airports, navaids, airspace rings, and SUAs (including TFRs). That plus the split screen for chart viewing made up my mind. Don’t get me wrong – Foreflight is great; I simply prefer Wing-X. I have not tried the Garmin product. Fly safe!!

  20. Hilton
    Hilton says:


    I’m Hilton, founder of Hilton Software (WingX Pro7). Thanks to Sportys for doing an app comparison and thanks to those who have replied. My post here is not necessarily to disagree with the review, but rather to help fill in some of the gaps in the review which may have been omitted possibly for space reasons.

    I won’t be commenting on the perceived bias of Sportys about which we receive many emails, calls, etc. I’ll be withholding judgement on this topic and leave it up to the reader/consumer, but I understand the perception out there given that the Sportys name appears on the Stratus box, Sportys had the booth next to FF at SnF, Sportys latest ADS-B webinar focussed exclusively on FF*, Sportys email blasts cover FF/Stratus extensively (today’s has FF/Stratus as the Hot Product), Sporty’s latest Fly-In featured a FF seminar, out of the five headlines on currently two are promoting FF, etc. We are hearing these comments from customers a lot lately, but as John Z points out, Sportys does sell all three apps and does add most of what we send them to ipadpilotnews. Anyway, in the email announcing this review Sportys admits that this review is “completely biased”. 😉

    App Structure
    This main menu has a little legacy in it. Before the moving map came along, these functions were mostly exclusive of one another. However, as Jonathan points out, most of this functionality has now been incorporated into the Moving Map so during flight you really are not going back to the main menu at all; e.g. you can get the A/FD, charts etc all on the Moving Map page so no need to switch.

    Pre-flight Planning
    The review left out that WingX Pro7 can plan your course from A to B while avoiding terrain, airspace – we certainly forgive the reviewers on this one – ‘my bad’ as they say, we need to do a better job of making this powerful feature more obvious.

    In-Flight Use
    Let’s tackle ADS-B first. We introduced ADS-B over a year ago at SnF 2011 (the tornado made for a great demo, wish I would have taken a screen shot – damn!), WingX Pro7 now supports *ten* ADS-B receivers including options for both single and dual channel (978 + 1090), AHRS built-in, WAAS GPS, Bluetooth and WiFi, portable or mount in the aircraft etc – we work with Skyradar, Sagetech, DUAL, FreeFlight Systems and more on the way. This gives the pilots the choice (i.e. not tied to one app, one ADS-B receiver, and one vendor) of price points from $599 up to $1100. WingX Pro7 has significant features not found in the others including Synthetic Vision, our patent-pending split screen, Track Up, Airspace Notifications, obstacles, Attitude Indicator, Passive RADAR Altimeter, ADS-B traffic and much more. Heck, who knows, we might add GPWS soon! 🙂 WingX Pro7 had geo-ref’s approach charts long before the others and WingX Pro7 includes geo-referencing on Airport Diagrams for free as part of the base subscription (Sportys did mention this in the review). Yes, WingX Pro7 has rubber-banding too. And did you know that you can now tap on an intersection or VOR right on an approach chart and add it to your route? (we added that from SnF booth feedback)

    Let me address this issue of UI intuitiveness. Firstly we have videos built right into WingX Pro7 under the Help button, on our web page and on YouTube. Now some might say, “well I shouldn’t have to watch a video”. The nice thing with WingX Pro7 is that we have packed so much into a minimal UI that gets out of your way. For example, tap on the GPS info in the bottom-left and WingX Pro7 gives you a position report, tap on the Passive RADAR Altimeter to switch between MSL altitude and AGL (yes really, AGL!), tap on a SID/STAR to rotate it, tap on the timer to start/stop it, etc. So yes, we have those videos, but the UI is drop-dead easy to learn if you have 2 minutes. Let me summarize, in single view mode, View 1 displays the type of view (e.g. sectional, IFR low, multi-page Notepad with Undo etc) and Options 1 overlays things on View 1 including ADS-B NEXRAD, obstacles, airspaces, dynamic terrain. Easy. You want a split view, just tap on View 2 to select the type of view (as above). The Screen button switches between single and split views, the Swap button swaps the two views whether in single or split screen. That’s the UI! Oh BTW, WingX Pro7 has a cool search function – try search for Freznoe and it’ll find Fresno – trust me, I need this! 🙂 This verdict I have to strongly disagree with, I don’t think it should even be a close call, but that’s me.

    Other Features
    Yes!!! WingX Pro7 scores a (tied) Verdict for its E6B! 🙂

    Here is another Verdict that might stoke the fires of Sportys’ perceived bias. So let me understand this, because WingX Pro7’s data is about 4 times smaller and we don’t have to force you to select the exact 23 states you’ll need, it is ‘not a problem’ and we *lose* points? BTW: Did you know that all the sectionals, IFR low/high, approach charts, and our high-resolution terrain is only 3GB? No problem running WingX Pro7 on a 16GB iPad.

    Another crazy verdict (IMHO). WingX Pro7 had ADS-B first and now interfaces with *ten* ADS-B receivers, AHRS units (for SV and free AI), Zaon traffic, etc. FF only interfaces with Stratus (BTW: we asked the Stratus folks if we could interface with their receiver and they said no, so that remains FF/Sportys proprietary – isn’t open better for consumers?), and now Garmin interfaces with their proprietary GDL39 (yes, we asked them too). “Too soon to say”? 🙂 One more thing, the review for WingX Pro7 says: “The downside is that, in contrast to Garmin and ForeFlight, the integration isn’t quite as complete and seamless.” Really? Just select the appropriate network in Settings/Network (required to do in all apps) and WingX Pro7 will magically find the appropriate ADS-B receiver, AHRS, Zaon, etc; i.e. there is *nothing* to do or set in WingX Pro7.

    I totally agree with Sportys on this one: “The price of these apps is surprisingly low on the list of things to worry about. That’s because each of these apps is a tremendous value, especially when compared to a portable GPS or paper charts. You can easily save over $1000 with an iPad and one of these three apps. Each app works the same way: download the free app and then buy an annual subscription.” Note that WingX Pro7 now has a $66/yr option (three year subscription for $199).


    * I didn’t watch the webinar, but it was billed as only covering FF/Stratus. I have watched and enjoyed previous Sportys webinars.

    • Dan Donovan
      Dan Donovan says:

      You said you weren’t going to comment about the perceived bias, but half you comment is about bias. Let’s stick to the facts.

      • Hilton
        Hilton says:


        Everything in that paragraph is fact. My point is that given those facts, it is understandable that there is a perceived bias. For example we hear “How can Sportys not be biased when their name is on ForeFlight’s ADS-B receiver?” I’m just stating the obvious.


    • Tim Wendel
      Tim Wendel says:

      Wow. Sounds like WingX could use a hug. I liked the opinions of the author, and the reviewers that posted here. I’m glad someone finally posted a good compare between all these apps. With so many options, features, pros/cons, it helps hearing a pilot’s perspective.

      Side note: I was going to try all three, but I think it’s not worth the $0.99 after the founder of WingX has a three page melt down on a blog site.

      • Joel
        Joel says:

        Why are you characterizing the author of the SW defending his product and touting its benefits as a “melt down”? Let’s keep the hyperbole down to a dull roar here. I am a WingX (and Foreflight) user and I actually learned a couple of things I didn’t know about WingX. I really appreciate the author actually taking time to update this forum…

    • Joel
      Joel says:

      I’ve been using WingX for quite some time. In your posting you said:

      “…WingX Pro7 can plan your course from A to B while avoiding terrain, airspace.”

      I have never seen this. I looked for it just now, and still cannot find it. Can you point me to where this feature is described?

    • John Trautschold
      John Trautschold says:

      Hilton – thanks so much for setting the record straight here. Your post certainly spent the required amount of time discussing the perceived bias, but in general spent much more time bringing the people reading these messages the truth about your app. I too learned a few new tricks about Wing X that I wasn’t aware of – such as the built-in training videos. I’m going to check that out right now!

      Initially I evaluated all three and all for the full one month period. Honestly, the split screen and terrain awareness is what sold me on Wing X Pro 7, but I was oh-so close to giving that up for the Garmin app because I really, really like the HSI display (which I hope that Hilton eventually adds to Wing X). However, during my extensive evaluation of Garmin, all it did was crash. If it crashed once during a one hour flight, it crashed a half dozen times. That, to me, is unacceptable. And if it didn’t crash, there were times when it took the app up to 30 seconds just to switch pages. Sorry, no matter how cool the instrument display is, an app that constantly crashes just doesn’t cut it for me.

      Everyone talks about how intuitive Foreflight is, but honestly I didn’t find it that intuitive. Perhaps if I’d actually purchased the app and played with it for more than the 30 day trial period I’d get past what I considered to be too many button pushes. I know that goes against what this reviewer said here, but that’s my opinion for whatever it’s worth.

      With the drop in price to $66 per year (unfortunately I signed up for a 1-year sub right before they announced this price decrease) I think Wing X Pro is the absolute leader here. I haven’t yet subscribed to Synthetic Vision (I live in flat-land Illinois so it’s not much of a concern at the moment) but that feature alone (which I did fully evaluate during the initial 30 days) is eye-popping fantastic! We are thinking of retiring in Arizona or New Mexico and I guarantee it’ll come in handy there. In the meantime, the free terrain awareness feature works and works well. It’s always fun to see the screen turn yellow, then red and I approach my home airport for landing, knowing that if something should happen, terrain awareness is there protecting my butt.

      And Hilton is dead-on when he discusses the number of devices he supports for ADS-B, AHRS, external GPS, etc. I spent a great deal of time at AirVenture this year checking out all of them. I’m impressed. In the meantime, I’m waiting for Aviation Consumer to do a comprehensive review of the devices before purchasing anything. (I also suspect that the prices will drop within the next year.) The great thing about Wing X is that I’ll be able to choose which device I want to purchase. I won’t be locked in to a specific device or two as is the case with the other two. And have you seen the Wing X attitude indicator feature (only active with AHRS)? Wow! What a great backup that would be should my aircraft lose vacuum or experience some other type of failure with the primary instruments!

      In the end, what’s great is that all of these companies offer a 1-year subscription. Since the apps are basically free, if at the end of the year you wish to switch from Wing X, or Foreflight, or Garmin, or whomever, to whomever, just switch! If Foreflight ends up in a year coming out with some eye-popping feature you’ve just got to have, switch to them. Same for Garmin. Same for Wing X. You aren’t locked into a system forever.

      Isn’t competition great?

  21. Michael Crovello
    Michael Crovello says:

    I agree all 3 apps are amazing.
    I bought WingX for 3 big reasons:
    1. The track up view orientation option
    2. The ability to work with the Zaon traffic products
    3. The split screen display. (I always have the ipad in landscape orientation to give me yoke clearance in Cessnas.) I guess I have the seat more forward than most.
    Bonus feature I use all the time: the position report component of the gps location. This is very handy in radio calls.

  22. Ronnie Craft
    Ronnie Craft says:

    I use WingX and Foreflight … Foreflight for preflight (mostly weather) and WingX in flight. Both are good, but in different ways.

    SynVis is DaBomb!!!

  23. Ronnie Craft
    Ronnie Craft says:

    One more comment. The new iPad3 will overheat running a moving map app. Mine did an overheat turn off (yellow triangle) twice on a cross country flight. I have gone back to my iPad2. Love the color of the iPad3, love the crisp display, hate the yellow triangle.

    • Hilton
      Hilton says:


      I haven’t had my iPad 3 overheat yet, but it gets noticeably hotter than the iPad 2. When we’re in the booth and someone asks me iPad 2 versus ‘iPad 3’ I have them touch the back. Also, I find that the extra weight of the iPad 3, although very small, adds just enough to make handling of it more obvious. For me, the iPad 2 is still my personal device. Charging it also seems to take longer which I would expect since it has a larger battery. I should run a test and report back.


  24. Ron Simonton
    Ron Simonton says:

    I have both FF and WingX (and Skycharts), but use WingX almost exclusively — I intend to keep the basic subscription to FF because some of its features, like “documents” is outstanding, and the downloads happen much faster and with no “time out” that happen with WingX. The split screen feature in WingX and the fact that I have many choices for ADS-B receivers are huge pluses. The same ADS-B receivers that link to WingX will also support my iFly 720.

  25. Bill Mattson
    Bill Mattson says:

    I have both Wing X and Fore Flight. I have been using both for about 8 months. I bought both to see which one I like better. I plan my trip with Fore Flight, but I do like the Track up and I really like the Runways that I can extend out in Wing X. I fly VFR so I haven’t needed the Geo Approach plates yet.
    Both are good programs!

  26. David Sanders
    David Sanders says:

    I just flew from Calif to Miss 9hrs each way this weekend. I used WingX inflight, which I feel is that BEST. However, Foreflight is so much better with Flight Planning that I used that for my preflight and filing. One advantage of WingX not mentioned is the download/update speeds. The compression of data being downloaded is so efficient then any other flight software. Having to update full set of charts every 28 days only for the USA takes 20 min, other products take several hours if they even complete. Just a thought.

  27. Jim Grant
    Jim Grant says:

    Thanks for the comprehensive review of these 3 apps. Not an easy thing to do, since the features for each app keep changing. The free enterprise system is working its magic in this market segment.

    You neglected to mention support for XM weather in your review. There are a lot us out here who have been using XM Weather for years and want to continue to use it during the iPad transition, while ADS-B is still in its infancy. So far WingX has talked the talk about XM support, but not yet walked the walk. Foreflight and Garmin both support XM very well, although the current Garmin release only allows one map overlay at a time, rather than the multiple simultaneous overlays supported by WingX and Foreflight.

    I completely agree that users should take advantage of the trial offers to acquaint themselves with each app’s features. Don’t let blowhards (myself included) make the choice for you.

  28. Wayne W. Wibby
    Wayne W. Wibby says:

    These comments are wonderful and Sporty’s should be congratulated for giving us this opportunity to share all our experiences. I’m an off road SuperCub flyer and have been using Garmin and Fore Flight and am now anxious to look at Wing X. Thanks Sporty’s and thanks guys for sharing. WWW

  29. Rick A
    Rick A says:

    I got FF for my iPad1 (wifi only) when I got back into flying a few months ago. I am happy with it and really like the Docs Section where I have stored all the POH for the five types of airplanes our club has and uses.

    As a long time map collector, a Track Up feature just is “wrong” to me since decades of looking at maps with North up has sort of hard wired my brain to see the map that way. No problem orienting myself on a moving map with North up but I seem to get disoriented witha track up.

    If FF offered such a feature, I am sure some would jump on it but personally, it would gather electronic dust for me.

    One thing I have seen on WingX, I think, is extended runway centerlines on the Sectionals That is a very nice feature to help orient me when flying VFR. Not enough to make the switch but I have sent a note to FF to include this as a feature in a future edition.

    To tell the truth, this is kind of like cars with the top dogs being Ford v Chevy (FF v WingX) with some going for Chrysler (Garmin) 😉

    Thanks to Sporty’s for the comparison and to all who added comments.


    • Paul Qualls
      Paul Qualls says:

      >>As a long time map collector, a Track Up feature just is “wrong” to me since decades of looking at maps with North up has sort of hard wired my brain to see the map that way. No problem orienting myself on a moving map with North up but I seem to get disoriented witha track up.<<

      Yep.. and a lot of people liked B&W TVs, and a lot of people liked Tube TVs, and a lot of people liked to wait hours for food instead of using a microwave.. I think that if you used Track Up, you would see the benefit. Did you get angry when VORs were introduced for navigation?..


      • Rick A
        Rick A says:

        Actually, I like flying the F-14, C-17 and others I have had the pleasure of experiencing just as much as the Warrior I fly for fun. Doesn’t mean it is antique Like the Cardinal or Tube TV.

        Tried Track up on the iPad and didn’t like it so I apologize for my antediluvian attitude. Track up on the 530 is fine and that’s what I use.


        • Paul Qualls
          Paul Qualls says:

          keep using that buddy.. Hope it works well for you.. I’ll choose to have the CHOICE of north up or track up.. seems smart to be able to choose.


    • Hilton
      Hilton says:


      We could have introduced Track Up about a year earlier, but I really like north up and for whatever reason my brain has no problem figuring out what is left and right – perhaps too many years playing Snake on the Apple II. 🙂 Anyway, due to the sheer number of customer requests we added it a few months ago. Instead of simply rotating the VFR/IFR enroute chart, WingX Pro7 ensures that the airport, fix, and VOR identifiers as well as the VOR frequencies etc are always display right-side-up (we do this for the DG at the bottom too). On a trip from KRHV to the LA area it took me all of a few minutes to completely forget I was looking at an upside down sectional. I really like it a lot more than I thought I would. I do still prefer my approach charts north up so that I always know where that mountain is and I know while being maneuvered exactly where I am relative to the airport.

      Here’s an example:

      BTW: Note the required descent rate in yellow at the top. When you get within 10nm, it’ll even tell you which runway you’re lined up with! (I admit I have lined up with the wrong runway twice: once solo and once with a student, embarrassingly it was at the same airport both times!).


      • Tomas Prieto Baumann
        Tomas Prieto Baumann says:

        Hello Hilton,
        I am a 30 year experienced pilot in GA, FAA and JAA ATPs, started flying gliders and paragliders at age 15, today a PhD at Baja State University and owner of a research center for optics and illumination in Sonora, Mexico. We are working on a new cockpit concept for the 2020. Within that scoop, I am looking for support from a software developer like you.
        My request here may be early, but I am very interested in contacting you in the first half of next year. We have now just a conceptual idea of where we are going, and are focused on the Innovation of the Mexican airspace now, but will have more concrete requests by the first half of 2013. Please let me have your contact information.
        Let me also ask you,
        Have you worked on including Mexico Coverage as an option in your software ?
        Thank you in advance,
        Tomas Prieto

  30. Pete Kuhns
    Pete Kuhns says:

    The apps are great; its the hardware I’m concerned with.

    If Apple doesn’t come out with a 7″ iPad this September I’m jumping’ ship to Garmin and a Nexus 7. I love Foreflight but my iPad is just too damn big for the cockpit.

    • Paul Qualls
      Paul Qualls says:

      Are you flying a stick? It is a beautiful addition to my Cardinal’s available space..


  31. Kayak Jack
    Kayak Jack says:

    Another thought is – aren’t we extremely lucky to have so many good applications to discuss??!! A few years ago, we were still navigating using paper charts, and eyeballing the ground instead of the air out in front of us.

    Then the magic of GPS, now charts, GPS, iPad, WingX Foreflight. Were (doing you know what) in tall cotton. Thanks, capitalism and democracy!

  32. Angelo Zullo
    Angelo Zullo says:

    One feature not mentioned here that only Wing X has is the extended runway feature on the chart. You can also set how long it is extended. I find it very reassuring when getting pattern entry instructions to see those labeled clearly on the chart. It frees me to focus on other things during the descent. It was a significant factor that drove my switch from FF to Wing X.

  33. Charles Helleloid
    Charles Helleloid says:

    I started with Wing X one year ago and will renew soon as I so far do not have a good reason to consider switching. I appreciate this opportunity to learn from others. I have considerable experience on floats with difficult VFR and have always held my maps track up. My IFR experience is much more limited but only after reading the above did I realize that I have always dealt with approaches north up. I will be paying attention to see if there may be problems with this for me in the electronic age. Thanks Sportys!

      • Hilton
        Hilton says:


        We could easily rotate the approach charts too. Rotating the enroute charts and ensuring labels are right-side-up is a way more difficult problem and we’ve solved that.


        • Ted
          Ted says:

          I did not mean to imply that I wanted the charts rotated. I have spent so many years with printed plates that I don’t think I would be comfortable changing. (i guess I am a dinosaur 🙂

  34. Jeff
    Jeff says:

    WingX has terrain – one of the top three requirements of these programs! It doesn’t even get mentioned in the article. Very odd.

  35. Ted
    Ted says:

    I did a personal review about a year ago, installed the trial versions for 30 days, bought subscriptions for both to do a “one year trial”. I still use both. FF still has the edge for pre-flight work. especially with the availability of realtime satellite and radar overlays via the internet (wireless and cell phone)the new flight plan editing feature on the map is a major improvement.
    In the air, WingX still has the edge for the moving map display. I can have both the sectional and IFR maps showing at the same time. My co-pilot (aahhh, wife) likes the sectional while I am flying IFR. getting to the airport information is a snap and you don’t have to lose the maps while you do it. but I still go to FF to get the notams they are easier to find and all in one place.

    Since I do a lot of flying in the center of the US i have not gotten an ADSB receiver. The XM weather tied into my 496 still completes the weather picture. I am looking forward to having a complete ADSB system so that I can turn off my XM subscription.

    I am watching the market closely as things are changing very quickly and we (the aviation community) are being presented with new choices almost weekly. Very exciting.

  36. Kayak Jack
    Kayak Jack says:

    Ted sez, ” I am watching the market closely as things are changing very quickly and we (the aviation community) are being presented with new choices almost weekly. Very exciting.”

    We are very fortunate to be in this position. If Our aircraft were advancing as rapidly as these programs are, we’d be flying to the moon is short order.

    I use AOPA Fly Q for flight planning, along with WingX. Is anyone else using this too?

  37. RickG
    RickG says:

    I too would like to thank Sporty’s for a surprisingly unbiased review of these apps. When I saw the article title I expected nothing more than a subliminal (aka advertorial) sell for FF and Stratus given their relationship. Having tried all the solutions reviewed, I think Sporty’s did a great job in outlining the pros and cons.

    All three developers deserve kudos for their game-changing development efforts. On that level alone the guys at FF deserve much credit; they set the bar early on with the proper balance of features vs. benefits, and presented us with an innovative user-interface we’d never seen before. As an IT guy myself I’m thrilled they understand that long term success is not just about bells and whistles (as tempting as that is from a marketing standpoint), but about creating long term customer relationships. With competitive feature sets, this may be what many use as the decision factor at the end of the day. Many companies could learn much from FF’s unparalleled commitment and responsiveness to customer support.

    Yes … the rapid changing of these apps makes for an exciting time, but the next phase is not just software but hardware. With the release of the 7″ “Android” tablets for +- $249 (including the new Nexus 7 from Google), and apps that provide a good amount of functionality (Avilution & Garmin Pilot top the list here) it is just remarkable that 496s still sell on eBay for +- $1200. The possible release of the iPad “mini” this Fall will only add to the options.

    • Scott Best
      Scott Best says:

      I am the user of a Nexus 7 tablet running the Garmin Pilot application and have found both very functional. Since I use Garmin GPS gear in my panel, the interface is pretty straight-forward.

      That being said, I do accelerated IFR training and virtually every student has an IPad running FF or WingX. I have gotten pretty literate on both of those systems as well. They are all good apps and it boils down to pilot preference. I am considering getting an IPad2 for the flexibility of using more full-featured apps as well duplication of Garmin Pilot, which I can install on two devices with my subscription. The IPad2 seems the best platform for the apps and I can get one now from Apple refurbished for only $319, less than an IPad Mini.

  38. Jack Shackelford
    Jack Shackelford says:

    How about backing off the conspiracy-based criticism of Sporty’s. I appreciate the lead role they have taken on IPad use in the cockpit. Keeps me from having to spend hours playing around with 3 complex applications.

  39. Kayak Jack
    Kayak Jack says:

    This subject, and the treatment of it, is obviously “a bit controversial”. Product shoot-outs are somewhat of a booby trap to begin with; objectivity is sometimes difficult to achieve and maintain.

    At the outset, the author admitted some bias. Many readers really felt that it was weighted. Maybe future shoot-out reports of other gear could have more than one evaluator – say, three or four, and utilize a grid of features where each rater scores a feature with a simple number, say 1 through 5. Then, after the grid, each rater present a short narrative of their thoughts and evaluation.

    A format such as that eases an individual off the griddle, and shares a wider variety of inputs.

  40. Stacy Sherman
    Stacy Sherman says:

    Good article. I do still think that Sporty’s is biased towards foreflight. I get the catalog and the newsletters and it’s all about FF.

    I compared FF an WingX myself and it was an extremely difficult choice! I liked the FF UI much better as well as the documents feature.

    I ended up choosing WingX because I like how the airports and waypoints stand out on the map and I liked the terrain feature. Those two things did it for me.

    I figured I could eventually learn the WingX UI. I’m sure the UI is probably faster once you learn all the tricks. In my experience though, most pilots are not techies and are not willing to learn techie tricks.

    I have the iPad 3 and it does overheat in a low wing with the sun shining on it. I’ve realized I just can’t have it on my knee in the sun in a low wing.

  41. Mark white
    Mark white says:

    Still waiting on Hilton at wingx to give us xm users a timeline for xm support. At sun n fun he said he was close. Now 4 month later we are still waiting. Been using wing x for the last year And I think it is great in the cockpit. My subscription just ran out. Holding off on renewing until xm is supported. Now using the last few months of my foreflight. Hoping to just use wing x in the future if they step up and give us xm

  42. Kayak Jack
    Kayak Jack says:

    Have you thought of SkyRadar receiver at $599, then receive ADS-B for free? That was the route I went, instead of XM. Just a thought.

    • Ted
      Ted says:

      The main problem right now is that ADS-B is only available on the coasts. the center of the USA is still lacking. The last time I looked the FAA is saying that the system will be complete sometime in 2013.

      I am watching the H/W offerings for each of the software packages (WingX, FF, Garmin) and will pick an ADSB provider when the mid continent gap is filled.

  43. Bob Brown
    Bob Brown says:

    As solely a VFR pilot I like Foreflight and FlightGuide. FG’s moving maps load faster than FF, has track up, and you can lock the screen. Very easy to use in the plane. Weather not good in FG so I use FF. FG is a very good choice for the VFR pilot. I don’t think it supports ADS-B but it will interface with a devise for traffic. WingX sounds good so I’ll give that a try as well. I enjoy Sporty’s iPad articles. They help quite a bit.

  44. Hutch
    Hutch says:

    I have been very impressed with the features of Wing X from the very first. I looked at the Garmin app and the FF. The thing that I like most is offering suggestions for features to Hilton and his crew and seeing them incorporated if they are possible! I really like the Split screen! 2 and 4 areas displayed! I have used a portable Garmin for years, but I am sold on Wing X features and options!

  45. Kayak Jack
    Kayak Jack says:

    Hutch, my experience is similar to yours. I have a Garmin Aera that is good, but the iPad and WingX have been lots better. Not perfect, but way better for less money. I’m guessing that Foreflight is good too, but I’m sticking with WingX for features.

    About three days before the Track Up feature was available, I made a fight to a field about 65 miles N’ly, and then back S’ly to home (KTEW). Man – was it confusing coming back south with the old, North Up configuration. I was ready to write an email in, saw an update, and voila’! Track Up was here. Sweet, I never looked back.

    • Joel
      Joel says:

      Yes. Absolutely what I have been thinking. I’m not sure what % of XM users are pilots, but I can’t think of another major group of XM users. I’m sure there are, but for me I just can’t think of any obvious ones. I believe that XM will become drastically lower (if not obsolete) in the next 18-24 months.

  46. Lou G
    Lou G says:

    Yep, I. Looked, and sure enough, Sporty’s sells and supports WingX and Garmin! Nice job of laying out some experienced observations of the big three. Thanks for putting that all together. Very helpful.
    Now, be vewy vewy quiet. I’m hunting conspiracy theorists…….

    • Timmy S.
      Timmy S. says:

      I agree, Lou. I know probably a dozen pilots who fly with iPads–10 use Foreflight, 2 use Garmin and 0 use WingX. I know that’s not scientific, and I know WingX has been around for a while, but its amazing how all these WingX guys came out of the woodwork all of a sudden. Almost makes you wonder if it’s coordinated???

      Big winner here: iPad.

      • Hilton
        Hilton says:


        WingX Pro7 has been the #1 Top Grossing Navigation iPad on the Apple App Store for over a year now. This has nothing to do with woodwork, it’s all about a powerful moving map that includes ADS-B weather and traffic (a year before Stratus – we now support 10 ADS-B receivers), terrain overlays, obstacles, runway extensions, Track Up, Split Screen, descent profile, etc… Come on over to the dark side. 😉 At least give our 30-day demo a spin.

        Have you ever noticed that when FF users list the improvements they want to see in FF they end up describing WingX Pro7? (this is just a friendly dig; i.e. take it as a joke, but as they say, the best comedy is rooted in the truth – OK, I’ll stop now :))

        BTW: Very cool new feature in August release – no other iPad app has it (I think), I wonder what it could be…


        • Chris
          Chris says:

          WingX is higher grossing in the App Store since you charge $.99 and ForeFlight/Garmin are free. That doesn’t seem to be indicative of the number of subscriptions.

          • Hilton
            Hilton says:


            The reason I mentioned that is to show Timmy that WingX Pro7 is not some minor app with a few ‘coordinated’ pilots. Just when you thought being a coordinated pilot was a good thing. Anyway, you’re mixing apples and oranges, the 99c has very little to do with it since we’re talking ‘top grossing’ which includes all the revenue including subscriptions etc. With regards overall ‘top grossing’ status, currently FF beat us and we beat Garmin – obviously that can change in the future.

            BTW: WingX Pro7 was free, but we found that a lot of non-pilots were downloading it, downloading GBs from our servers and then giving WingX Pro7 a one-star revue without knowing what the app even does – bumping it to 99c stopped that. I’d be happy to refund the 99c to anyone who asks, heck I’ll even throw in a free WingX Pro7 cap (while stock lasts). email me, no problem.


  47. Mike Stewart
    Mike Stewart says:

    Re the North-up vs Track-up discussion, I have a female friend, a highly experienced and well-educated RN with ADHD who has absolutely no sense of direction. She was born this way and there’s been no improvement over time. I thought we were all born with a sense of direction . . . that we innately know which way is “up”. But that’s not the case. In studying the research that’s been done on “Directional Disorder” or one of its other terms, I discovered that in testing children, boys can much more easily anchor their sense of direction on a fixed position such as North. Girls can’t do this abstract task as easily.

  48. Kayak Jack
    Kayak Jack says:

    Joel sez, ” I believe that XM will become drastically lower (if not obsolete) in the next 18-24 months.”

    I’d guess, probably both, in that order.

  49. Dave H.
    Dave H. says:

    Great review. I think those that are complaining about being bias are wrong. I use Foreflight and love it. I have Garmins new GTN-650 in my Piper and still use Foreflight for many reasons.
    1. I like the visual aspect that Foreflight offers like bigger map and better visual reference.
    2. Now with ADS-B, much cheaper option to XM.
    3. WingX requires a much more expensive ADS-B option. Plus prices for plans are more expensive.

    I will admit that Garmin’s App has a lot of nice features. But I will still stay with ForeFlight. Yes, I would like some features that Garmin and WingX have. That would make ForeFlight complete. Synthetic vision would cap off ForeFlight and Dominate.

    I do hope there is a 7″ iPad coming soon and if not, hope that ForeFlight offers a Android app. Then I will use the Nexus.

    Just my 2 cents.

    Blue Skies All

    • Hilton
      Hilton says:


      Have you tried WingX Pro7? You’re happy now to have ADS-B – WingX Pro7 had ADS-B over a year ago. You want SV – WingX Pro7 had SV over a year ago.

      Anyway, I want to address your comment: “WingX requires a much more expensive ADS-B option.” That is wrong. The Stratus receiver costs $799, the one from Skyradar is $599 – that’s $200 less expensive.

      Then you say: “Plus prices for plans are more expensive.” We recently introduced a three-year plan that averages out at $66/year, that’s less than FF. Also, the WingX Pro7 subscription includes geo-referencing for airport diagrams so for VFR pilots especially, this is a lot less than the $150 you’d need to pay for FF. Fuel is $29/year, but we get the fuel prices from 100LL and you can take them with you, you can search for the cheapest gas etc without an Internet connection.

      As others have pointed out, a couple of years ago our only viable option was a Garmin for $3000, so we need to put these $10 and $20 differences into perspective. Give WingX Pro7 and other apps a spin using their 30-day free periods (with an open mind). If after that you prefer one app over another, that’s the app for you.


      • Dave H.
        Dave H. says:

        Thanks for the reply.. I didn’t know there was a newer ADS-B option for WingX. I stand corrected. There many now. I think most of us look at the individual optional prices. When you add up all the in app options, it seems like a lot of money initially. $149 for FF HD a year, or $205 for fuel and Approach charts a year for WingX. And then another $75 for SV. And I realize FF doesn’t have SV yet.

        Don’t get me wrong, WingX is not a bad app by no means. And I will admit its been about 6months since I last tried WingX. I will give it a look again.

        I like having an option and not just one App to choose from. But its too bad all the App creators couldn’t work together to make one Really Bad ASS navigational aid and put the big dogs(Garmin, Avidyne) a run for their money.

        Again, my 2cents that really don’t matter. I just love to fly and no matter what all 3 Apps are making it much easier and safer!

        • Joel
          Joel says:

          “But its too bad all the App creators couldn’t work together to make one Really Bad ASS navigational aid”.

          Fortunately that’s NOT the way America works. If this occurred you would have only one software option and 1/10th the features. Last time I checked it was competition that drove innovation and lower prices…

  50. allen
    allen says:

    Let me start with my bias: I love IFR flying in VFR weather. I don’t have to worry about where the mountains are ( VFR-Over-The-Top) because Nav Canada has already done that for me.
    I have a “real Garmin” and I like that it is physically reliable – it NEVER drops signal or needs to be re-booted. I also use AIR NAV PRO on my Ipod which I consider better and more intuitive than Foreflight, and easier to use and easier to interpret in-flight than Garmin. I haven’t used WingX nor the Garmin Pilot under review here, but such discussions should include Air Nav Pro – not to be fair to the makers, but rather to be fair to all pilot – better situational awareness saves lives.

  51. Jay Farr
    Jay Farr says:

    I have been a longtime ForeFlight user, and very pleased and satisfied with the product, both from a developmental perspective and from the ease-of-use.

    I thought your report was well balanced and provided information on three of the top applications for flying. Specifically, I enjoyed the discussion of the various features offered on Garmin’s application as well as Wing X. The fact of the matter remains, that each of these offer excellent navigation, a wealth of data that was previously unavailable in the general aviation aircraft.

    Ultimately it comes down to preference of the individual operator and what has the most tools and features that will fit the flying style of that particular pilot.

    In my case, it happens be ForeFlight. But after reading the article. I’m sure it could be any of the other two, and I particularly like the panel/instruments provided by the Garmin application.

  52. Ted
    Ted says:

    now that I have had a Garmin 750 installed in my plane I will need to take a closer look at the Garmin app. having the same menu structure on my iPad and my Panel mount is attractive. now if I could only get the iPad to talk to the 750. hmmm Aspen Avionics just announced their WI-FI connector. we are close.

  53. Terry
    Terry says:

    How about FF and Wing X work on android systems, i’m tired of being held up by Apple. Granted there are a lot of IPad users but I know a lot of pilots who would dump the pad for a Samsung and the freedom it brings, everything doesn’t have to come through the app store

  54. Frank Christopher
    Frank Christopher says:

    I’ve always wondered if the android systems have a gps chip? Real gps, not wifi location awareness.
    Does anyone know? The specs never list it.

  55. Lloyd Baldridge
    Lloyd Baldridge says:

    It is a shame that they didn’t include Anywhere Map in the list. They have been a player long before all except for Garmin. Their new Freedom runs on Android and iPad, plus they still support Windows also. Foreflight is lacking in many ways. WingXPro is making some strides.

  56. Randy
    Randy says:

    Bias? Bias? What the heck fellas. Measure the facts, fly with the products, then get extremely biased and make your buy! BTW you’ll end up with Wingx Pro7 with a Clarity ADS-B Receiver. If you list the critical aspects of situational awareness including access to frequencies and airport data on the run, your artical will have extreme bias for the Hilton product.

    • Norm
      Norm says:

      I’ll believe the Clarity when I see it–so far there’s a lot of smoke, but not much fire. Comparing reality vs. promise isnt something I liek to do.

      • David Zinder
        David Zinder says:

        Norm, I saw Sagetech at Oshkosh and was blown away by Clarity. The Synthetic Vision display they had was one of the more interesting things I saw at the show.

        I called Sagetech after the show and talked to their salesman for about 20 minutes one afternoon and feel very confident with their product.

        The only bad thing is I have to wait until the end of September for Clarity’s release but these guys know what they are doing.

  57. Kayak Jack
    Kayak Jack says:

    I would expect the addition of ADS-B to help sales of WingX. That’s like asking. “Will ice cream be driven out of business since hot fudge chocolate has been invented?” Not only no – HECK no.

    It supplements and enhances WingX, and foreflight too. I’m not sure that Garmin and XM Weather vendors are too happy, though.

    • Chuck Norris
      Chuck Norris says:

      Why would Garmin care? They have the GDL 39 spewing bluetooth FIS-B and ADS-B to Garmin Pilot. I have this setup and it works great. I tried Foreflight also and it works well too. I just like GP because it is similar to the GTN 650 that I also fly with.

  58. Bob Brown
    Bob Brown says:

    Tried WingX Pro and now prefer over FF and Flight Guide. Took a little longer to figure it out but effort well worth it. Now, which ADS-B unit is recommended for WingX Pro? I’ll buy it tomorrow!

    • Joel
      Joel says:

      Bob, you are a little “ahead of the curve” right now if you wan the “box type” battery powered ADS-B. The Clarity ADS-B box is an option (although I don’t know if it is readily available yet) if you want WiFi. The Dual (not available until at least Sept) is an option if you are looking for Bluetooth. If you want ADS-B that requires a power source, then SkyRadar is the way to go. I agree WingX is the best, but FF has the jump on everyone if you want battery powered ADS-B.

  59. Kayak Jack
    Kayak Jack says:

    I use the Sky Radar, $599 including freight when I bought it. Seems to work well. It overlays WX right onto the WingX Pro7 charts.

  60. Ananda
    Ananda says:

    Levil Technology (manufacturers of the AHRS-G mini for iPad) will release a battery-powered AHRS/ADS-B receiver with integrated solar panel for auto-recharging. If you want to have the best iPad compatible attitude and heading reference system to drive the Synthetic Vision on WingX or just as back-up HUD, check out the iLevil next month… Fly straight and Levil.

  61. Kayak Jack
    Kayak Jack says:

    WOW! The choices and possibilities for a small, General Aviation aircraft are becoming really something. What great options we have to select from.
    Capitalism creates competition – which creates products and services to lead the world.

  62. AZCTFlyer
    AZCTFlyer says:

    Re: Android GPS. Kind of an overbroad question, as whether or not there is a GPS has nothing to do with the operating system… it’s up to each maker. Most do, some don’t. Kindle fire = NO. But, many (dare I say, most) do. Real GPS, plus compass, gyros and in some cases, barometers.

  63. Jurg Jensen
    Jurg Jensen says:

    Good article, it didn’t seem biased and people are welcome to their own opinion. I’ve personally used Foreflight and WingX and while they are both great products WingX has really been upping their game. I also like the fact that WingX utilized several different hardware types as I am not the biggest Stratus fan out there. Really looking forward to Clarity when it comes out, SV looks great.

  64. Nick Forte
    Nick Forte says:

    Another nice feature that the latest ForeFlight upgrade introduced that I would like to see WingX and Garmin copy is the ability to link with the X-Wing flight simulator. I don’t fly as often as I would like and appreciate the ability to practice my flying skills in front of my home computer in between my real flights.

  65. Paul
    Paul says:

    Personally I like foreflight after trying all, it’s my opinion just accept the fact that we all like different options. one thing is for sure,at one point in are flying we all rotated a sectional to see the chart as we were looking out the window and no one complained , Bottom line keep paper charts in the aircraft with you. In most cases they will never fail you.

  66. Gary
    Gary says:

    Great information all around, started by sporty’s. I am frugal and primarily use AOPA’s flight planning- it is sufficient for me since I fly VFR. I am looking to replicate my handheld GPS and it sounds like wings x does that best; moving map,terrain, choice on map orientation etc. now if competition will only bring the subscription prices down. The aviation community keeps getting to pay way over the top for any products offered to them…. How about a one time fee to buy the software and then different update costs for what a pilot needs- updated charts, add ons like IFR plates etc. wing x would capture the market if it simply sold its soft ware, terrain — just like all other software companies outside of aviation and then charged for newer versions, updated charts and other add ons. Hopefully, a competitive market will improve pricing. I have little optimism as long as pilots keep allowing themselves to pay what ever is asked……

  67. Tom Stukenberg
    Tom Stukenberg says:

    Does any one have any leads on an I Pad app that includes maps for Mexico and Central America? I can’t find any. I’d appreciate any leads and comments.

  68. wm bensinger
    wm bensinger says:

    which of the apps offers canadian sectional charts and if so at what cost. Flying north across the canadian border using my friend’s Foreflight app, the section chart just “disappeared” about 5 miles north of the border.

      • Ricardo Burgos
        Ricardo Burgos says:

        I wouldn’t say no one, Air Navigation Pro, a good aviation app, offers maps for most countries of the world. However, different countries have different qualities of maps, some more aviation oriented and some others not so much. But that’s way more than nothing as currently is offered by FF or Garmin Pilot.

  69. mark white
    mark white says:

    Seems like Hilton Software (wingx) is waffling on offering XM to their product. They been promising since SUN N Fun last April. Here is an email one of my Airplane partners received yesterday in response to when Wingx would incorporate XM. (Sorry for the delay getting back to you. We have been speaking with XM, but there have been a couple of hold-ups and we’re also evaluating future plans. I don’t have an ETA on XM at this time.) So much for getting close was my answer during Oshkosh.

  70. Kayak Jack
    Kayak Jack says:

    Getting XM for WingX would be like hauling coal to Newcastle. ADS-B is a one-time $600 cost for the same thing that XM wants your first born to get, and then an arm & leg per month for. Get the SkyRadar ADS-B receiver and never look back.

    • Mark white
      Mark white says:

      Well that’s all good but we’ve had xM weather in airplane for years . First using weather worx software and Voyager software it doesn’t seem practical at this point to dump that hardware we have already purchased. Besides XM offers weather products like lightning strikes not available
      With a d s. So I still lean towards xm

    • Mark white
      Mark white says:

      Well that’s all good but we’ve had xM weather in our airplane for years . First using weather worx software and Voyager software it doesn’t see practical at this point to dump that hardware w have already purchased. Besides XM offers weather products like lightning strikes not available.
      With a d s. So I still lean towards xm

    • Ted
      Ted says:

      unfortunatly, there are still too many areas in the middle of the US where ADS-B is not available. Getting close now tho. I will be turning off my XM (on my 496) as soon as I am confident that I can get ADS-B everywhere I fly. I am holding off getting an ADS-B reciever because the equipment offerings are changing so fast that I am waiting until the last minute. I figure 6 months at the outside.

  71. Kayak Jack
    Kayak Jack says:

    Waiting a bit may well be smart. Something’s bound to change. Probably for the better and for less money.

    XM has been a good product, but they and Garmin never forget to CHARGE. A price reduction after it got established in the market would appear competitive. A bit greedy, it seemed to me. Just my perspective.

  72. Brian
    Brian says:

    Please lay off Sporty’s folks, I think there review was fare and they never said which one they would choose. They say it is up to the Users and just give the finer points of all three!

    However I have been using ForeFlight and absoutly love it, it is very user friendly and I especially like the documents portion. Might try Garmin just to see how it is.

  73. Ron Comanche
    Ron Comanche says:

    Can one of you — WING X, GARMIN, FOREFLIGHT, provide SV by using projected course derived from GPS INSTEAD of us having to by a AHRS – device such as Levil , !!!!!!???????


    Sent from my iPad

    • Paul Qualls
      Paul Qualls says:

      uh… hmmm.. I have used WingX Pro since it had SV and I don’t use AHRS. It works great and I use it pretty much weekly.

      Have you tried WingX with SV Ron?


  74. Ron
    Ron says:

    I did use it on iPhone and it was good. Is it available on original IPad , I have an external GPS for it, but have not bought it ,Wanted to get a free trial for iPad to see how it looks/functions I did get a ftrial version for the iPhone. have been using WingX for awhile and like the graphics over all, seems new Garmin -My pilot is making noises and looks fairly good also,
    Choices, choices , choices. All have interesting unique functions and all are very useable, thanks for your reminders. Paul .

  75. Paul Qualls
    Paul Qualls says:

    I used it on my original iPad and now on my iPad 2. The 2 is noticeably faster. My advise is to upgrade to a 2 or 3. It isn’t that much more than a couple of hours of flight time in cost difference after you sell your old one and might save you that much time in the plane over a couple of months because of how good of a planning tool it is.


  76. Tim
    Tim says:

    Hey guys, lighten up on Sporty’s. This is an excellent summary for someone who just bought an IPad and is looking at these programs. I also really appreciate everyone’s individual comments about their experiences and preferences.

  77. Pete
    Pete says:

    ForeFlight wins. It is the most user friendly, polished, reliable app out of the main 3. I used to care about track up, but following the magenta line isn’t rocket science. The wing x map loads way too slow, even on an iPad 3. The app just looks unfinished. The Garmin app likes to delete data on its own…I’ve had to redownload data a couple of times. ForeFlight is my choice. I would however, like to see traffic support and either a redesigned stratus unit (has a lot of overheating issues), or support for other units.

  78. Kayak Jack
    Kayak Jack says:

    Pete sez, “The wing x map loads way too slow, even on an iPad 3.”

    Mine always loads in about 2-3 seconds. I’m not sure what difficulties you are experiencing there.

  79. Nomocom
    Nomocom says:

    I’ve learned in some cases the Garmin/Jep databases do not have integrity. They don’t necessarily match official FAA information. I like FF’s AFD tab. Let’s me look at the official data for airports. I won’t describe past events here, but if you want to know more, visit vansairforce and look for my thread where some of the problems with maintaining error free databases were discussed. keywords data integrity guthrie should get you there if the link doesn’t work.

  80. Kayak Jack
    Kayak Jack says:

    My experience syncs with what you were told. Property ownership does not always equate with private or public use. Three fields I fly to within 50 miles of home, here in Michigan, are privately owned and open to public use.

  81. Nomocom
    Nomocom says:

    The definitions of private versus public are interesting but peripheral. My takeaway was Jepp wasn’t bothering themselves to look for discrepancies between their database and the official FAA data in the case of Guthrie TX. I haven’t bought a Jepp update since, but I do really like the AFD tab on Foreflight!

  82. Aaron Kiley
    Aaron Kiley says:

    I learned a lot from this review, but maybe more from the comments. I’ve been using WingX and Foreflight both for a year. After reading the review a second time, it does seem to put Foreflight on top. My problem is that WingX is AT LEAST as good and in my opinion has the edge. To be fair both are great apps. If it was a tie it would have been acceptible. Having WingX slightly ahead would have seemed reasonable, but WingX behind doesn’t add up from my year of experience.

    I had to laugh when Flying Magazine did a review of the new ADS-B box that came out for Foreflight. They acted as if it was this new wonderful thing that only Foreflight had, when WingX had if for almost a year.

    … Aaron

  83. Ted
    Ted says:

    Like Aaron I have been flying with both for over a year now. I thought that I would be able to turn off one of the subscriptions after my evaluation but at this point I don’t think so. Foreflight has the edge in preflight planning. It has internet weather (on the map display), the notams have easier access, and the planning/filing process is just easier. WingX is better in the air. having split screens is a real help. With view 1 being Low altitude charts and view 2 being my approach plate I can swap back and forth between the two very easily. A big plus as I get set up for my approach. The wife likes having the sectional on one window while I have my IFR charts in the other window. for notams, I go back to foreflight. I have not gotten ADS-B yet as most of my long distance flying is thru the middle of the US where it is not yet supported. When I do, I will probably (depending on how the market changes in the next year) get the Clarity (sagetech) system for the integration of ADS-b, GPS, and attitude information. I have a Garmin 750 coupled to my autopilot in the panel and I find that I use the 750 for flying the plane and iPad for infight planning and diverting work. I get weather via my legacy Garmin 496. since it is not broken, it is still in the cockpit. I will definitely not be replacing it when it dies.

  84. Ben Prusinski
    Ben Prusinski says:

    Great discussion on flight nav tools for ipad. I am looking at buying a new iPad mini which is perfect for small cockpits. I plan to test Foreflight and WingX and buy the Zaon traffic system along with SkyRadar GPS for ADS-B and perhaps the Levil AHRS unit. I am student pilot training only VFR right now but like the lower cost of this compared to the $2500 Garmin 796 GPS unit. Its great to see iPad plus these amazing apps offer more or equal features than the expensive glass cockpits in million dollar aircraft! This means I can buy me a cheap used Cessna or Mooney and have glass cockpit for hundreds of thousands dollars less than buying a new Cirrus SR22! Wonderful times. Kudos to Hilton from WingX for offering his candid inputs.

    Ok so my question is this:

    Should I buy the external GPS and AHRS units or is the stand alone GPS unit in the iPad mini good enough to work with these apps? I will try out all three apps and pick the winner. I like the SVT in the WingX thats very cool flying in California. Not really concerned about XM because I live on the west coast and ADS-B should work for my flying training needs.

    • Joe
      Joe says:

      Hi Ben. Something to think about… If you use WingX, it is compatible with your Zaon. In other words you will be able to see the Zaon traffic on your iPad. In order to do this you have to purchase a WiFi adapter for your Zaon (about $80 or so). This connects your Zaon to your iPad via WiFi. This works great until you buy an ADS-B adapter. If your ADS-B adapter is WiFi (like SkyRadar) you can’t use your Zaon on your iPad any more. You can’t connect to 2 wireless devices at the same time with your iPad. You have to pick between Zaon traffic and ADS-B.

      Now that being said, Dual is coming out with a bluetooth ADS-B box. This box will work with WingX. This will allow you to have both ADS-B weather and Zaon traffic on the screen hooked up to your iPad at the same time.

      Now to your question… Any ADS-B box you buy will also contain your GPS so you don’t need to worry about that (note also that only the cellular Ipad contains GPS. The WiFi-only unit does not). You will need a separate AHRS device, but you won’t be able to use it and your Zaon on the iPad at the same time (see reason why above). Clarity will have a box available in March ’13 that will combine your GPS, ADS-B and AHRS all in one nice tiny little package, but again it won’t work with at the same times with your Zaon so you’ll have to make a choice. Hope this helps…

    • Ted
      Ted says:

      3 things.
      1) the easy one first. you might also look at the FlyQ EFB application that is available thru the AOPA. I have not gotten a chance to actually use it but the writeup I saw is very good. (but ADS-B is “comming” – ouch)

      2) I fly a high wing Cessna and my iPad internal GPS would lose lock on a regular basis. It is quite sensitive to where you have your iPad located. I highly recommend an external GPS. There are a number of them out there and more are comming. Any one of the GPS/ADS-B models would be great.

      2) As tempting as it is, I don’t think that it is a good idea for a student pilot to use an iPad as a replacement for a glass cockpit. You need to get good fundamentals on the certified gauges that you will be flying. The iPad is not certified (for good reasons) as anything but an aid and you need to be ready for it to it to die at any time (i have had mine auto shut-off due to t