Imagine if you could turn your smartphone into an aviation radio with almost unlimited range. That’s pretty much what the LiveATC Air Radio app does. Open up the app and choose one of 450 airports around the world, and in seconds you’re listening to ATC and airplanes communicate in real time. This is one of the most useful and fun apps for pilots, and it’s great whether you’re a pre-solo student pilot or an experienced ATP.
It’s a perfect way for new student pilots to learn communications, since there’s no better training than listening to the pros. And just because you live in Iowa doesn’t mean you can’t listen to JFK tower and hear the machine gun clearances. While you’re listening to the communications, the app shows you current weather and the airport diagram. These are valuable tools for helping you visualize the traffic flow and the decisions pilots are making.
For more experienced pilots, the app is just plain fun. You can listen to a friend on the radio or follow a flight that’s dealing with an in-flight emergency. Or get some international flavor and listen to ATC in Russia, Japan, Australia or South Africa.
The only real limitation to keep in mind is that not all airports are on here, especially smaller general aviation airports. The focus is on larger, commercial airports, which is understandable. But because many of these feeds include approach control, you still hear a lot of GA traffic.
At just $2.99, the app is a great value. And with over 1000 reviews and an average rating of 4.5 stars, it looks like most users agree. It’s made for iPhone, but it will run on iPad as well. There’s also a nice Android app as well.
Get the iPad/iPhone app here.
Get the Android app here.