So much of the news and excitement about aviation apps these days focuses on the big, all-in-one apps: ForeFlight, Garmin Pilot and WingX. While these are incredible apps, they aren’t the only ones a pilot should have – if for no other reason than you might carry an iPhone that can be put to use too. We polled a group of pilots about some other apps they use regularly and came up with five interesting ones that don’t make a lot of headlines.
This new app aims to be a sort of “Facebook for pilots,” with strong social networking features like photo sharing, status updates and check ins. A recent partnership with AOPA has lent this app some credibility, and grown its user base. It’s a fun way to meet local pilots and share your passion for flying – after all, your Facebook friends may not appreciate how cool it is to shoot the ILS 21L down to 200 and 1/2. The app is free, and offers separate versions for iPad and iPhone.
Sure, keeping track of zulu time (or GMT) isn’t that hard, but if you travel across time zones a lot you can mess up your math pretty quickly. This simple app does exactly what its name suggests: shows you the current zulu time, as well as local time and another time zone of your choice. It’s a really quick and easy way to file the right time on your flight plan, or at least avoid calling your wife at 1am during that West Coast trip. The app is $0.99.
We’ve mentioned this one before, but it continues to appear on many pilots’ home screens. By using the iPhone or iPad’s built-in camera and gyro, Could Topper tells you if you’ll top that next build-up or if you need to deviate. It’s a simple app, but we’ve found it to be surprisingly useful. Just level the device and read the altitude. The app is $0.99.
This popular app, created by an airline pilot, has been around for a while. It’s not a full-featured E6B calculator app, but in some ways that’s its strength. In particular, the app is great for finding out the crosswind component for your next takeoff or landing – in just seconds. It will also calculate humidity, wind chill and density altitude. The app costs $2.99.
Listening to Air Traffic Control can be both fun and educational, and LiveATC.net has been pilots’ go-to website for years. The latest version of their app is a great way to stay involved in aviation on days when you can’t fly. Listen to approach control or tower, and monitor the weather conditions right in the app. While it’s only available for iPhone, LiveATC is still a must-have app. It is available for $3.99.