Most pilots with an iPhone or iPad are probably familiar with some of the most popular do-it-all navigation apps for the cockpit, like ForeFlight and Garmin Pilot. These are great, but we’ve found the App Store has a plethora of niche apps that might do well do supplement and automate tasks for pilots. Here’s a list of six apps we find useful in no particular order.
An easy-to-use app that makes logging trips and tracking fuel burn as easy as tapping a button. The app will track total time, time out, time off, and time on each fuel tank. Using the fuel burn you entered when creating an aircraft profile, SkyTimer offers updated endurance estimates, fuel load in each tank, and total fuel burn. Additionally, SkyTimer has a full-featured Apple Watch app that works with or without your iPhone nearby. SkyTimer is free to download and start tracking block and flight times (iPhone and Apple Watch).
One company is attempting to improve the process of submitting PIREPS by allowing you to submit right from your iPhone. Fly Virga, a free app which connects directly to Flight Service does exactly that, with a clean, easy to use interface. The first screen you’ll see is an interactive map with color-coded symbols representing current PIREPs. Tap one to read the details. Adding a PIREP is easy too. Tap the “New Report” button at the bottom of the screen and follow the graphical prompts to input your observed data. You can also attach pictures with your PIREP which can viewed by other Virga app users.
This is a simple app, but it’s a brilliant concept; an app that would connect stranded pilots with nearby owners, mechanics, and pilots who might be interested in helping. Simply create a profile in the app and you’ll have the option to either ask for help or receive notifications when other pilots need help. Best of all, there is no fee to participate. AOG Alerts is free to download, and is available for both iOS devices and Android devices.
This free app pulls the Digital ATIS (D-ATIS) messages for over 75 airports across the U.S. and displays them in the app. You can set favorite airports for quick access, and set one default airport to automatically load when the app is launched. While you can find D-ATIS info from other sources and apps, this one is the quickest to access and doesn’t require a user account. While you can find D-ATIS info from other sources and apps, this one is the quickest to access and doesn’t require a user account. Download the free ATIS app here.
Civil Twilight is a simple but robust guide to sun and moon data for pilots and aviation enthusiasts. Easily determine where and when rises and sets will occur during flights and estimate the flight duration between the end of evening civil twilight and the beginning of morning civil twilight. Quickly compute daily solar and lunar almanac data, including moon phases and eclipses, for over 72,000 airports. Civil Twilight is available for iPhone and iPad.
What if you could tell in advance whether or not your current altitude was high enough to clear the tops? That’s the purpose of one of our long-time favorite iPhone/iPad apps called Cloud Topper Pilot Sight Level. Using your iPhone or iPad’s internal camera, gyro and accelerometers, the app helps you hold the device level and displays guides on the screen to help you gauge whether or not your current flight path will clear the tops.
What’s your favorite aviation app? Add a comment below.