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Apps for Pilots

Page history last edited by Béatrice H. Alves 11 years, 1 month ago

Apps for Pilots


Tips to get started

The iPad is a reliable and easy-to-use addition to the cockpit, perfect for charts, moving maps and even in-flight weather. But there’s a lot to understand to make sure you’re getting the most out of your investment. Over the past few years, we’ve learned a lot through trial and error flying with the iPad in general aviation aircraft, and have assembled our top 12 tips:

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Verify your charts are downloaded before flight.

1. Pre-flight your iPad (and verify your charts are downloaded)

What’s our number one recommendation for iPad pilots? Always, always, always pre-flight your iPad!

Sure, the iPad is easy to use and awfully reliable. But just like with your airplane, you want to find out about any issues with your iPad while you’re on the ground (and have an internet connection). This could take 30 seconds or 10 minutes, depending on how you use your iPad and how comfortable you are with the technology.

You’ll want to create a checklist that works for your apps, accessories and your airplane. Customize it so that you’ll actually use it before every flight. With that in mind, though, here’s a basic checklist to consider that applies to most apps:

  • Battery charged on iPad–it’s a good habit to always take off with a full charge (it takes 4-6 hours to charge a drained battery)
  • Battery charged on external GPS or Stratus weather receiver–these have about the same life as iPad, so charge alongside your iPad
  • Backup power or charging cables available–make sure you have a plan B if the battery dies
  • Run the application once–especially if you’ve updated the app, check to make sure it won’t crash or lock up on initial start-up
  • Load routes and favorite airports–doing this on the ground saves a lot of heads-down time in the cockpit
  • Databases installed and current–check your charts without an internet connection (see this important tip)
  • Turn off wireless functions that aren’t needed–turn off Bluetooth, 3G and WiFi unless you’ll need them in flight, as they drain the battery (keep in mind that using airplane mode disables the 3G/4G model’s internal GPS)

More tips on iPad Pilot News 



Flight Share on Wing X

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AirNav FBO

The AirNav.com website was around long before the iPad, and provides detailed airport, fuel and FBO information for pilots–all for free. AirNav also packages this information in a convenient iPhone app, which provides most of the same information. You can quickly search for an airport using its identifier, and the app will display airport info, an FBO directory and current fuel prices. One of our favorite features is the ability to enter a route and search for the cheapest fuel price along that route.


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FlightAware -

This app provides free, live flight tracking on your iPhone and iPad. It’ll display the real-time status of GA flights in the US and Canada, and commercial flights around the globe. The information is enhanced with a map depicting the aircraft’s current location and its previous flight path, along with a live NEXRAD overlay. You can search for specific data by using aircraft registration, route,airline, flight number, city pair or airport code.


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CloudAhoy uses GPS to record your flight path, allowing you to review it on the ground in 2D and 3D views.



This iPhone app has been a hit with pilots since the day it was released. CloudAhoy uses GPS to capture your flight path, allowing you to review it afterwards on the ground. You can overlay your flightpath on a Google satellite or terrain map right in the app, or display it over aviation charts. The app is great for student and instrument pilots to record maneuvers and instrument approaches, providing an instant review of the aircraft flight path in a 2D or 3D environment.




The Airliners.net website features over 2 million high quality airplane pictures from around the world, all uploaded by aviation enthusiasts and pilots. The company also features a dedicated app, allowing you to browse this collection right on your iPad. Looking for pictures of a Beaver on floats? A quick search will retrieve hundreds of pictures of this popular floatplane shot in remote locations.


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This free app from Lightspeed serves as an in-flight cockpit recorder, and is specifically designed for use with Lightspeed Aviation headsets. After pairing your iPad to your headset over Bluetooth, the app will record all cockpit and ATC communications for both instant playback and a permanent archive of all your flight communications.


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Dual Bluetooth GPS Status Tool

This is a must-have app for pilots who fly with the Dual XGPS150 Bluetooth GPS, as it provides satellite reception status and battery information for your GPS. We’ve found it particularly useful when you’re having trouble getting a GPS fix in your aviation app and troubleshooting becomes necessary.


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Bad Elf GPS Status Apps

This app provides similar information to the Dual app, but also displays basic navigation and trip-logging functions. It is designed to work with the Bad Elf and Bad Elf Pro GPS units.


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This free tool is perfect for finding nearby aviation-related events, including airport fly-ins, air shows, pancake breakfasts, conventions, FAA Safety Seminars and more. Finding events is as simple as looking at a map and tapping an icon to learn more about an event. You can also search for events, add events, chat, upload photos, get email notifications, send event notices to your friends or add events to your device calendar.

The fltplan.com provides valuable free tools for pilots, including charts, weather and a logbook.

The fltplan.com app provides valuable free tools for pilots, including charts, weather and flight tracking.


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While most of the premium flight-planning apps include a NEXRAD radar feature, it can often be cumbersome to load . When you need to see a radar image quickly, you can’t beat MyRadar. Within seconds of launching the app you’ll have a clear radar picture centered on your location. The animation is fast too, allowing you to quickly evaluate precipitation trends. You can also enter an aircraft N# and the app will display the filed route on the map.


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Fltplan.com is the hands-down winner for providing the most aviation features in a free app. This app provides the full complement of US aviation charts (VFR and IFR), a documents manager, weather briefing tool, logbook, flight tracking and GPS navigation features. Most pilots appreciate its ability to download and store flight plan nav logs created on the fltplan.com website.


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