As a student pilot there are a lot of new tools that can be highly useful when learning to fly and throughout your flying career. The modern pilot is often assisted by their Electronic Flight bag (EFB), or iPad. However, it's not enough to have the device without good apps to maximize its usefulness. They make understanding theory and flight planning much easier by providing information at our fingertips and by performing many of the manual calculations needed for flight for us. All-in-all they make flight planning generally safer and more efficient. Here are 11 mobile apps for student pilots.
- ForeFlight - ForeFlight is one of the most well known aviation apps. It provides almost everything you will need for flight planning. ForeFlight has charts, maps and FAA handbooks and legends that are updated digitally. Weather updates, navlog data and flight plan filing capability and even the ability to enter in weight and balance and aircraft performance numbers are available. You can use it for many different levels of flying and will prove to be the most useful throughout your flight training. The app is simple to use but can get complex if you invest the time to learn it on a deeper level. ForeFlight is essentially an electronic flight bag combining charts and chart supplements, maps, terminal procedures supplements, an E6B, a plotter and weather sources all in one. Its capability is even more enhanced when paired with an ADS-B receiver like the Stratus 3. When paired with an ADS-B receiver ForeFlight shows your position, traffic information and weather updates whilst en route. This would be the first and main app I would recommend to any student. Fortunately, ForeFlight is included with the tuition for Wayman.
- AeroWeather - AeroWeather is a simple to use app that shows you Metars and TAFs at airports that you search up or add to your favorites. It’s great for looking up airport weather quickly to determine conditions without going into ForeFlight or using aviationweather.gov. If you fly with an Apple Watch you can even get the METAR at your favorite airport to display as a complication along with the Time on your watch.
- Windy - Windy is a highly graphical app that is mainly used to show how winds are flowing in real time. They also show how winds are flowing around highs and lows and the speed by using different colors. When used in conjunction with winds aloft, Metars and TAFs it helps to paint a better and bigger picture of what the winds are doing. It’s especially useful for cross country flight planning.
- AvFuel Converter - This app does fuel conversions and allows you to see the weight of Jet A and 100LL avgas in liters, kilograms, pounds and gallons. For flight planning purposes this can serve as a great tool in determining range and fuel weight.
- xWind - ForeFlight has the ability to show crosswind and headwind component but you have to go through various tabs and search up an airport and runway to show the component. With xWind runway and wind direction can be entered along with wind speed to show a quick and direct indication of wind component.
- AutoDens - Like the previous app mentioned ForeFlight also has the ability to show density altitude and sometimes pressure altitude but you would have to go through various tabs and select an airport. AutoDens allows you to put in an airport’s elevation and temperature or current altimeter setting to get a quick calculation of the current pressure and density altitude which is needed for performance calculations.
- ATPL Dictionary - When studying aviation theory there are many new words and acronyms to learn. ATPL dictionary contains almost all aviation words and acronyms you may see whilst studying and offers definitions to each. New words are often added, definitions are updated regularly and words can also be added or edited by the user.
- Flight Aware or Flight Radar - These two apps are not only good for students but also aviation enthusiasts. It simply allows the user to search up an aircraft registration or flight number and track its movements. It’s especially good when reviewing a flight to see how the flight was flown.
- ASA FAR/AIM - Any pilot going through training will be required to obtain a FAR/AIM textbook. This app is essentially that textbook inside a mobile app. This makes it easier to search up topics and words pertaining to a regulation and bookmark them. The studying process becomes more efficient and it becomes easier to look up a regulation on the fly.
10. CloudAhoy - CloudAhoy is very useful for debriefing a training flight. Once setup, your flight data will be collected from the CloudAhoy app or can be imported from ForeFlight. CloudAhoy combines airport and navigation data along with wind and aircraft information to give you a detailed analysis of your flight. Once a flight is completed you have access to an extensive debriefing which can be viewed from the web or on mobile devices. And guess what; our Instructors use this App to debrief with our students too!
11. IFR Flight - This is an app for student pilots going through instrument training. This app is useful for understanding an aircraft's position in relation to VORs and NDBs. This topic can often become confusing when first learning because of reverse sensing and the cone of confusion and how this would appear on aircraft instruments. Using this app regularly whilst going through instrument training makes understanding the use of VORs exponentially easier and is highly recommended.
These apps can prove to be highly effective in making the training process easier and more efficient but it is important as aviators to not solely rely on these mobile apps and to always have other means of obtaining flight information, charts, maps, weather, theory material and know how to manually flight plan. What are your favorite aviation mobile apps? Leave a comment below!