Editor's note: I had the pleasure of meeting the myTransponder.com crew -- Making Aviation More Social -- at this year's EAA AirVenture show. One of the myriad topics we discussed was all the great aviation apps available for the iPad. I asked them to do a blot post and to do the impossible -- give their top 10 list. And go to their website tomorrow, where they will have even more in iPad apps, with details. Enjoy!
Below is our crew's minimum equipment list for our iPads, iPhones, and iPod Touches. By no means is this list everything we use and we sure wish we could share everything we like. Connect with us at myTransponder.com if you want to learn about these and other applications.
1) ForeFlight Mobile
: ForeFlight is our number one, go-to application for flight planning, checking weather, managing charts and in-flight navigation. Their intuitive interface handles everything from initial planning to arrival procedures and all phases throughout a flight. Even if you opt to download every chart and approach plate for every airport globally, keeping them up to date through revision cycles is a breeze with their single button update system. They extend inflight options by integrating with external GPS systems, XM/Nextrad receivers (coming soon), and the Aspen Connected Panel system.
The application is a free download and offers full access for the first 30 days to give you a chance to see if it fits your needs. Then they offer two subscription options:
• ForeFlight HD with Moving map, weather, plates, charts, AF/D, filing, fuel prices and more for $74.99
• ForeFlight Pro with everything in ForeFlightHD as well as adding geo-referenced instrument procedures and diagrams powered by Seattle Avionics ChartData for $149.99
A vast majority of pilots will be right at home with the ForeFlight HD subscription since it gives access to all charts including printable approach plates. Instrument, commercial, and pilots who like more location data should like the Pro option which lets you see your location on any chart including approach plates and taxi diagrams.
A Note: ForeFlight has previously advertised on our site and sponsored our events, but we spend our own money to keep our subscriptions up to date.
2) AeroWeather (pro) and lite
: Lots of companies make products to share weather that is freely available. AeroWeather's interface and options are what set it apart. While new users should try the free AeroWeather Lite version, we recommend the $3.99 Pro version for access to many of their advanced features. We particularly like the ability to group stations which makes route planning a snap given the ability to email yourself the METAR and TAFs for that group just before you take off. We also like the ability to easily export our settings so that our iPads and iPhones all have the same data.
3) Pilot Communications by the King Schools
: Really, this choice should be be "Anything by the King Schools" since we really like their learning methodology brought to the iPhone and iPad. In this case, the $29.99 Pilot Communications course is full of audio and video examples aimed at either those learning or those needing a refresher.
4) FAR/AIM By ASA
: When we spent $9.99, we did realize we were buying our last copy of the book? Now we have a self-updating document that adds no weight to our flight bag, yet, is easily searchable.
5) Checklist Pro by ForeFlight
: ForeFlight again makes the list with the Checklist Pro application. We use it on our iPhones and iPod Touches to make sure we have easy access to checklists. Sure, there are paper checklists but we like the electronic version for their ability to add custom entries relating to our specific airframe and our procedures. Also, paper can't warn you if you accidentally passed over an item. There is a free version of this app but we recommend the paid version as it makes it far simpler to enter data via the web as well as share the checklist with others. Clubs and schools might look into this for the ability to have a centrally managed, airframe specific checklist system. A Note: ForeFlight has previously advertised on our site and sponsored our events, but we spend our own money on applications
6) EAA Radio by EAA and CoDeveloper
: Part of aviation is the need for lifelong learning. This app gives you easy access to many of the EAA Radio recordings and the Live stream. Listen in. Stay connected. Keep Learning
7) LiveATC Air Radio by LiveATC.net
: The crew behind LiveATC.net have a great, $2.99 implementation of their receiver network designed for iOS. Their ever expanding list of airports and frequencies allow you to tune in and listen to ATC from a world away giving real-time guidance of the local conditions. Some of our crew listen in their cars on the way to the airport to get a measure of how busy they are.
8) Survival Pocket RefBy Double Dog Studios
: Nobody wants to think about the prospect of a flight becoming a need for survival skills, but it is simpler than ever to have tools with you that will help if you find yourself in that situation. For $0.99, this military-inspired reference is a simple addition to your flight bag. The CFI's on our crew point out that you might want to read it before you go flying so the information is familiar before you ever need it
9) LogTen Pro Pilot Logbook for iPadBy Coradine Aviation Systems
LogTen has long been a great application for managing your logbook electronically. At $79.99 for the iPad version and more for the Mac version, it is a bit pricy, but it pays for itself in the time you save when you need to figure out anything from currency to filling out your 8710 form. It lets you easily sync flight data between devices allowing for maximum access to your data
10) Flight Review By Sporty's Pilot Shop
: With so many of us going through flight reviews, Sporty's Flight Review provides a well organized, video-based learning environment for $29.99. With regular updates for both intent and functionality like built in reviews, this could be the only software you need for your flight review. It's even approved for use within the WINGS system
: iFlyWhere is one of our guilty pleasures. This free app helps solve a very simple problem: If I want to fly at least some distance but nor more than this other distance, where can I go? It has really opened up our minds to visiting airports we might not have thought about before and we have sound some real gems because of it.
Applications we are watching and looking to test more deeply:
- Garmin Pilot My-Cast Aviation Weather and Flight Planning By Digital Cyclone: With a name like Garmin, you come to expect high quality navigation systems. Their latest version offers an intuitive system with detail presented in some unique ways as well as flyGarmin integration. It is a free application that includes a 30 day free trial. After that, they offer subscriptions including a $99 annual basic agreement with options for Geo-Referenced Charts at an additional $49.99 per year as well as a SafeTaxi option of $29.99 per year.
- WingX Pro7 - Aviation Moving Map, Charts, and WeatherBy Hilton Software: WingX Pro got a major update at AirVenture 2011 that added a split screen for synthetic vision. They also work with ADS-B inflight weather receivers like that from SkyRadar as well as the Aspin Connected Panel system. We are keen to test this in flight and will when budget allows. Their's is a free application with a 30 day trial and then three annual subscription options: $99 for basic charting, another $99 adds the Synthetic Vision subscription, an additional $29.99 gives you access to fuel prices.
- Jeppesen Mobile FD By Jeppesen: Jeppesen first came to the iOS Platform with Mobile TC which allowed subscribers access to their charts. Now Jepp is back with their Mobile FD which is a flight deck management solution in addition to their charting options. Their initial entry to this category is good but not yet fully featured. Given their backing and the many airlines replacing paper with the iPad using Jeppesen's software, we expect rapid development on both the Mobile FD and Mobile TC applications.
- Flight Guide iEFB Electronic Flight Bag By Airguide Publications, Inc.: There is a long history of quality charting options from Airguide. Their iOS options are many and range from basic VFR options on up to IFR with inflight weather and traffic information. Subscriptions range from $99 to $199 per year. Inflight weather comes from an optional Flight Guide FLY-Wi GPS ($299 + DC adapter) while traffic does from the optional ZAON PCAS XRX ($1495) collision avoidance system. We are looking into ways to test this full combination of gear and software before we put forward a full review.
myTransponder Inc is the aviation-centric organization behind the social media site http://mytransponder.com and other ventures. Our crew includes commercial pilots, flight instructors, aerobatic fanatics and many more. We take great pride in connecting pilots as they share their joy of aviation. Please contact us if you are interested in having us present this information or just want more information about using iPads in Aviation. Please follow us on twitter as @myTransponder or on our site http://myTransponder.com