Pilots Offer Up Their Favorite iPhone Apps
5:27 PM on Dec 16, 2009
One of the things I love best about Twitter is the chatter among the rabid aviation geeks and enthusiasts, myself included. Earlier this week, I saw a tweet from Jason Wolf of the National Business Aviation Association on pilots and their iPhones. There was a conversation on NBAA’s Air Mail on what apps pilots liked best.
I don’t have an iPhone, but I do have an iPod Touch, and on another day, I’ll list the apps I can’t live without. Wolfe was kind enough to email me contact information to some of the pilots who were part of the discussion. I asked them 3 simple questions:
- What flight-related iPhone apps do you have on your iPhone?
- If you could just choose 1, which one would it be and why?
- How has the iPhone changed how you do your job?
John Sieckowski of Aircraft Management Group Inc.’s list included: FLTPLAN.com; Aero Weather; Airnav; WSI Pilotbrief; Weather Channel; Ac-U- Kwik; and Flightaware. “The one app is Aero Weather. It is quick simple and decoded,” he said. “No more worrying about carrying a computer or wondering if an FBO has computer access. My flight plan routing and data is sent to my iPhone. It’s the best device since Mr. Bell invented the telephone !”
Kim Welch of Air Star Charter has FltPlan.com, along with its Flight Deck, the Weather Channel, Flight Aware and AeroWeather. He also has a spreadsheet that allows him to run Excel files for weight and balance and fuel calculations.
But his top choice would be FltPlan.com. “It allows me to file and amend flight plans from anywhere, and also offers most of the weather and airport info that the other mentioned apps are used for,” he said.
The iPhone has freed me from being tied to my laptop or computers in FBOs and hotels, said Welch. “While in the car or in a restaurant, for example, I can respond to changes in the planned schedule by checking wx and re-filing for a different departure time or destination. That way, the paperwork is out of the way before I reach the airport,” he said.
It has given me alternative means of re-filing a flight plan right from the cockpit when the previous one has expired in busy airports, said Welch. “For calling an FBO to make arrangements or an ASOS or AWOS to determine present wx, it has made the task as simple as finding the airport in Flight Deck, and touching the AWOS or FBO phone number shown on the phone screen,” he said. “No more dialing or writing down phone numbers. Last but not least, it has made finding restaurants and hotels in layover cities far easier and quicker by offering both guides and the GPS to find the one selected.”
Bill Quinn of Aviation Management Systems, Inc. uses NEXRAD weather radar, Radar Scope, Flight Tracker, Flightplan, NOAA and TFRs through AOPA. “There are many non-flight related apps that also help support the overall process, like Safari, Google Earth, compass and maps,” he said.
Henry Lopez , a captain in the Atlanta Flight Dept. for Kimberly-Clark Corporation uses aviation.mobi, Arinc and he has the web address to the NOAA.gov website as an icon. “I would have to say that I use the NOAA site the most. The satellite images and aviation weather info is very valuable to me,” he said. “It has helped me out so much, especially when I am at a location where Internet access is NIL. It has made my life and aviation decision making much easier.”
Like me, Mike Kullenberg, Chief Pilot at Copper Station Holdings uses an iPod Touch. “I primarily use Wingx, which has a great many functions for the pilot, including: government approach plates, FARs and the AIM, lots of calculator functions, weather text and graphics, AOPA and FAA airport guides and lots more,” he said. “It costs $99 a year, and so far it has been a fantastic tool.”
Kullenberg also uses a generic PDF reader to store scanned versions of all aircraft documents, along with all of our crew documents. “This gives very convenient access to loads of information. It also frees up space in the airplane, since we no longer need to keep some of the documents on board,” he added.
“It's absolutely great to have one very small device that does so many informational tasks very well,” said Kullenberg. “I have been an early adopter of most of the portable technologies including the Palm devices, and the Windows Mobile stuff, and so far the iTouch/iPhone is the only one I have found consistently useful. Plus it plays all my music.”
ba99, iphone, pilots, apps