Updated: Aug 6, 2019
In 2017 we looked at some of the top apps available to pilots in the UK and Europe. Since then, there have been plenty of releases and upgrades bringing even more functionality and capabilities to your tablet device.
Here we look at some of our favourite pilot apps for 2019. This list deliberately avoids some of the more well-known apps with the intention of shining a light on some of the lesser-known ones.
1. EasyVFR 4
EasyVFR has always been a favourite with pilots as the free version offers simple moving map flight following with airspace and NOTAM alerts along with a clear interface and traffic input support.
Version four of EasyVFR is currently in early access and should be released in the next few months. This payware version offers full flight planning facilities, dynamic airspace alerts (removing airspace that is not active at the time of your flight), vector mapping and highly accurate weather forecasting. Prices start from €69 per year.
2. EU MET SAT (Free)
This is a browser based application which allows you to view weather imagery from various satellites. This can provide all sorts of information including precipitation, cloud base, icing and snow and even hot spots on the earth's surface. This is exceptionally useful for cross country flight planning.
Foreflight is one of the most popular flight planning and navigation apps used in the USA with a huge array of features. The company is now part of Boeing and has been slowly plugging away at a European version and it is finally at a point where it can compete with the bigger brands in Europe.
There is not much this app cannot do with synthetic vision, VFR auto routing, weather visualisation and radar views. It incorporates with most traffic systems and provides detailed aircraft diagrams simply by zooming in on them. It even includes a passenger version which provides all sorts of information such as time en-route and a map with the names of surrounding towns and rivers to keep them occupied!
Foreflight certainly feels like the most professional software available but its not the most expensive starting at £79.99 per year though some of the high-end features only come with the Pro Plus and Professional versions at £159.99 and £239.99 per year respectively.
4. Airspace Explorer by NATS (Freeware)
This app is a public facing, stripped down version of NATS' own internal system which is used to provide situational awareness to controllers. It depicts air traffic in UK airspace and around the world. The difference between this app and others such as FlightRadar24 is that this is the only app which provides information directly from UK radar stations. It also offers a cool 3D view allowing you to see the vertical separation between the traffic.
5. Air Navigation Pro
This app has been around for a long time and many judged it to be poor when it first come out as the interface was not intuitive and the app was not stable. However, Air Nav Pro has come a long way and now boasts some of the best features around. The app comes with synthetic vision, UK CAA Charts as standard, flight plan filing, and automatic mass and balance calculations. It also offers the ability for friends and family to track your flight live simply by sharing a URL. It also allows them to download your flights and view them in Google Earth.
Air Nav Pro works with an array of sensors including PilotAware and Flarm. One of the things I like most about it is the Collaborating Traffic Sharing system. When enabled, this feature will download all traffic from other Air Nav Pro users and any traffic detected from their sensors (for example PilotAware). It will also upload any traffic that you have detected and share it with other users. The result is increased traffic depiction for all users. Air Nav Pro starts at £75.99 and includes CAA Charts as standard.
Please note that Android version is somewhat behing the iOS version and has reduced features.
6. SkyDemon Light (Freeware)
The light version of SkyDemon is available as an app or you can use it through your browser. Although it does not offer flight following and GPS facilities, it is a great tool for flight planning and NOTAM checks. It allows you to plan routes and calculate leg times, check NOTAMS, view airspace en-route and more. As a flying instructor, SkyDemon Light is part of my daily routine to check the local airspace for NOTAMS. The app makes this a simple task rather than using the Aeronautical Information service which is more time consuming.
7. VFR Course Calculator
If you plan your flights on paper using the triangle of velocities method, then VFR Course Calculator may save you a lot of time and work. This simple will give you heading, ground speed, wind correction angle and drift in a few clicks. This makes your calculations more accurate and your flight planning will take a fraction of the time. As this app is used on a tablet or phone, it would not be suitable for use in the Navigation theoretical exams.
Do you know of any other apps that we have missed? If so comment below to let us know!
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