Editor's pick: Top 10 apps for 2012Editor's pick: Top 10 apps for 2012
December 21, 2012By Benét J. Wilson
Although I only started this column in late October, I thought it would be a good idea to end the year with my top 10. Below are my picks, in no particular order. These are not endorsements of any app.
Wing X Pro 7 (99 cents)—When multiple people send the same app as their must-have, then of course it had to be included on this list. Members waxed poetic about features including aviation moving maps, Zaon traffic integration, VFR sectionals, IFR low and hi en route charts, ADS-B Nexrad, geo-referenced approach charts, TFRs, and fuel prices. The app is free for a 30-day trial; after that, it costs $99.95 annually. Synthetic vision is a separate $99.95 annual subscription. Viewing your aircraft's location on an approach chart requires a $74.99 ChartData subscription. Fuel Prices require a $29.95 subscription. Wing X is available in Google Play.
Garmin Pilot ($9.99/month)—Subscribers gain access to real-time data along your route or at airports, including radar, visible and infrared clouds, airmets, sigmets, and lightning. The app is available on Android.
Sporty’s Learn to Fly Course ($249.00)—Now before you start hyperventilating about the price of this app, this is around the same price you’d pay for a 6-week ground school course. What you get with this app are really cool 3-D animations to explain key aviation concepts, a study guide cross-referenced to what you’ve been learning, and a complete lesson-by-lesson syllabus so you know what to expect. Sporty’s also guarantees that you’ll pass all three tests or they will refund your full purchase price. And as a working mother, I appreciate being able to take my lessons on my own schedule.
LiveATC Air Radio ($2.99)—Back in May, Frederick Municipal Airport at AOPA’s headquarters in Frederick, Md., became a towered airport. I was nervous enough talking to ATC before the tower opened, but now, I’m still a bit of a nervous wreck. So this app (along with this free Air Safety Institute online course) has been a great tool to help me overcome my radio fears.
X-Plane Flight Simulator for iPad($9.99)—I thought my original flight instructor was a bit crazy when he recommended I get this app. But now I understand the method behind his madness. Besides being just a big pile of fun, you really can pick up techniques that can be used during the real thing.
Cloud Ahoy (free)—This free app gets much love from those who want to review their training flights, but it does require an iPad or iPhone with GPS. A member said he can see all the maneuvers performed while keeping a level flight.
Survival Pocket Ref By Double Dog Studios (99 cents)—You don’t want to think about survival skills in case of an accident, but this iPhone app helps you prepare for the worst. It offers 500 pages of information created by the U.S. Department of Defense, including first aid, building shelter, evasion tactics, and finding food and water.
AirWX ($9.99)—This iPhone/iPad app came highly recommended by AOPA members on our Facebook page. It also has a 3.5 star rating in iTunes. Users can get the latest METARs, TAFs, and weather charts for airports across the United States. You can also see sectional charts and get a list of airports close to your current location. The information in the app is automatically updated monthly. The app is available on Android.
ForeFlight Mobile—There are a lot of Foreflight fans out there. Members lauded this app for ease of use for sectionals, flight planning, GPS tracking, weather and filing VFR plans, among other things. The app is free, but an annual subscription starts at $74.99 a year for one pilot; ForeFlight pro starts at $149.99 a year. The Android version is ForeFlight Weather ($9.99), and only covers weather.
Sporty’s Aviation Weight & Balance iPad/iPhone App ($9.99)—This app allows users to build unique aircraft or make use of a pre-defined template library covering more than 160 aircraft. It handles U.S. and metric measurements and alerts you when you’ve exceeded limitations.