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Apps for Pilots

6 Best Apps for Pilots | A Guide for Student Pilots




In this article you’ll find the 6 apps every student pilot should have on their tablet or phone.

Imagine if the Apollo astronauts who landed on the Moon had had smartphones; what apps would they have had?

Instead of manual slide rules and E6B flight calculators, their smartphones could have plotted their trajectories, calculated their performance, and maybe even told them about the aliens watching the whole thing…assuming the aliens had ADS-B, of course.

As a student pilot, you’ll still need to know how to manually plot courses, read charts, calculate performance, and watch for aliens.

But our smartphones and tablets now offer an astounding variety of apps to help us as pilots.

Here’s a look at some of the best apps for new student pilots.

Six Great Student Pilot Apps

The longer you fly, the more useful apps you’ll collect on your phone or tablet.

Some apps help you study and learn, others help you plan each flight, and some apps help you while flying.

And, of course, don’t forget apps like X-Plane that inspire you to keep going!

Here’s a look at six great apps that will help you as a student pilot.

If you’re still looking for a pilot tablet, check out our article on the best iPad for pilots.

ForeFlight Mobile EFB

Foreflight app for Pilots

The core of any pilot’s collection of apps is their EFB, or Electronic Flight Bag.

These apps replace all those heavy charts and books pre-tablet pilots carried in their flight bags.

There are numerous EFB options, but one app stands above all the others: ForeFlight.

ForeFlight has been around for over a decade and has constantly updated and improved its offerings to make it the absolute best EFB.

Besides being a chart viewer and planning tool, ForeFlight packs an unbelievable number of features into one app. It does:

  • Pre-flight briefings
  • Weather
  • NOTAMs
  • Flight plan filing
  • Performance calculations
  • Weight and balance calculations
  • Digital checklists
  • Logbook
  • Library to store all your aviation-related PDF textbooks.

However, there are some caveats about ForeFlight that you should know before going in.

For one, the app only supports Apple iOS products, so you’ll need an iPad or iPhone.

Second, it doesn’t come cheap, but it does represent an incredible value. Depending on your selected package, your monthly subscription will cost between $10 and $30. There are also tons of add-ons you might want in the future. 

If you need an EFB but are not an Apple user, getting an iPad just for cockpit use (and to use ForeFlight) is worth it.

A few alternatives to ForeFlight that work on Android devices include Garmin Pilot, iFly EFB, WingX Pro, FltPlan Go, and Avare. 


Windy App for Pilots

It’s not pilot-specific, but Windy is a great app for getting weather information.

It has more features and information than can be listed here, but it’s important to realize that you can overlay some specific aviation items onto the charts. 

For current conditions, you can turn on reported winds at airports. You can also display airports, showing colored circles indicating whether the field reports IFR, MVFR, or VFR conditions.

Tapping on an airport will bring up its reported conditions and forecast, including raw METAR and TAF aviation text weather products. Windy also has some of the best and easiest-to-use Doppler radar and satellite image layers.

Playing with the forecast layers can give you even more insight into what’s happening aloft.

The default wind view shows surface winds or gusts, but you can adjust a slider to show the winds at any altitude from the surface to 100,000 feet.

You can choose which weather model to display:

  • The ECMWF (Euro)
  • GFS (US NWS)
  • ICON global models
  • The short-term HRRR or NAM detailed US forecasts

In addition to winds, the app can show 52 total forecast layers, including cloud bases, thermals, CAPE index, fog, thunderstorm risk, and many others.

Tapping any location on the map pulls up more options that allow you to compare forecasts for that spot, including a nifty “Meteogram” that graphically shows the heights and bases of clouds. 

AeroWeather Lite and Pro

Aeroweather app for pilots

Windy has so many features that it sometimes feels like information overload.

AeroWeather is a simple app that only displays airport weather reports and forecasts. It works like your phone’s default Weather app but with pilot-centric data.

Add your list of favorite airports from anywhere in the world, and it will display their current weather on a list.

Tap the airport and view the past METAR reports and TAF forecasts. You can set it to decode the aviation products, but where’s the challenge in that?

If you like the program and want a little more, a Pro (paid) version is also available.

CloudAhoy by ForeFlight

Cloudy by Foreflight App

CloudAhoy is an add-on for ForeFlight users that allows you to display and replay information recorded during your flight.

For flight training, it’s the ultimate tool for debriefing how you did and what you learned. 



Not all apps have to be flashy to be useful.

The ASA FAR/AIM app is essentially just a digital textbook of the regulations pertinent to pilots, the FAA’s Aeronautical Information Manual, and the Pilot/Controller Glossary.

The app, however, is easy to search and keeps itself updated.

You can organize the regulations based on the license you’re training for, allowing you to focus on the ones you really need to know. You can highlight and bookmark to your heart’s content, as well. 

Aviation Dictionary

Aviation Dictionary for Pilots

Here’s another simple but infinitely useful app for student pilots.

This app is nothing more than a dictionary of aviation terms, abbreviations, and acronyms—in short, all those things you might struggle to learn when first starting.

The app also includes airport, airline, and aircraft codes that you might see on weather or ATC reports.

What are your favorite apps for pilots?

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