The aviation industry is growing, and so are the opportunities for students to enter it. But it can be a confusing landscape for anyone who’s just getting started.
So we want to help you find the best apps for student pilots, because we know that having an app that makes your life easier and more efficient is one of the most important things you can have as a student pilot.
Here are our top picks:
Best Apps For Student Pilots
The iPad is a great tool for pilots of all skill levels, from airline captains to student pilots. In addition to displaying digital charts and navigation data in the cockpit, the iPad is also very good for both organization and as a training resource on the ground. Student pilots can take advantage of all these benefits and use the iPad to save time and money during flight training with great apps available from the App Store.
Check out this video for more tips on integrating a tablet into flight training in a safe way. For now, here are our top ten favorite apps for student pilots:
- Stratus Insight
Appareo relaunched this app in 2020 with a host of flight planning and weather tools, but the most useful feature for student pilots is the speech-to-text option for radio communications. With an adapter cable to connect your iPad to the intercom, the app will record and translate everything that comes over the radio—ideal for learning how to interpret ATC’s instructions.
Stratus Insight is available free in the App Store; a subscription costs $99.99/year.
This all-in-one app from aviation’s largest pilot organization includes dozens of features, from articles to planning tools. But the Pilot Passport feature is particularly interesting for pilots. It offers a wide variety of events and activities, offering inspiration for your next flight, and helps you keep track of where you’ve been. You can use the badge system to set goals and celebrate new achievements.
AOPA is available free in the App Store (AOPA membership required for some features).
This powerful app makes it easy to record and debrief your flight lessons, complete with chart overlays, altitude graphs and automatic maneuver detection. Want to see how your S-turns across a road look? CloudAhoy will show you. Use the free app to record your flight, or upload track logs from ForeFlight.
CloudAhoy is free to download in the App Store; an annual subscription costs $65.
- LiveATC Air Radio
One of the best ways to learn ATC communication is to spend some time at a towered airport with a handheld radio and listen to the ATC/pilot interactions from the ground. This app allows you to do just that, but from anywhere you have an internet connection. LiveATC provides over 1,000 live audio feeds from all over the world of towered airport, approach and ARTCC frequencies.
LiveATC Air Radio is available for $3.99 in the App Store.
Every student pilot should carry a copy of the FAR/AIM with them, and this iPad app version makes it easier than ever. It includes all the applicable federal aviation regulations, the complete Aeronautical Information Manual (AIM), Pilot/Controller Glossary and more. Use the table of contents to go to a specific section, or use the search feature to quickly find what you’re looking for.
FAR/AIM is available for $9.99 in the App Store.
- Plane English
PlaneEnglish appThis interactive radio simulator walks students through a variety of scenarios, from the basics of the phonetic alphabet to complicated taxi routes at busy airports. Follow the prompts and talk right to your phone or iPad. The app uses voice recognition and speech analysis to offer instantaneous feedback, so you know what needs work.
PlaneEnglish is available for free in the App Store; a six-month subscription costs $39.99.
- E6B Flight Computer
The E6B app from Sporty’s represents the next generation of flight computer, with its roots dating back to the mechanical version designed for military pilots in the 1930s. The powerful iPhone/iPad app expands on all the features of the traditional E6B, including 23 aviation functions, 20 conversions and complete timer features. It’s a great way to calculate groundspeed, density altitude and many other crucial numbers.
Sporty’s E6B flight computer is available for $9.99 in the App Store.
- Infinite Flight Simulator
Ok, so this one might not help you pass your written test or solve a weight and balance problem, but it sure is a lot of fun! The simulation and aerodynamics are very realistic, allowing you to practice your maneuvers in the Cessna 172 or Cub. There’s even a training server where you can interact with other pilots and ATC in real-time to practice your communication skills.
Infinite Flight Simulator is available for free in the App Store but requires a paid subscription to enable full functionality.
- ForeFlight/Garmin Pilot/FltPlan Go/FlyQ
A good Electronic Flight Bag (EFB) app is just about essential for a student pilot. These all-in-one planning and navigation apps can do an amazing number of tasks, from weather briefings to moving maps. There are many apps to choose from, but ForeFlight, Garmin Pilot, FltPlan Go and FlyQ are the most popular options, with ForeFlight firmly established at #1.
It includes VFR flight plan filing and weather briefings, digital sectionals and airport/facility directory, in-flight navigation when used with a GPS, in-flight weather (from ADS-B or SiriusXM receivers), and more. Instrument student pilots will also appreciate the included IFR en route and approach charts. There are even options for a checklist, digital logbook, and weight and balance calculations. While we don’t recommend student pilots forget about paper sectionals altogether, ForeFlight serves as a reference for all your aviation data needs.
ForeFlight Mobile is $99.99 per year for the Basic Plus subscription, or $199.99 per year for the Pro Plus subscription (includes all VFR/IFR charts and updates for the U.S.).
- Sporty’s Learn to Fly Course and Pilot Training app
Sporty’s Pilot Training app includes a wealth of training resources for student pilots all in one convenient app. The featured course in the app is Sporty’s Learn to Fly Course, which offers over 20 hours of engaging HD video training, written test prep, and maneuvers training. Upon successful completion, the course also provides pilots with an endorsement take the official FAA knowledge test. It also offers lots of free resources for student pilots, like digital FAA handbooks, a flight school finder, videos on how to start your flight training and a complete syllabus.
Sporty’s Learn to Fly Course is available to test drive in the app for free, and you can then purchase the full course from within the app for $249.99 (includes complete Private, Sport and Recreational modules).
The Pilot Training app offers access to over 25 aviation courses, including Sporty’s Instrument Rating Course, Aviation Weather, Flying with ForeFlight, Flight Review, Garmin G1000 and avionics training, VFR and IFR Communications, Aerobatics, and transition courses for helicopters, seaplanes, gliders and multiengine airplanes. The Pilot Training app is also available for Android, AppleTV and RokuTV.
best aviation apps for android
If you’re looking for the best app out there to make the most of your flying, we have compiled a list of what we think are the top seven apps out there for pilots. Although most of them are subscription based, many offer trial periods or “lite” versions of the applications so that you can try them out before purchasing. Nonetheless, most are well worth the investment and contribute tremendously to your flying experiences.
ForeFlight is probably one of the most popular apps out there. The application offers full VFR and IFR sectionals, interactive flight planning tools as well as up to date IFR approach and procedure plates. On top of this there are tons of small features such as an electronic logbook, flight tracking and debriefing, weight and balance calculators, synthetic vision while in flight etc. They offer both a standard and “pro” subscription. The standard subscription is currently $99/year while the pro subscription runs at $199/year.
ForeFlight is great for both VFR and IFR rated pilots. The software makes flight planning a breeze, and users have the option to save aircraft date for future flight planning needs. The app also allows users to log onto DUATS to file flight plans as well as obtain weather briefings right on the application. You can find out more using the link below or search for the product on the App store. ForeFlight is currently only available on Apple products.
For those Android users out there, or someone looking for an alternative to ForeFlight, Garmin Pilot offers many of the same features as ForeFlight. Many pilots try both out as essentially they perform the same functions, however it is up to each individual to decide which software works best for them. Garmin Pilot has a different user interface in terms of using the application, and many pilots who are familiar with their products including their G650 and G1000 units, will find this to be an extremely user friendly application to use. Sectionals, Approach plates, flight planning tools, synthetic vision, Garmin Pilot offers all you need for a richer flying experience.
The standard subscription price for Garmin pilot is currently priced at $74.99/year. You can find out more using the link below.
For pilots looking for an electronic logbook, Logten Pro offers a great product. Besides from the standard electronic logbook feature used to log and track flights, Logten pro offers a whole lot more. Pilots are able to easily check total times, route histories and even verify they have met requirements for a certificate using the application. All flights are arranged and sorted in easy to use tables and graphs so that reading and extracting data off the software is simple and efficient. For professional pilots, the application offers easy transfer of logbook data over onto your airline applications as well as pre fills form 8710 for you! The application is FREE for student pilots up to 250 hours and then will be $79/year going forward. There are various subscription bases, read more about them
Live ATC is great for pilots or fellow plane spotters alike. The application allows pilots to listen to live ATC feeds throughout the U.S and select international airports. The app is useful for student pilots especially or any pilot not used to operating in a controlled airport environment, pilots can listen in on frequencies to get more familiar with ATC terms or calls. There is also a web based application you can listen to using a PC browser, however an application for a one-time fee of $4.99 is available on the app store.
AeroWeather is a great little app for checking Metars and TAF’s at airports. Once downloaded the application allows you to customize stations so that you can add local airports around you or airports you are travelling to in order to check the weather. Pilots have the option of looking at data in a raw or decoded format. The application also will give pilots a quick overview icon indication if a station is currently reporting VFR, MVFR, IFR or LIFR. There are two versions of the application, AeroWeather Lite and AeroWeather Pro, the lite version is free of charge and the Pro Version is $2.99 which has added features and offers no advertising on the app.
This App is great for both pilots and Flight Instructors. Cloud Ahoy offers full flight tracking including route and inflight data history logging. This means flight instructors can easily look back at a flight or lesson done with a student, and view data such as airspeeds, altitude, flight path, ground track etc. The data is all put into comprehensive tables making it easy to read and understand, approaches to landing are even put into comparison with glide slopes, making it easier to identify where students are making errors in flight.
For general aviation pilots simply flying, the app is a great tool for you to ensure you are staying on track and being safe in the operation of your aircraft. Once you are done with you flight, log onto the app and get a quick debrief of how you did, no CFI needed! The App has a 35-day trial period, after the trial has expired the annual membership is $65/year.
Storm is a weather based app that is essential for safe summer flying. The app is an interactive radar that will show current radar images in the area around you. Users are able to put different layers into the application depending on what data they want. “Storm Track “shows users what the current predicted track of the storm is, and includes information such as arrival times of the storms at current locations, severity of the cell etc. Best of all, the App is FREE on the app store and is available on Android platforms too
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