There’s really nothing special about this iPad PDF and image viewer. The magic behind the app is in the customization, which is wonderfully tailored for the cockpit. The app lets you load aircraft manuals, e-charts and anything else you want to convert from paper to digital format. There are night and day viewing modes, a whiteboard for writing notes and a chronostat page for storing times and calculations. Probably the best feature is the ability to load thousands of pages and find the one you want quickly and easily. Really, anybody could have made an app like this; it’s just that nobody else did — at least not this well executed.
We almost hesitate to put the AeroWeather app on our list because it’s tough for us to believe there are pilots out there who don’t already know about it. But I was talking with a CFI recently who fell into the group of the uninformed, and so maybe many others fit this category as well.
Like most aviation apps, the beauty of this one is its simplicity. Rather than being a full-featured weather app including Nexrad radar mosaics, satellite views, airmets, sigmets and the five-day forecast for your hometown, AeroWeather includes just metars and TAFs listed in a format that’s easy to review. You can load multiple stations to get an idea of the weather picture for your route of flight, and the app can output in raw or plain English formats, so you don’t even need to know how to read a metar.
There’s also a free “Lite” version that works great, but the additional features in the paid Pro upgrade are worth the $4 asking price. These include a built-in “nearby” list of stations, improved search functionality, the ability to e-mail weather reports and more. While it’s true other weather apps can do more, there are few you’ll click on more often.
Simple. Simple. Simple. That’s the common denominator in all of the apps that made our must-download list, and Sporty’s wonderful electronic E6B app hits the bull’s eye in this regard. This handy app includes all the classic utilities any pilot could want, plus a number of features that pros will appreciate, including Mach speed, top of climb, specific range, required rate of descent and more, all presented on an easy-to-use app interface. The electronic E6B also includes a clock/timer that always shows local, home and Zulu time, and which can count up or down, making it useful for timing approaches or knowing when to switch fuel tanks. Best of all, the app works with all versions of the Apple iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch.