For those times when you want to get a quick view of the area weather before getting an official weather briefing, AirWx is a very handy app. For a low $10 purchase price you can look up an airport and add it to a list of favorites that can offer a quick snapshot of the weather. There is no recurring subscription costs. As the developer says on his web site - "buy once, use forever."
|Favorite Airports Wx|
|Terminal Procedures List|
Under the Maps & Charts tabs you'll find VFR sectionals, NEXRAD radar, and a variety of weather charts. There currently isn't any way to cache VFR sectionals for use when you have no network access.
The last tab provides access to a variety of E6B calculations.
CFITools Preflight Wx
If you're looking for an integrated app for getting your pre-flight planning ducks in a row, it's hard to imagine a more comprehensive app than CFITools. The acronym NWKRAFT is sometimes used by pilots to remember the requirements of 14 CFR 91.103 "Preflight Action" - Notams, Weather, Known delays, Runway lengths, Alternate airports, Fuel requirements, and Takeoff/landing performance. CFITools helps you with several of these requirements - weather, runway lengths, and takeoff/landing performance for selected types of aircraft. All for a $30 investment.
Using the Current WX tab, enter a departure airport and you'll see a graphic representation of the winds and the airport's runways along with the headwind and crosswind component for those runways. You'll also see a historical plotting of the winds, visibility, ceiling, altimeter and dew point. If you're a student pilot, this is a quick way to see if the crosswind component is within the limits of your solo endorsement.
You can also create a weight and balance specification using one of the existing templates or you can create your own. If you want a record of your calculations or want to send the results to your instructor, just tap on Email.
Next comes takeoff and landing performance. Select one of the 16 available types, select the departure or destination airport, tap on Get Wx, then enter the aircraft's weight and you'll see takeoff and landing performance for the specified conditions. You get performance info for clearing a 50 foot obstacle. There isn't a way to add performance data for your own aircraft, so hopefully the type you fly is one of the supported types. For the one multi-engine aircraft supported (the Cessna 310), it would be nice to also see accelerate/stop distance, single-engine climb rate, and single-engine service ceiling. Easy for me to say, but much harder for an app developer to code!
Radio Navigation Trainer
Whether you're a student pilot still trying to master VOR and NDB navigation or a pilot who has been spending too much time flying glass panels, the RadioNav Sim could be just the ticket. This $2 app lets you display two navaid of your choice - RBI, RMI, VOR or HSI. You can drag the aircraft shown on the display and drag the OBS on both displays.
Help lines let you see the selected radial or bearing. You can turn these on or off. You can also choose to hide the aircraft if you want to test your orientation skills.
And if you want to test your VOR abilities, just tap on the Quiz Me button.
All That's Fit to Print
For iPad users who don't happen to have one of the HP printers supported by iOS 4.3.1, there's an inexpensive MacOS application that will let you print from your iPad to the printer(s) you have using your Mac. You can download Printopia for free, try it out, and if you like it, purchase it for just $10. You'll need a desktop or laptop machine running Mac OS X 10.5 or 10.6 and iOS 4.2 on your iPhone/iPod/iPad, and a printer, but this is still more affordable than buying a dedicated printer for your iPad.
Got a favorite aviation app? Shoot me an email or post a comment.