Apps for Pilots

Ever since the early days of the E6B flight computer, pilots, navigators, and aerial engineers have been bringing various analog and digital tools into cockpits for the purpose of enhancing their flight experience. Although modern avionics provide pilots with a plethora of flight instruments and tools, there is something nice about boarding the aircraft with a shiny iPad or a powerful Android tablet loaded with the following mobile apps:

WingX Pro7

This award-winning app comes with an impressive endorsement: developer Hilton Software is the recipient of a $17 million contract awarded by the United States National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency. Similar to Garmin Pilot, WingX Pro7 provides every kind of chart that pilots need in the cockpit: from VFR sectionals to IFR en route and from geo-referenced to ADS-B NEXRAD weather overlays. The pinch and zoom functionality of this app makes it one of the best for charting.

AeroWeather

Although there are hundreds of weather apps available to the aviation community, AeroWeather stands out thanks to it simplified interface and data structure. Meteorological stations at all airports around the world can be displayed with a quick search and a couple of taps, and the information is decoded into a format that is easy to assimilate. The iOS version of AeroWeather links to the Apple Watch.

CloudAhoy

Thanks to debriefing apps such as CloudAhoy, students, and professional pilots are able to review training sessions, routes, scenarios, and more. In essence, CloudAhoy is a cloud service connected to a massive knowledge base that is rich in VFR, IFR, weather, local rules, satellite imagery, aircraft specs and more. Not only does CloudAhoy present all details related to flight routes and cockpit activity; it also provides valuable analysis and a full review of instrumentation feedback. This app even includes social media features so that interesting and scenic flights can be shared with friends.

SkyDemon

Quite a few European pilots are very familiar with this popular flight planning app, which is a powerful VFR charting tool that provides some of the highest resolutions for layers and airspace clipping. METAR and SIGMET information is displayed during the planning and briefing stages, and it can be reviewed during the flight; live weather updates are displayed as long as an internet connection is available. SkyDemon also features an automatic pilot log that is accurately recorded along with GPS data on devices with navigation features.

What Being A Pilot Teaches You About Life

In life, there are any number of crossovers between where we learn certain lessons and where we can apply them. The natural world also has a great deal to teach us about the unwritten rules of life. There are rules of business that also apply to our personal relationships, rules of physics that also apply to finance and what our kids have to teach us can also help us succeed in our adult relationships. Flying is no different. Being a pilot has a number of life lessons to teach. Here are three.

All of life is a trade-off

In the world of aviation, trade-offs abound. To gain one thing, you must sacrifice another. Higher payload decreases speed and fuel efficiency and for best fuel efficiency at a higher payload, you have to sacrifice speed. There is a common phrase used in business, which is “good, fast, cheap: pick two.” In life you can have anything you want, but you can’t have it all. Invariably, life forces you to pick one or two of the most important things and sacrifice the rest. Just like life, flying airplanes is all about trade-offs.

Worrying doesn’t solve anything – and neither does panic.

One thing any pilot is constantly aware of is that anything can go wrong at any time and risks are always higher when you are thousands of feet in the air. A flashing red light in a car might be a cause for concern but not necessarily alarm. For the most part, you just have to pull to the side of the road, but you are still on terra firma the whole time. Not so in an airplane. Worrying, however, doesn’t do anything but keep you grounded. Pilots know the risks, they accept the risks, they do their due diligence – and then they get up in the air, risks and all.

They train for events like engine failures and flashing red lights so they don’t panic when it happens. Pilots are trained to stay focused and work through the problem rather than panicking. This is a skill that carries them through almost any problem, in the sky or on the ground.

Life is not fair

Most pilots know someone who has died in a crash. Many times, these pilots are some of the most careful pilots in aviation, studiously checking every nut and bolt of their craft before alighting into the skies. Most pilots also know of careless pilots who sail through their pre-flight checks with an alarming lack of proper attention; and yet, they just keep flying year after year. Life is not fair. There is no accounting for who succeeds and who fails. You just have to keep doing your own rigorous pre-flight checks and try not to fly with those who don’t.

How to Get Your Pilot’s License

There’s no feeling quite like flying a plane. At thousands of feet above the ground, you cut through the air with the ease and precision of a bird, something humans years ago would never have imagined possible. It’s an indescribable sensation like no other, on top of being a convenient mode of transportation that allows you to travel literally “as the crow flies.” With as gratifying as it is to learn to fly, there’s no reason anyone shouldn’t go through the steps necessary to get your pilot’s license, as long as you pass the requirements.

In order to be eligible for your pilot’s license, there are a few things that are required of you. First and foremost, you need to be physically healthy and have a proficient grasp of the English language, as English is the language used most commonly used by air traffic controllers. While other languages are definitely spoken over the radios, if requested, you must be able to communicate in English. Much like driving a car, you also need to be a certain age to get your pilot’s license. Although you can’t receive a regular pilot’s license until you reach 17, at 16 you can get your student pilot’s certificate where you can lay some groundwork and learn the basics for when you’re old enough. Once you’re ready, here are the necessary steps to getting your pilot’s license.

  1. Find a school and get yourself enrolled.

Do some research and find yourself a school that seems like it would be a good fit for you. If you need help, the Aircraft Owners and Pilot’s Association has a database of all licensed flight instructors.

  1. Get your health checked.

Just like you need a physical to play sports in high school, before you can be cleared to fly a plane you need to be deemed “in good health” by an Airman Medical Examiner designated by the FAA.

  1. Learn the basics.

Before anyone is going to let you hop into a plane and fly it, you’re going to need to learn a lot about piloting. On top of all of the work you’re assigned during your ground course, it’s also a good idea to broaden your pool of knowledge with any informational materials you can get your hands on.

  1. Fly.

Once you’ve learned all of the basics and fundamentals of piloting, it’s time to put those lessons into action in the air. The FAA mandates that all student pilots undergo at least 40 hours of time in the air before you can get your license, and of those 40, at least 20 hours need to be with an instructor. Keep in mind that these are the minimum requirements, and many students spend much more time in the air practicing. In this “flying phase,” there are three important steps:

A. Dual flying – As mentioned, you need to fly for at least 20 hours with an instructor when you’re first beginning to learn.

B. Solo flying – Here’s where you take the reigns and get in some time practicing flying all by yourself.

C. Written exam – For part of your examination to earn your license, you need to take a 60 multiple-choice question exam to assess how well you’ve retained from your first lessons.

D. Flight test – The very last step, just like your driving test, is your flight test. You’ll be required to answer questions and then the instructor will board the plane with you to assess your skills.

Flight Safety Tips

Flying in aircrafts wasn’t made for fun, but for fast and easy travel. However, flying thousands of feet in the air can be very stressful, especially when something goes wrong. Thankfully, aircrafts are required by law to follow specific guidelines and standards which makes flying very safe. However, an emergency can happen at any given moment. Be sure to follow these tips to ensure maximum safety during your air flight.

Dress Accordingly

There is no such thing as taking too much precaution when preparing for a flight. One of the best things to do is to travel light and easy. Although it may not may not be ideal or easy, packing only the most important things can save you the energy and hassle of carrying all of your belongings in the event of an emergency. Also be sure to wear comfortable clothing. Although some may say to wear your bulkiest clothing on the plane, this can actually create more hassle if you’re worried about getting up and on your feet quickly. Be sure to wear comfortable clothing and avoid heels, flip flops, and long skirts and dresses. To be ultimately prepared, make sure you have your most important items packed and ready to go with you in the event of an emergency.

Pay Attention to your Surroundings

When you arrive at the airport be sure to pay close attention to everything going on. For one, you’re in an area filled with tons of people rushing in and out of the airport. You never know what can happen. Get through check-in and security as quickly as possible. When on the plane, be sure to pay close attention to the flight attendants and read through the safety manuals on the plane. Look around and make sure you know where the oxygen masks, floaters and exit doors are. In any case of an emergency be sure you put your oxygen mask first before you help others.

Have a Clear Head

Although trying to find ways to relax on a flight can be a hard thing to do, you must remember to have a clear head and mind at all times. For instance, alcohol is one of the worst things to drink on a plane. For one it’s super expensive and the pressure in the air can cause you to feel more lightheaded and uneasy. If you have a long flight, you may think that popping a Nyquil will help you sleep better, however, in the event of an emergency, the last thing you want to do is be drowsy, dizzy and not know what’s going on. Instead, find natural ways to relax by listening to music, sipping on water, and moving around as much as you can throughout your flight. If anything should happen, you’ll be glad to know you’re alert and ready to go.