Saturday, January 25, 2014

Aviation Software For Android

There used to be a web site that was dedicated to what aviation software was available for the android platform. That we site has gone somewhat dark. It used to be, there wasn't much to report on for Android use in the cockpit, but recently there has been almost an explosion.

The big tablet software names are not out there saying how wonderful the Android is, but that doesn't mean there is no software for the Android. There have been E6-B type applications for many years, and a couple aviation charting apps. The big guys are seeing the light, and noticing there are customers for their apps using Android tablets and phones.

The following is a sample of apps that I think is significant. 

Moving Maps

There is are several pretty good moving map package available for the Android.

Naviator is another app that is all charts for everyone. It will show as a PFD, HSI, weather or mapping and can split the screen and show two screens at once. Runs on phones and tablets, and allows you to share one license between two devices. It works with external devices, like the Zaon XRX for traffic.The subscription is $49.

Avare is a great app. Mostly it just shows charts, the FAA ones. You have to manually load them, which puts you in control, so check before you want to leave if you need any new chart updates. It works with WAC, IFR Hi/Lo and sectional charts, and merges them to a smooth display. It only works in the USA and Canada, because of the chart limitations.It supports external GPS devices as well. Best of all, it is free!

GPS Air Navigator is a navigation app for the rest of the world. It seems to be mostly VFR only, and the maps appear to be open street type maps, with airports located on them. This is free.

Fly is Fun, I just found this one. It looks interesting, but I haven't installed it. It says it has terrain, and worldwide navigation database. It says it will do approaches (ILS, VOR, NDB, GPS, DME) and the screen shots show a HSI looking device below the maps. There is a free version, and the pro version is 19.90.

The big name here is Jeppesen. Jeppesen has made terrific charts for decades, and I have used their products. They have some really amazing tools. Their web site is pretty awful, and if you can find anything useful on it, it will be by pure luck. Their Mobile terminal charts (TC) app is available for the Samsung Galaxy line of tablets. As some other sites have noted, their charts are great, too bad they can't find someone to write better software.

There are others, just hit the play store searching for "Aviation Chart".

E6-B apps

E6-B's are the aviator tools to rely on. The Wiz Wheel is still needed for taking FAA tests and such, since they don't want you googling your answers. When you aren't taking the test, it is really fine to use a computer!

AvDroid Wow, I have seen this app get better and better over the last few months. It is more than E6-B functionality, since it will get the weather, show airport information and organize it in a way that will make setting up for an approach a simple task. The free version has some limitations, the paid app is $1.59.

Aviation Pocket Knife has some basic conversion tools, gets weather and NOTAMs, and can find approach charts. It does some really handy things (like calculate descent by altitude) in an easy to use format. So many features I won't list them here, but being Free it can be quite handy.

Flighttools E6B is a really basic E6-B calculator. It doesn't try to do anything else. It calculates the time-speed-distance that you may need, cross wind calculations, and does conversions to and from everything. Again, this is free.

There are many more E6B apps for the Android. To find the E6B apps, go to the play store and search for E6B apps.


Getting weather on the tablet can be very useful. It will allow you to make some preliminary plans around a flight. Getting the weather on the tablet is better than nothing, but may not qualify for flight planning purposes. Using DUATs or Flight Service will still be needed.  

Aviation Weather is an app that allows quickly getting the weather for specific airports. It comes up with the local airports, and then allows you to search for other airports. It used to be free, but now is $1.85.

Avitation Tools is more than weather, it will fetch charts, and organize alternates. Probably pretty handy if out on a flight, and you have access to data. I have the free app, and it tries to cover the world.


There are so many other aviation related apps that I couldn't categorize. I could put together an exhaustive list, but it would take months. Trying these tools and properly reviewing all of them would be very time consuming.

IATA/ICAO  Dictionary this is one of those tools, that if you work for an airline you probably need to have. Airport codes are a mess, since IATA only uses 3 letters and only covers airline operations, where ICAO uses 4 letters and covers GA, helicopter, and airline operations. Knowing that KBBG is Branson Missouri can be handy, when the ticket on the airline say BKG. (Branson is a relatively new airport, and the Butaritari Atoll in Kiribati already used the BBG designator). It can also be handy to know that DAL is the ICAO designation for Delta airlines, and DL is the IATA designation. The tool does so much more (including weather and maps).

In-flight Instruments well this seems to be an attempt at a panel app for the Android. It doesn't quite work on my Samsung Note 10.1, but I have other apps that don't work on the note 10.1 as well. The apps shows the potential of the android platform for a backup panel. There are probably a whole slew of other apps that do it better, using the gyro and GPS fused.To be safe, it would be best to have an external attitude heading reference system bolted into the plane, and the tablet would only display the results.

X-Plane it is a limited version of the full PC simulator. I don't think it is limited because of the hardware, other than memory limitations. The controls are the tilting of the device, which I guess is similar to yoke type actions, or not. I've been able to show people what it is like to land a 777 at SFO on a VFR day, and just have fun with it when I am waiting for the dentist or something.

I could go on and on, but I want to limit this to a few titles that I have used, or thought looked interesting.


Benét J. Wilson at AOPA has a column with apps listed for both iOS and Android.

If you have a favorite app, lets start a conversation.


  1. Tom, I'm a tinker, not an engineer and would like to know how you are doing your engine monitor.

    1. If you go back several posts, I have a rough outline. The idea would be to have a small board attached to the aircraft, and use the Android tablet to display the engine specs.

      I have chosen and arduino for now, as the on board aircraft monitor system. Then any one can update the display any time they want.