AIN Special Reports

Pilots Embrace Aviation Apps

 - January 23, 2018, 8:46 AM

For this year’s AIN Special Report on Aviation Apps, we conducted a survey of AIN readers who are pilots, to learn what apps they use regularly while flying.

The survey was open from Dec. 26, 2017, through Jan. 8, 2018, and generated 589 responses.

The following three questions aren’t shown in the charts in this article:
• What is your primary type of flying?

• What accessories do you regularly use with your mobile device while flying?

• Which mobile device operating system do you use regularly for aviation apps?

The majority of respondents, 69 percent, fly in Part 91 (non-commercial) operations, while 15 percent fly under Part 135 (charter), and 11 percent Part 121 (airline). About 5 percent of respondents selected the “other” category, and these responses included a variety of operational types such as fractional, flight training, flight test, public use, and others.

There are three primary operating systems in use on mobile devices: Apple’s iOS, Google’s Android, and Microsoft’s Windows 10. As expected, most pilots are flying with iOS-powered devices such as Apple iPads, with 94 percent responding thusly. Android users accounted for nearly 11 percent of the responses, while Windows garnered nearly 5 percent.

The majority of aviation apps are available for iOS, with many also available on Android. The Windows platform has a lot of catching up to do in the aviation world, although it is supported by a major developer, Jeppesen.

We asked respondents what accessories they fly with when using their apps. Almost 58 percent said they fly with a GPS receiver, which drives the own-ship position display on moving maps. Many fewer, just 22.5 percent fly with a combined ADS-B In receiver with AHRS sensors, which allows display of synthetic vision and attitude information. Nineteen percent fly with ADS-B In alone. Although the subscription to Sirius XM WX isn’t free, as is ADS-B In weather and traffic information, and the Sirius receivers are a fairly recent addition to the aviation mobile device ecosystem, this tallied 17 percent of responses to this question. (ADS-B In and Sirius XM work primarily in the U.S.) Just over 5 percent said they fly with an action camera. 

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