Top Smartphone (and Tablet) Apps for Drone Pilots

We're outside and about to lift-off on an unprecedented flight to capture the most amazing imagery the world has ever seen. The skies are bright, cloudless, and blue; the afternoon sun is at just the perfect angle casting gorgeous shadows as they play across the landscape. We've calibrated our compass and just before we're up-an-away... a CRASH of thunder and we're running back to the car!

This is an experience many of us pilots can recall.Just when we're ready to fly, something changes at the last second and we're caught in a new dynamic we didn't prepare for.

It's for those moments that I met with our team of expert pilots and technicians here at UAVDirect to put together a list of our favorite downloadable apps to keep you prepared and ahead of the changes that could mark the decision of whether or not to take to the skies.

Weather, though a big factor isn't by itself that we might want to keep track of. You'll see that we've included a pretty good assortment of apps that you may also want to start thumbing through, as well.

Flight Planning and Guides

Whether you’re a beginner or veteran pilot of multirotor aircraft, these apps are a great way to stay one step ahead of the curve and make your flights a fun and safe experience. Recording your flights and maintenance performed to your drone are good practice for any pilot, and user guides out in the field serve as a great tool for remembering the sequence of proper operation.,/

DJI Phantom Flight Helper – (Free) A Condensed “take anywhere” user manual with tips and guides for safe flight, LED charts, and even a handy timer for your DJI Phantom 2 series UAV.

UAV Logbook – (Free) Simple and easy management of UAV flights with exportable data.

RPAS Logger Plus – ($9.99) Pro-level logging of flights and UAV maintenance records. This powerful application is an absolute must for expert pilots. (Eric’s Suggestion)

Weather

There’s a saying down here in Texas: “If you don’t like the weather, wait five minutes.” Be prepared for changes in the weather by monitoring conditions wherever you are. Knowing what the sky is planning before your flights will save you a lot of heartache and make for getting the job done a lot easier. Consider a space-weather application as well. Being aware of geomagnetic activity is a must for safe and accurate UAV operations.

Accuweather – (Free) Real-time weather info with superior accuracy worldwide, radar and satellite maps, predictive charts that are accurate to the minute. (Eric’s Top Suggestion)

The Weather Channel – (Free) Real-time weather info with high-resolution maps, local forecasts, and more.

NASA Space Weather – (Free) Invaluable up-to-the-minute geomagnetic weather monitoring with Planetary Kp, Solar Flare / CME monitoring

K-Index Monitor – (Free) Condensed and simple application with real-time monitoring and alerts for geomagnetic storms that can affect UAV flight. (Eric’s Top Suggestion)

GPS and Mapping

Knowing where you are and what’s around you is your first preflight check. UAV Pilots need access to maps showing flight-zone restrictions and contact info for airport towers in order to fly with security and safety. When travelling, knowing GPS connectivity in unfamiliar areas is paramount to safe and accurate flight. Consider the apps below.

Garmin Pilot – (Free) Expert-level Flight Planning, flight zone monitoring and weather info. Extremely handy for recording and reporting flight activity. (Suggested by Gary Holloway)

GPS Test – (Free) Easy and very useful tool for monitoring of GPS connectivity (Eric’s Top Suggestion)

Keeping it all together

With all of these applications, organization and prioritization is extremely important. Having all of your applications in one place and ready to run means you'll be up in the air sooner and better prepared for change.

Wi-Fi Prioritizer - (Free) If you have a DJI Vision or Vision Plus, this app is amazing! This simple app let's your smartphone quickly give preference to the networks of your choosing, namely the one created between your aircraft and Wi-Fi Range Extender.

Advanced Task Killer - (Free) Some applications refuse to go away, even when you've closed them. This simple program will free up memory and extend your battery-life while shutting down background tasks. (Eric's Suggestion)

Apps Organizer - (Free) Label and Organize your applications for quick finds when time counts.

The next time you venture out to the countryside, consider having an assortment of apps like these so that you stay prepared and ahead of the elements. Mobile hotspots and 4G access points can also help out in areas where data coverage could be sparse.

If you have a suggestion for an app not listed, please send us an email, and as always, please drop me a line with any comments, questions and even suggestions for future blog post.

Thanks for reading,

Eric Davis
Technology Manager
UAVDirect
email me

 




Joel J.
Joel J.

Author