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Top 15 Apps for Drone Pilots. The Essential List

When you’re just starting to enter the Drone or Quadcopter hobby, most enthusiasts will turn to their devices for a little help once and a while. As with all Apps in the App stores, Apple or Google, for that matter, there can be a ton of crappy Apps.

What are the 15 Best Apps for beginner Drone Pilots?

  1. B4UFly
  2. AirMap
  3. Google Drone Laws Worldwide
  4. DroneMate
  5. Google Earth
  6. Altitude Angel
  7. UAV Forecast
  8. Windy
  9. DJI Go
  10. Litchi for DJI Drones
  11. Tesla Magnetic Field and Metal Detector
  12. Magic Hour
  13. Photopills
  14. Sun Surveyor
  15. Verifly – the US Only

As a drone owner, I have downloaded all of them ?. One thing I learned pretty quickly, make sure you can trust the source the App developers get their information from.

What I mean by this is, if you are using a weather App, most Weather Apps rely on a 3rd party source for their weather content.  The last thing you want is lousy weather info when you’re going flying.

The following list of 15 Essential Apps for Beginner Drone Pilots is mostly free. Some have in-App purchases, but at least you can try them out.

Most are available on both Android and iOS. I believe most work well in the US, UK, and Canada. But, some are country specific. Let’s have a look.

B4UFly

This should be the first APP installed on every new Drone Pilots device. Without question.  This APP provides new Drone Pilots with the keys to safety. 

It provides situational awareness by considering your location, or your planned site (Example On Vacation) to provide you with essential data. The App offers operational resections, with specific status indicators for your location.

The status indicators inform you to take specific actions or indicate if there are no FAA operating restrictions other than flying your Drone Safely.

Key features include

  • quick at-a-glance review of the current status at your location
  • Planner Mode, to plan for different flight locations
  • Helpful links for additional FAA Resources.

 The US Only

AirMap

This is an excellent APP for Canadians, but it is really a Global APP. It’s relevant for the US, Canada, the UK, New Zealand, and many more.

AirMap in the leading provider of aeronautical data and services to Drone Pilots around the world. Like other APPs, it focuses on situational awareness, traffic alerts, and much more.

The big question this APP answers for you is “Can I Fly There?” It provides real-time air space alerts and conditions about your flight plans in 20 Countries.

You can also plan your upcoming flights, including duration, altitude, and airspace requirements if this applies. It also connects directly to supported DJI Drones. For full details, check out the App.

Google Worldwide Drone Laws

With all the great APPs we are looking at, one issue to always remember; If you are going on Vacation or a Road Trip, always make sure you can fly your Drone safely. Here is a link to every Drone Law in the world. It’s for recreational use only. Free On the Web at

https://goo.gl/maps/r8URGZtas5C2

DroneMate

There is also an APP in both the App Store and Google Play Store called DroneMate. It costs between $5  and $7 depending on what country you live in.
DroneMate is a regularly updated map of the recreational drone laws for every country in the world. 

Google Earth

Most of us are familiar with this APP. It is a great resource to have when you are planning a flight somewhere. The issue still with this APP is its size and speed. I find it really bloated and slow. Your mileage may vary.

Download this App before you go! It’s huge.

Altitude Angel – Guardian

Similar to a couple of previous APPS, Guardian offers quick access to essential Drone safety data while on the move.

Guardian supplements your due diligence activities. Offers visual Map layouts of No-Fly zones and ground hazards for a growing number of countries. 

UAV Forecast

I have used this APP for about 2 years now. I really like its simple design. Its quick at a glance interface tells you if it’s ok to fly or not in a split second.

This APP tells you a host of important info including

  • Weather Forecast
  • Wind Direction and Speed
  • Number of Safelights
  • No-Fly Zones
  • Chance of Precipitation
  • Cloud Cover
  • Visibility
  • Is It Good to Fly?

It’s presented all on the same page in a, Visually Appealing Layout. A Must have for New and Experienced Drone Pilots.

Windy

Whether you are pursuing a tropical storm or planning all your Drone Flights on vacation, this APP is a must have in your kit bag.

This App is used by professional pilots, skydivers, fisherman/woman, kiters, and boaters, to name a few.

If you want the most accurate weather information, Windy claims to provide that. I have used it and found it very helpful.

DJI Go

 If you are the owner of one of the millions of DJI Drone, you are already familiar with DJI Go 3 for older Phantom Drones and GO 4 for All the newer models. It has all the setting to run your Drone safely.

Everything from Takeoff to Return To Home, real0time image transmission to all the camera settings, the APP does it all. One of the better APPs to control your Drone on the market today

Litchi for DJI Drones

For more experienced Drone Pilots, this APP is Amazing. That’s my opinion, and everyone has an idea. I have used this APP to fly my Drone on some very complicated “Missions” to get a few unique photographs and video shots. 

Basically, you go on their website or in the APP itself and program a flight using their waypoints to set it up. Once you plot out your flight, you upload it to your Drone, press GO and off your aircraft goes autonomously.

One example I used it for; I was visiting a beach area, and there was a beautiful Lighthouse out on the point. Using the Litchi APP, I programmed a flight to take off, orbit the lighthouse, and fly back home. I just stood with the controller in my hands (Just in case) and watched the mission unfold. Fun and amazing to watch. Excellent video footage to take home.

Tesla Magnetic Field Recorder

This is an excellent APP if you are having problems calibrating your compass. Fire up this APP, and it will indicate if there is any interference nearby that will screw up your compass and possible GPS. It’s a free download for the APP store and Google Play.

APPs For Photographers

If you are more experienced and you bought a Drone with a decent camera on it, you might be interested in these Apps.

You may have heard of them before, but for New Drone Pilots these can be very helpful. Some are paid apps.

PhotoPills

This APP is Epic for Photographers. Drone Pilots can use it as well to set up some very creative shots. You can use the APP to turn any sun shot into a fantastic photo or video.

The APP provides Sun alignments through 3D Augmented Reality so you can actually visualize the Drone shot before you take it.

Includes;

  • Photo Planner
  • Sun Alignment Finder
  • Calculators for Long Exposure, Time Lapse
  • Essential Information – Sunset, Sunrise, Moon Rise and Supermoon dates

And Much more. The goal of the APP is to help you plan your shots and nail them.

Sun Surveyor Lite

Another option, like Magic Hour, is Sun Surveyor Lite. This APP takes all the mystery out o sunrise, sunset and magic hours, helping Filmmakers and Drone photographers scout the best locations, plan well, and get the perfect shot.

Magic Hour

Magic Hour, also called Golden Hour, is the time of day around sunrise and sunset. You can get some fantastic shots during this unique time frame.

I personally like the nighttime Magic Hour after which it moves to Blue Hour as some call it. The evening is a good time for Drone Photography and Film making.

The Magic Hour APP tells you when the Hour starts and stops, anywhere in the world. Great for planning your Vacation.

You just adjust the date and see the time.  If the weather is available at your location, it will give you that as well.

Drone Insurance

VeriFly Drone Insurance

Verifly is an on-demand Drone Insurance provider. “Whether it’s a recreational or commercial flight, it’s covered in a few taps. Your policy lets you fly up to 2 miles around you for as long as 8 hours.”

It’s straightforward, you use the Map to pick your location, and you get a price right away. Give them your name and credit card info, and you’ll get your proof of insurance via email and the APP right away.

You will need to check the website to make sure your Drone is supported

Some final thoughts

If you are invested in the Hobby of piloting Drones, you know the importance of safety. That is always the first item on my checklist. I go through each area of flight preparation to make sure I’ll be safe as will the people, pet, environment around me.

The APPs I listed here I found very helpful when planning my flights. Some are overkill I admit but again, knowing what you are doing, where you’re flying and when, is essential for a safe yet fun flight. As that’s what it’s all about. Fun with a little adventure, don’t forget.

I wish you a safe flight. Stay out of the trees

Buzz Adams