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Best App to Learn to Fly A Drone

12 mins
Drone Blog
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Nothing beats hands-on experience when learning to fly a drone, but a good app or two can certainly reduce the learning curve.

What are the best apps to learn to fly a drone?

Here are some must-use apps to expand your drone prowess:

  • AirMap
  • B4UFLY
  • Litchi
  • DJI GO
  • Hover
  • Aloft
  • DJI Virtual Flight Simulator
  • Drone Buddy

This guide will delve into why each of these apps is such an exemplary choice for beginner drone pilots.

By the time you’re finished reading, you’ll feel readier to launch your drone for the first time with your new app in tow!

1. AirMap #

Are you an aspiring commercial pilot ready to begin earning income from your drone? If so, then AirMap is the app for you.

This intelligent app is designed in conjunction with DroneUp, a drone delivery system.

The AirMap app will help you receive the authorizations you need to enter controlled airspace and legally and safely plan your flights.

When your flight route requires authorization, you can receive automated LAANC approvals so you don’t have to delay your project.

AirMap also delivers proof of compliance in PDF format so you can have the document ready to display on your phone.

AirMap produces real-time map data of your flight route so you determine which areas are off-limits. Live traffic alerts update in real-time so you can always gauge potential flight hazards and stay aware of no-fly zones.

Mapping your flights is easier with AirMap. You can upload JSON files of your flight route right into the app. Alternatively, you can create flight routes on the go by using the app to draw a path.

Further detail your flight plans by adding information such as your flight speed, max altitude, flight start and stop times, and planned duration.

Why you should use it #

Although designed for commercial pilots, AirMap comes in handy for hobbyists too.

After all, you must also follow FAA guidelines, which require you to stay abreast of no-fly zones and areas that require authorization.

The FAA approves this app, so you can trust that its data is up-to-the-minute.

The alerts are delivered in both visual and audio format so you can keep an eye (and ear) out while simultaneously operating your drone.

AirMap is available for Android and iOS devices and desktops. You can select from 15 languages!

2. B4UFLY #

B4UFLY is the FAA’s official app for new and seasoned pilots using a drone recreationally.

The FAA and Aloft paired up to create this highly informative app designed to “improve the user experience,” by increasing “situational awareness,” as FAA puts it.

Feeling fuzzy on FAA laws and want to be doubly sure before you launch your drone? B4UFLY contains a database of regulatory data and resources from the FAA.

You’ll feel confident you can legally fly your drone where you’ve launched it, as B4UFLY indicates areas of restricted airspace, allowable airspace, and temporary flight restrictions.

The maps are more than informative. You can interact with them as well, filtering what you see on the map according to the criteria that interest you.

Why you should use it #

One of the trickiest matters for new pilots is ascertaining where you can fly your drone. B4UFLY reduces that stress.

You can search for any place across the country and clearly see whether you can legally fly there. If you can use the airspace, the app will tell you “good to go!” in green.

If you’re flying near a warning zone, you won’t be able to miss that, as the app will highlight the area in yellow. Just the same, it marks areas in red that are restricted airspace.

You can focus on flying your drone safely and let B4UFLY do the rest.

3. Litchi #

If you own a DJI drone, you usually download a DJI app, right? We’ve even recommended a few DJI apps on our list.

After all, DJI is picky about what software you can use with its drones, but one app that’s compatible with your DJI is Litchi. Some people even call this app superior to any app DJI currently offers.

Built for beginners, pros, and any type of pilot in between, Litchi is a mission planner with waypoints. You can set your drone’s route on a highly detailed map.

More than just good for helping you plan, Litchi also features autonomous flight modes within the app.

Focus Mode automates the yaw axis of the gimbal. You’re still in control of all horizontal motion, but the point is to enable you to take better photographs.

Virtual Reality Mode is all the fun of flying FPV. You do need goggles to take advantage of this mode.

Track Mode allows you to select and keep an area tracked while you fly manually. Other autonomous modes include Follow and Orbit.

Whether you fly automatically or manually, Litchi generates flight logs and sends them to AirData UAV.

You must have an account to access the logs, but they’re full of information even beginners can understand.

Why you should use it #

Litchi is the ultimate beginner-friendly drone app. You can do amazing things with your drone through this app thanks to the power of automation.

Even if you don’t yet have that much drone experience under your belt, you’ll still feel like a pro.

The variety of modes you can select means Litchi has something for everyone, whether you like flying your drone manually, FPV, or automatically.

Litchi also features a drone map you can access via desktop or the app.

4. DJI GO #

Speaking of DJI apps, the first we’ll look at is DJI GO, which is designed for Osmo, Inspire, Phantom, and Mavic series drones.

If you own one of the above drones, you’ll find the DJI GO app is a constant companion.

Open the app anytime you’re planning or in the midst of a flight to watch a live HD view. It’s like seeing from your drone’s camera.

You can further adjust the camera settings through the app, setting the ISO, aperture, and other settings to take breathtaking photography no matter your location or time of day.

Are you still not so great with safely landing your drone? That’s okay. DJI GO has auto-takeoff and landing so you can safely launch and land your Inspire or Mavic like a pro every time.

Access DJI’s Intelligent Flight Modes through the app, including waypoints, follow-me, Point of Interest, Home Lock, or Course Lock.

When you successfully complete a flight, the app will create a Flight Record that tracks all your details, including the number of photos and videos you took, your max altitude, flight time, distance, date, and location.

You can also use the DJI GO app to polish your videos. You can import sounds, play around with filters, add your own clips, and import music to create social media-ready videos in minutes.

DJI GO includes the DJI Academy, which includes user manuals, text and video tutorials, and a flight simulator so you can bulk up your drone knowledge and ascend from beginner status!

Why you should use it #

The DJI GO app has lots of great features designed to simplify your drone experiences and make flying more enjoyable.

The use of automation is especially good for beginners who are still learning the ropes, as you can feel adept in the skies quickly with this app.

The Flight Records are handy, the on-the-go editing features are a nice touch, and the wealth of information offered through DJI Academy is a must-use for beginners.

5. Hover #

Hover is an app created for drone enthusiasts that will help you learn to be a better pilot.

Are you in an area where you can fly legally? Avoid the risk of fines by confirming your status through Hover. It will tell you through fly zone data whether you should proceed with your flight or reconsider.

Hover will create flight data each time you use your drone so you can review where you flew, for how long, and at what altitude.

As you build your drone experience and fly more and more often, you’ll continue contributing to the log.

How’s the weather? Hover won’t make you open another app to find out. Hover and Yahoo Weather partnered to produce up-to-the-minute weather data you can rely on.

Check Hover’s flight readiness dashboard anytime to read an aggregated newsfeed of drone information. 

Why you should use it #

Although perhaps not as full-bodied as some of the apps we’ve looked at so far, Hover is still a handy beginner’s aid for new pilots.

You can check the weather anytime, and we mean more than a mere temperature reading.

Hover also tells you sunrise and sunset times and provides a built-in compass for wayfinding. Its detailed air map makes it obvious where you can’t legally fly by highlighting those areas in red.

6. Aloft #

The comakers of the B4UFLY app, Aloft is a drone fleet management software with solutions for pilots.

The company retired its Aloft Classic app in late 2022, but you can still use the Aloft Air Control app as of this writing.

This app has more than enough features for beginners to understand the basics of drone flight.

For instance, you can use flight logging to track your drone flights, which is especially important as a commercial pilot if you want to get paid.

Further, once you begin generating flight data, you can later search for specific flights and filter data based on parameters you choose.

Within Aloft Flight Profiles, you can establish further flight restrictions outside of the limitations already set by the FAA.

If you’re only allowed a certain flight ceiling due to your experience level or another factor, this feature will come in handy.

As for those flight zones the FAA sets, Aloft updates its maps in real time so you never fly astray.

Aloft’s thermal camera controls are compatible with the Parrot Anafi Thermal, DJI Matrice 200 Series, and the DJI Mavic 2 Enterprise.

Do you like to livestream with your drone, or is it a job requirement? The Aloft app supports streaming from any drone to your smartphone, tablet, or device.

Aloft is also the app to use if you’re looking for airspace authorization.

According to Aloft, more than half of the LAANC authorizations in the United States each month come from them, so if you need to enter controlled airspace, this is the app to have handy!

Why you should use it #

Aloft is one of the leading drone apps and certainly one of the most highly recommended, especially if you regularly seek LAANC authorization.

Although many drones have livestreaming capabilities built in, it’s still a nice feature that you can stream within Aloft.

If you bought a cheap drone as your first UAV and it can’t stream, you’ll rely especially hard on Aloft.

The flight logging and account controls are handier for commercial businesses with fleets of pilots rather than individuals.

However, even if you’re a solo operation, this app is still a sterling addition for the abovementioned reasons.

7. DJI Virtual Flight Simulator #

Do you fly FPV? Are you interested in it?

Even if you have drone experience, learning to fly FPV is a whole different ballgame. The DJI Virtual Flight app will help you strengthen this skill without having to pick up a drone.

This flight simulator allows you to master the ins and outs of the DJI FPV and Avata. All you need is an FPV drone remote controller and your flight goggles.

Once you open the app, you can practice flying a virtual drone in a variety of courses.

The skills you glean as you toggle the remote control to maneuver your virtual drone translate to flying an FPV drone in the real world.

You can even use the app to learn how to freestyle and do other tricks with your FPV drone before you launch it.

Better yet, you don’t have to worry about damaging your costly new investment if you crash. It’s all simulated, after all!

The DJI Virtual Flight Simulator includes tutorials you can review before you begin using the app so you understand exactly how it works.

Why you should use it #

The DJI Virtual Flight Simulator is a handy tool for learning FPV, especially if you’ve recently bought the Avata or DJI FPV drones.

You can learn in a fun environment that includes gamification so you’re motivated to learn how FPV drone flight works.

The tutorials and skills you’ll gain will help you fly your FPV drone in the real world with much more confidence!

Of course, if you don’t own a DJI FPV drone but you’re looking for an FPV app, we’ve got plenty of recommendations here.

8. Drone Buddy #

The last app to help you fly your drone is Drone Buddy, an app jam-packed with handy information for making your drone flights better.

The wind speed forecast will help you determine if the day is too windy to plan a drone flight. The wind information in the app is available hourly and daily.

You can also review the no-fly-zone map, which details flight information for airports across the nation. If you have LAANC authorization or certification that allows you to fly, you can customize the map.

You can also toggle between several map styles.

Drone Buddy has a database of user-submitted recommended flight locations.

Whether you’re looking for a new place to fly in your backyard or you’ve ventured off the beaten path and need some flight suggestions, this app has you covered.

You can also review drone news, regulations, and stories that will make you a better pilot.

Why you should use it #

Drone Buddy is like a little bit of everything in one. It features weather data, drone news, and a drone map for gauging no-fly zones.

One of the best features is the recommended list of places to fly. If you discover a hidden gem, you can always contribute to the database yourself!

Learning to fly a drone is tough! While nothing replaces practice, drone apps can alleviate the stress that can come with flying a UAV in those early days.

The apps we looked at today will keep you in legal airspace, update you on the weather, automate drone functions, and provide regulatory information so you can fly safe.


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