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Best iPad Apps by Peter Meyers

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Taking a Flight

Best App for Air Traffic Controller Wannabes

Best App for Air Traffic Controller Wannabes


$4.99
Version: 1.05 | Firemint

Sounds simple: safely land each plane by tracing its path to the appropriately colored runway. And sure enough, the first two or three arrive onscreen at nicely spaced intervals; the smokey lounge soundtrack and Fifties decor puts you in a martini kind of mood. But as more planes appear, the challenge behind this one-crash-and-you’re-done affair becomes clear. You enter a state of aircraft-monitoring vigilance that’s one part air traffic controller, one part chess player, as you try to reckon what the crowded airspace will look like as time passes. The fun lasts until a plane crashes, which, alas, always happens. Then it’s just you, the groovy music, and the restart button.

INTERSECTION PERFECTION: The lines you draw can intersect, overlap, and pretzel through each other however you like…just make sure the planes themselves never collide. If you spot a problem path, the fix is a finger swipe away: just retrace a revised course. The app offers some help. It beeps and flashes red circles around planes flying too close for comfort.

ROOKIE REDIRECTS: Don’t freak out each time you see the flashing red; wait and see if in fact collision appears inevitable. Top guns can speed up the action by tapping the lower-left fast-forward icon. And, hey, fly the friendly skies: multiplayer mode lets you split the screen and play against each other, or sync up with another iOS device and use each other’s screen as additional landing pads.

Flight Control HD

Best App for Flight Simulation

Best App for Flight Simulation


$9.99
Version: 9.621 | Laminar Research

Ladies and gentlemen, this is Cap’n iPad speaking. Please sit back and try to relax during what may be one heckuva bumpy ride. Unless you’re wing certified, your first few takeoffs with this app are likely to be anything but smooth (the animated fire-fest crash gets a bit old). But devote a five-minute layover to the quick start tips on Bento for iPad of the free manual (available at http://bit.ly/xplane-ipad) and soon they’ll be calling you Captain Sullenberger at the office. And then, man, is this thing an aviator’s dream. Forty planes, choppers, gliders—even a space shuttle—all ready for your flying pleasure. Flight spaces range from Alaska to Kathmandu. Wheels up!

UP AND AWAY: The short, short course for takeoff goes like this: set the flaps (the white knob in the lower-right corner) one-third of the way down from the top, turn off the brake by tapping its button, and slide the throttle (next to the flaps) all the way up. When you pick up enough speed, pull your iPad toward you, just like a regular pilot. To steer, tilt your iPad in whichever direction you want to turn.

TRAVEL TIPS: X-Plane’ll kill ya for jerking the device around. Sloooowwly tilt it when turning, like you’re trying to roll a jellybean across a silver platter. For a change of scenery (not to mention planes, weather conditions, and time of flight), tap the two-slider settings icon in the upper right; from the tabs that appear, you can fiddle with almost every flight feature imaginable.

X-Plane for iPad

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