Are you drooling for an
iPad? Join the
club boys and girls because this unit packs quite an EFB value punch.
I have seen this new piece of Apple hardware
in action with
ForeFlight HD chart software (at the annual price of ~$75 for all IAPs,
Sectionals, Low-enroute and High-enroute charts) and other than the angle that I
had to hold it in Texas sunlight in my cockpit, it was simply awesome. AND
QUICK, as compared to my Sony Reader + Reader Plates
NavMonster is reported to have a chart
application under development so stay tuned as this is getting very interesting
folks. We may be witnessing the final chapter in cockpit scrambling for paper.
HERE to see their product preview.
But wait! The iPad with 3G is reported to have
a real on board GPS receiver! Oh yes, users report that the ForeFlight charts
are geo-synchronized allowing depiction of your position on the charts. Say
bye-bye to the high cost of updating those databases in that high-dollar panel
mounted gear to get your position displayed on charts! Or, if you're like me,
now we won't have to buy that high dollar panel gear to get geo-synchronized
situational awareness on approach plates and charts.
a link to some good GPS iPad operation tips from
note: You must get the 3G iPad to get any GPS positioning info!
Did you only
get a WiFi model iPad (like me) and are now just frothing to have use of the geo-synched
chart features in ForeFlight or other flight charting program?
Don't worry, you can add a simple bluetooth or
dongle GPS receiver to your iPad for the ridiculous price of $100. But yeah,
it's plug n play and iPad certified so you won't have to jailbreak your unit.
Bad Elf Dongle GPS
HERE for a Gold Seal Flight Instructor's review of the
(my personal favorite).
I just purchased the GNS-5870 and it works
great. I like the fact that the BT unit does not increase the footprint of the
iPad and can be positioned on the glareshield for an unobstructed view of the
sky. The BT unit was immediately recognized by the iPad and ForeFlightHD, giving
me a blue airplane icon on the chart.
Here is another Bluetooth GPS sanctioned to
work with the iPad, the
Coincidentally, also $99! Isn't competition
and free enterprise grand?
Here is my iPad on the Cygnet
Here is another chart app that might
be worth checking out:
This is the pirep
from Mike T.:
I installed the free app and downloaded a bunch of charts
(Sectionals, IAPs, enroutes, etc.) for a 30-day free trial. If I understand what
I've read so far, an annual all-inclusive chart subscription costs $49.
At first blush, iChart is a simpler, less elegant chart
solution than ForeFlight, IMHO. But it seems quite capable, and I've barely used
Frank from Pueblo, CO at
BeechTalk jail broke his iPad and added a highly accurate bluetooth GPS!
Here is his post:
Today I finally took the leap and jail broke my Ipad. I
used the free program from
http://www.jailbreakme.com/. This was very easy to use
and was done entirely on the Ipad. The process took, at
most, a minute or so, and was very seamless.
The jailbreak added an icon to my Ipad desktop for Cydia.
After the jailbreak and rebooting, this first rebooting
took much longer than usual, I clicked on the new icon for
the Cydia application and there were two updates, which I
installed, then rebooted the Ipad again. This second time
the reboot took the normal amount of time, it was just the
first reboot after jail breaking that took longer.
When the Ipad restarted, I clicked on the Cydia icon, went
to the " Sections " screen using the bar at the bottom of
the page, scrolled down to " Navigation " and clicked on
The BTstack application cost $5.00 and was downloaded.
This placed an icon on the Ipad screen for GPS. Clicking
on this Icon activates the BTstack application which then
searches for a GPS.
The application instantly recognized my US Globalsat 821
connected to it. With the GPS connected, all of the map
and navigation applications I have loaded on the Ipad ran
seamlessly with the external, bluetooth GPS. There were
absolutely no hiccups of any kind. Programs tested were
ForeFLight, Ipad Maps, TopoMaps, Wundermap Weather.
The BTstack GPS application needs to run with the Ipad
internal bluetooth set to off, this is done by going to
the Ipad SETTINGS screen, then GENERAL and turning off
Bluetooth. If you forget to do this the BTstack
application will do it for you.
You can also still run all of your map and navigation
programs with the Ipad built in GPS after disconnecting
the Bluetooth GPS from within the BTstack GPS application.
Using Foreflight with the Bluetooth GPS showed a very
definite increase in GPS accuracy. Going back and forth
from the built in GPS and the Bluetooth GPS was easy, just
exit ForeFlight click on the GPS ap and disconnect, and
showed that the Bluetooth US Globalsat 821 was more than
three times as accurate; 2.8 meters vs. 10 meters for the
Ipad built in GPS.
This was a very easy transformation of my Ipad from a
good, but not aviation grade built in GPS to a great
aviation grade, WAAS, DGPS bluetooth GPS.
I, at first, had some trepidation about jail breaking my
Ipad, but after doing so all concern vanished. All of the
existing programs work as if no change has taken place,
and I now have access to a great many programs that Apple
does not support for download from iTunes.
Frank in Pueblo
If you haven't checked out
BeechTalk yet, you really
... FOREFLIGHT is the best deal even if you don't need the IFR
charts - but a real value with the SECTIONALS, ALL APPR CHARTS, IFR hI and LO
ENROUTE for a 1 year subscription.
The price of the least expensive iPad, combined with the
FOREFLIGHT APP at $75 a year, can be a pilot's best friend. For years I have
looked for a suitable backup to IFR approach procedures, which ate all displayed
with your own ship position on today's modern avionics, including the latest
ASPEN MFD update v2.2. But what do you do if the unit fails when you most need
it, during a critical IFR approach? And I have had that happen once!
In the early days I backed up the electronic charts with paper
- but that's a lot of paper (and expensive) to handle those one off emergencies.
Next it was a laptop (the TOSHIBA TOUGHBOOK and of late a NET BOOK. Those worked
great, were a bit cumbersome and power hungry, plus not so readable, and took
time to boot up, get to the chart, etc.
The iPad offers instant ON, 10 hour + battery life, good
readability in the cockpit and FOREFLIGHT makes the chart search easy and fast
so you have your backup charts for anywhere in the U,S, In addition, I have
always carried paper ENROUTE charts, BUT ... the inclusion of very readable
SECTIONALS and ENROUTE charts makes this the preferred method of understanding a
route given by ATC either in a clearance on the ground, or in flight. I will
still carry the paper enroute, which come with my JEPPVIEW service, but will
only use the paper as backup to the iPad.
Yesterday I flew to Harrison County, OH (on the PA/OH border,
and the place where Clark Gable was born). To pass the time on a beautiful VFR
day, I used the iPad and SECTIONAL charts from FOREFLIGHT to take me back to
those first solo cross-country days. Wow, they provided every detail needed -
roads, railroads, small towns, airports, etc - far more than displayed on the
electronic charts in the cockpit (see pictures).
I'll write up all the other "on-the-ground" uses of the iPad
for aviation in another POST - but after flying with this device for almost a
month - WOW, it's a pilot's dream for cockpit and ground operations.
The OS upgrade first of Dec for the iPad and iPhone changes
the button on the upper right side. It now mutes the speaker. To lock and unlock
screen rotation (portrait and Landscape) …
Rapidly hit the BUTTON at the bottom of the iPad (Menu, home,
etc) TWICE … then a strip of icons comes up on the bottom the screen … slide the
icons right and you will run out of icons at hit some play, sound and brightness
controls the furthest control on the left locks and unlocks the rotation.
Here is Beech Lister Justin G.'s pirep and his
find of a case & charger combo that works nicely with the Cygnet Flight Desk:
Funny that you should be writing about this very topic. I
logged on to comment on a couple things I ordered through Amazon to use with the
iPod and my Cygnet flight desk!
In the mail yesterday I received a rubber sleeve and accessory
charging to use with the iPad. I looked a long time to find a sleeve that was
wide so that the clip from the Cygnet flight desk would not mar the face of the
iPad over time. Most of them are too narrow.
Here's a link I wanted to share to make it easier for others:
I ordered from Amazon to get the package deal, but you can get
both a charger if needed and the case from eForCity.
The skin seems just as nice as those I've seen for iPhone at
$30. The charger works fine in the car. The nice thing about getting a car
charger adapter and using an extra or original iPad/iPhone cable is that you
know you won't get the pop up box that says "not designed for iPad" often seen
with non-Apple approved accessories.
I am not certain if I need the arm to flip up the iPad.
With the new Foreflight software, I can go to the scratchpad if I want to write
something down. I've got plates and charts. Can't think of anything else I need
to have on the flight desk besides maybe my old printed check list. I will
eventually program the same software company's iPhone App "Checklist Lite" if
they don't eventually integrate a checklist into Foreflight Moble HD. I would
think they would, but there's likely higher priority upgrades they're working on
Here is Mike H.'s iPad pirep on how he keeps
the internal iPad GPS going:
just used my iPad on a flight from KGTU to KDAL and back
These are the steps I generally take to get the GPS working in
Turn on iPad.
Go to settings and set brightness all the way up for day, all
the way down for night.
Make sure Cellular Data is ON.
Go to ForeFlightHD and pull up a chart. Then hit the target
icon to get the blue dot. (note: I do this with the cell data on so that the
initial fix happens very quickly with the assist of the cell towers.)
Then go back to settings.
Turn off Cellular Data.
Turn off Wifi.
Do NOT turn on airplane mode.
Go back to ForeFlightHD and enjoy.
I always leave Location Services "on". If you put the iPad in
standby during cruise, it might take 2-5 minutes of you hitting the target
button on the charts before you get the blue dot again. I did that last week on
an Angel Flight from Abilene to West Houston.
I have noticed that is uses more power than "normal" but I
figured that was because I had the screen on full bright and the GPS was still
in use. I bought an incase brand 12V adapter from the apple store that is a full
2.1A USB adapter that charges my iPad while I fly now.
If you want to chat on the phone or want more info just email
me directly at mike at hallzone dot net
If you have loaded the new OS here are some additional tips
With the previous version of the operating system, the little slide switch
did in fact lock the screen orientation. As Dan Barclay pointed out last week,
now it apparently turns off the speaker (without affecting the user-set volume
To lock the screen, double-click the home button (the mechanical one on the
front of the bezel) to bring up the multi-tasking bar (or whatever it's called).
Swipe its icons to the right until several soft "controls" come up. The screen
lock is the one on the far left, squarish with a circular error. Tap it. Click
on the home button to close the multi-tasking bar.
ForeFlight disables the sleep mode (or whatever it's called) but it doesn't
lock the screen.
Here is Kevin C.'s iPad pirep:
i've been using ForeFlight on the iPhone for quite some time
and I just got an iPad on Friday, with ForeFlight being just one more good
reason the iPad works for me.
I found lots of value, even at $75/yr, for FF on the iPhone
wrt pre-flight weather and airport info. Charts and plates were, however, too
small to be useful.
In my opinion (admittedly only based on 2 days of experience)
the iPad makes ForeFlight's charts/plates very usable. Plus, ForeFlight runs on
both my devices (iPhone and iPad) with no increase in subscription cost. So, for
me, I have everything I used to like about FF on the phone plus very usable
Charts and Plates for about $6.25 a month. That beats everything else I've tried
on the price/performance curve.
Note that I may be outside the norm in that I don't need my
aircraft position displayed on the chart/plate on the iPad nor do I care about
real-time weather on the iPad in the cockpit 'cause I already have 4 moving maps
and XM weather and nav backup (Garmin handheld) in the plane.
Some answers for Larry below...
On Apr 11, 2010, at 7:49 AM, Larry O. wrote:
> My goal is only that of an EFB, charts, plates, AFD... and
other stuff like notams.
Kevin: Me too. Don't care about GPS or moving map on the iPad.
> I have yet to see their charts... what to be sure they are
actual raster NOS charts and not created images that may or may not have the
data. Their web site does not address this.... yet. Plates look good, however.
Kevin: They are raster NOS charts. They look pretty good.
> Also, looking at the demo, it implies that you need a Net
connection.... especially for weather. Would be great if that would be available
in the plane.... but not optimistic, so all the weather stuff is only for
planning, which I already have.
Kevin: You do need network for weather. But you do NOT need
for plates or charts. They have a download manager. Setup what states you care
about (or check them all) and then just push the button whenever it says a new
data cycle is available.
The value I find for pre-flight I actually realize on the
iPhone version, since I can do weather planning from anywhere. I don't need 3G
on my iPad since I'll use the iPhone for that bit. It's the charts and plates
that the iPad brings to the party.
> So.... the bottom line.... how easy is it to download ALL of
the charts, plates, etc for the whole US? And how easy is it to access in the
Kevin: Easy to download. Easy as can be to access sitting at
home. Have not tried in the cockpit yet, but it based on the snappy response
time, ease of use offline, size of the device, and great battery life, I suspect
it'll be just fine in the cockpit. At least as good and probably better than
other stuff out there today.
Here is Ernie's iPad pirep:
I had some extra time today and with the crowds at the Apple
Store down to a manageable level I went to the Apple store to take a look at the
iPad and spend some time talking to one of their knowledgeable staff. I caught a
break by getting a young man who was curious about my aviation use of the iPad
as my guide and we went over many of the details as it would pertain to an EFB.
The iPad fits well in your hand and light enough that you could hold it without
an issue for a while.
Some iPad comments:
1. Very crisp and clear screen, colors are vibrant and crisp
and screen resolution is 1024x768, standard XVGA, very clean and crisper than
the normal monitor screen since the iPad use about twice (132ppi) as many pixels
per inch as our normal monitor (72ppi) does
2. Screen glare - it is noticeable, but there are screen
protectors to reduce the glare.
3. Although there was no sun in sunny northern California
today, my guide confirmed that the screen is no brighter than the iPhone screen
and his observation was that he had found the iPad readable in direct sun
however he did turn the screen brightness up which might affect battery life. No
way to determine without some better weather if it might be an issue, Chris
Shaker has commented further with pictures.
4. If you currently have an iPhone which you use for weather
updating or flight plans, etc there isn't really any need to wait for the 3G
version which comes out next month and costs $130 dollars more. The $499 16GB
version will do everything and more than you need as an EFB. If you are a big
video or movie downloader you may want the 32 MB($100 more) or 64 MB ($200 more)
unit. ForeFlight Mobile HD says in its literature that the approach plates,
diagrams, VFR charts, A/FD and IFR charts for the entire United States is about
4GB which on the 16GB version leaves about 12GB for photos video, books, POH
AIM, FARs, etc.
5. If you need the 3G version the ability to change your data
plan month by month is a great deal, since if you are using it for an EFB and
know you won't need to update other than through a Wi-Fi hot spot you can opt to
not have a data plan and when you think you might not have free access to Wi-Fi
you can simply call up and get the $15 dollar 250 MGB data plan for you short
Now for looking at ForeFlight Mobile HD on the iPad Here is a
video from the company showing some of its features
Having gotten my young guide hooked on flying I entered my
iTunes account on the demo unit and downloaded ForeFlight Mobile HD to see how
it looked on the iPad. I then went in, signed out and changed my password so the
demo unit couldn't download anything on my dime.<G>
After downloading the app it started up in airport mode
showing KJFK, in about 15 seconds I had changed to my current area airport and
was exploring the various approach charts and airport diagrams; in the portrait
mode they were crisp, clear and easily as big as the printed NOAA/FLIP charts.
While the A/FD was quite readable in the portrait mode I found that the turning
the iPad to landscape mode made it even better. After than I went to the Low
Altitude IFR charts and as expected they came out well as you would expect as
they are the NOAA/DOD FLIP charts, turning to Sectionals they were quite clear
and clear and crisp as I quickly zoomed in and out, very readable. In fact
depending on your route the both the IFR and VFR charts were crisp and clear in
the landscape mode no matter how far you zoomed-in or out. What was impressive
in all the operations to include switching views zooming in and out was how fast
it was done, very snappy when switching from maps to charts to airports and
almost instantaneous in the zoom in and out mode.
They have a Download Manager that lets you download approach
plates, diagrams, VFR charts, A/FD and IFR charts for the entire United States
or just the areas you fly in normally. This is also the tool that keeps you up
to date with the latest data every 28 days.
The price of $75 a year for updates might not qualify for the
CSOB award, but when you see how well everything works together in a logical
manner it is worth it to this 67 year old geezer. I know free is better, but
considering I had never seen the application before I downloaded it and was able
to everything I described without doing anything that wasn't rather intuitive is
winning me over, I think I spend less than a minute figuring out anything total.
I can't say that about reader plates or the Sony reader unit. I think $6.75 a
month to have current Sectionals, A/FD, IFR charts and Approach Plates seems to
come about as close to qualifying for being CSOB as you can get.
Mind you I say that CSOB tongue in cheek since for official
FAA use I have the GNS-480/MX-200 combo that has the on-screen GPS position FAA
approved IFR charts and approach plates available which, as we all know, the
Jeppesen costs are about 10 or 15 times the $6.75 monthly fee
Bottom line: for $499 and $6.75 as month it answers all my
needs and since I have the 480/MX-200 combo not having the GPS to show my
position on the screen isn't a big deal for me. With a Flight Guide eBook you
have a pretty complete package of information in a very small package.
Here are some accessories that Beech owners
have found work well for their iPad:
Please note, some folks have reported high
ambient temperature iPad shut downs, so you might consider removing any skin on
the unit during times of high ambient temperatures.
Just a thought - your mileage may vary!
2000 mAh Charger Adapter
Dual USB Charger Adapter
These accessories are rated up to 24V DC and
are CSOB priced. However, if you have a 24V Beechcraft, check to be sure whether
you have this 2 Ohm/50 Watt resistor in your circuit that was used in early
to drop the voltage down to a 12-14V level
when the 12V cigarette lighter pulled about 6 amps or so.