Giving in to the iPad Temptation

Well, I finally gave in. Last weekend I bought an iPad with the intention of using it as an electronic flight bag (EFB). I bought the 3G model to get the GPS. So far, I have downloaded several aviation apps and I am getting familiar with them in the comfort of my own home. I hope I will have the chance to try my favorites in the air soon. I’m working on that but more details will have to wait until my tentative plans are firmer. For now, I will continue to get familiar with the apps and put together a suite that works for me.

I also want to come up with a sound strategy for backups to the iPad. Short of carrying two iPads, my first inclination is to carry a full set of charts on the iPad and use paper backups for certain critical information. Right now I am still a VFR pilot so that means sectionals, terminal area charts and A/FD. If I am in an airplane with a good mapping GPS (GNS430, GNS530, G1000, etc.), I should be able to forgo the paper charts altogether. The airport info is in the database and the magenta line will still provide guidance even if the iPad fails. In this case, the iPad will actually be the backup for the GPS anyway. If I am in a less well equipped aircraft, I would probably want a paper sectional.

When I get back to instrument training, I plan to carry paper copies of the procedures for my departure, destination and alternate airports only. That means a few sheets of paper instead of inches thick bound volumes. The backup scheme will evolve as I get more experience with the EFB.

Soon I hope to be able to report on my experience with the different apps I am trying.

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  • flyaway says:

    I got an iPad a few months or so ago and have been completely satisfied with it. I bought ForeFlight to use it as an EFB about 3 weeks ago and used it on an XC recently. I was satisfied but I do need a kneeboard style holder for it or else something to keep it on the yoke or panel. Trying to hold it did not work very well and I did have a glare issue. I think that it will work well once I have a good way to secure and see it in most lighting conditions.

  • Tom says:

    flyaway – I have added Foreflight and, so far, it is my favorite EFB app. Like you, I am trying to figure out a way to hold the iPad in the plane. The back is slippery so I can see why it would be a problem to hold it on your lap. Any ideas about the glare problem? Maybe one of the anti-glare screen protectors would work.

  • Gary says:

    “I plan to carry paper copies of the procedures for my departure, destination and alternate airports only.”

    That would be my plan too….

    I’m thinking about purchasing the iPad for use as an EFB. I have found a few knee board type holders online, I think it was on the AOPA forums. I’m interested to read about how the iPad worked for you in the cockpit.

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