Ian Twombly

iPad insanity

September 7, 2011 by Ian J. Twombly, Associate Editor

I’ve been flying with an iPad for around a year now, testing all the various apps, and let me just say that I don’t get it. I mean, I get it in the sense that the thing is cool and it holds all the charts you need; it does some rudimentary flight planning and a little bit of everything else. But I still don’t get it.

Apple’s iPad has taken off in aviation like nothing I’ve ever seen. Even GPS, which was a much bigger technological leap, took years to catch on with as much unbridled excitement. Maybe that’s because it was relatively more expensive, but when you’re talking about the difference between going from VORs to direct and carrying paper versus a tablet, it seems to me there’s no contest. Maybe that’s talking Apples to Oranges, but I don’t think so.

Let’s start with what the iPad really offers. And I mean in terms of new capability. From what I’ve seen on the app market, there’s virtually none. Granted, some apps package information in a new way, or offer a new gizmo or tool. But no one is buying an iPad for the ability to calculate a crosswind faster. Maybe you can say that ForeFlight, WingX, and the rest of the integrated navigation apps offer some type of new capability because they integrated charts with flight planning in the cockpit. But that’s simply not true, other than a few minor features here and there. Seattle Avionics has offered Voyager for years now. It’s a PC-based product, meaning you can use it on a tablet in the cockpit. And it does significantly more than any app on the market so far.

I think most of what these programs do is simply duplicate technology of a panel-mounted GPS and a free computer flight planner, such as AOPA’s. I mentioned this to Editor in Chief Tom Haines, and he made the point that his Garmin 530 doesn’t show airways, and the iPad does. That’s true, but so does a chart.

That leaves packaging. Are we as a population really blown away by the fact that we can carry all our charts in one small, portable device? I think the answer is yes. There seems to be no other plausible explanation for why the adoption rate is so high. As I wrote in an AOPA Pilot feature,  “Godsend or Gadget?”: “If the iPad were just a chart viewer, it wouldn’t be worth the expense.” A few letter writers said I was flat-out wrong, but I stand by the statement. If I had $700 to spend on either an iPad and a full set of chart updates for a year, or that same amount to buy paper, I’d buy paper. Call me old-fashioned, but paper doesn’t overheat, you can read it in sunlight, and it doesn’t require a charge.

 Admittedly, I’ve been stuck before without the proper chart, which should never happen on an iPad, but that’s more a result of my stupidity than a limitation of the product. And I generally fly over only about half of the states, which I think is fairly common. I don’t need a nation’s worth of charts.

So to me we’re left today with a device that largely replicates what we have, but with all the limitations that come with relying on an electronic device. But, the future is promising. Once we get good in-cockpit weather on it, the iPad will become infinitely more valuable. And that’s just the beginning. Better flight planning products, panel integration, logbook and maintenance tracking, and all the other facets of our aviation life on one device is an exciting thought.

I just think that day has yet to come.

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80 Responses to “iPad insanity”

  1. Brad Says:

    iPad vs PC: No contest. The iOS operating system is designed for touch interactions and doesn’t require a keyboard. There’s no windows tablet competitor on the market.

    iPad vs paper: Remember, after you land you can take your iPad out and do other stuff with it. It can hold your FAR/AIM, books, movies, surf the web, etc. The fact that by itself the iPad is so useful on its own makes adding aviation apps like ForeFlight a no-brainer. If you compare an iPad to $700 worth of charts you’re (falsely) assuming there’s no other use for the iPad at all.

  2. Bill Kempthorne Says:

    Ian, you may not get it .. and that is totally fine. You may not need to. As a renter (non-owner) of airplanes, glass cockpits and/or (useable) panel mounted GPS are non-existent. Even with a modestly usable GPS like a GNS430, I’m not really got to spend $2/min with the clock running to plug in waypoints. I longed for a Garmin 595 at about $2500 a few years back but really didn’t fly enough to justify a one trick pony like that.
    Now for the cost of ForeFlight I have my Garmin-like (caveats apply) functionally in a box that I have enough other uses to justify the cost of the device. Is the aviation use my primary reason to own the device – not really, but once you find a spot for an iPad you start to look for as many places that you can use it and both in pre-planning, briefing, and in-flight situational awareness – its a no-brainer.
    Would another device like a PC do the same, not really, portability, battery life, and the interface makes it comfortable to use without getting too heads down in the cockpit.
    The next thing I want it a good flight path recorder that will let be review my flights an see if I’m flying a square circuit and if I’m holding altitude and airspeed in the cruise. Being able to look at the data after the fact will make me a better and safer pilot.

  3. Fred Says:

    Ian, thanks for the perspective, it certainly makes me re-look at my use of the iPad. I think you are correct in that the future lies in panel integrated devices, but until we get there, the iPad is the way to go for me. It’s not about how much functionality exists, it’s about how it’s delivered to me, from the early flight planning phases (which is usually a what is this going to cost question). If fly a G1000 equipped airplane and entering a flight plan in that thing is simply a pain, the point is not how powerful, but how convenient. And yes, I do still use and carry a paper chart.

  4. Dave Says:

    Interesting perspective – but it’s missing a key point. The iPad is useful for so much more than just aviation applications and charts. If viewed as merely a chart viewer, sure, it’s expensive. But the “competition” – the aviation-focused special devices…the risk there is that those companies could just go out of business, and then where is the support? You might be left with an equally expensive paperweight. And as to paper charts, too much hassle and weight. Even the airlines are starting to see the light. Don’t get me wrong, I think it will be a while before I am comfortable not having at least limited paper backup, but I am perfectly comfortable relying on the iPad for my chart needs.

    I use a Garmin 480 as my main IFR-approved GPS, and a Garmin 496 with XM weather as a backup device, but mainly for en-route weather. Of course, those and the NAV/COMs are the main navigation devices, but the geo-referenced charts on the iPad are a nice cross-reference.

    I am still waiting to encounter one of those “limitations that come with relying on an electronic device” – the only one I have encountered thus far was needing to switch to non-polarized sunglasses to conveniently view the iPad screen in flight.

  5. Marc Newman Says:

    Reasons the iPad wins, and should win, hands down:


    PRICE: It’s cheap compared to anything specifically aviation designed.

    INTERFACE (touch screen): Tablets failed because the interface duplicated clunky desktop interfaces. IOS is not perfect, but it’s very functional, and very well thought out. Most GPS interfaces are terrible, with buttons, dials, and menus within menus. If you like them – you’re insane!

    FUNCTIONALITY: Does most of what you need to do when on the road – even games. It’s not a great PC, but it’s not designed to be a PC – it’s a mobile device.

    PREFLIGHT PLANNING: Now, we’re talking about software, which is inconsequential to the discussion. The point of flight planning on the iPad is that you don’t need to lug around a large laptop. Most importantly….

    INTERNET ACCESS: You have WIFI for $15 a month. It’s a steal! Fly anywhere with cellphone coverage, and you have instant access to the internet. What laptop can you connect to the internet for that low a price? Oh sure, you can tether it… but if you’re going that way, you can do that with the iPad as well.

    CHARTS: Yeah, cool, but it’s not what’s great about the iPad.

    GPS: It’s not completely accurate all the time, nor am I sure it needs to be. Really, it’s the integration of the GPS with the charts to help with situational awareness. Now, you may be saying, “My handheld unit does that.” Well sure, but it’s got this tiny little screen that you can’t touch and move around with your fingers. Then, try to plot a course – hold a finger on a point on the iPad, and “direct to”… done. Do that with your expensive GPS handheld!

    BATTERY: Laptop batteries last about 2 to 3 hours, and much less if it’s powering a GPS, accessing the hard drive, and has the display at full brightness. The iPad battery will last about 4 hours with the GPS on, and full brightness – no problem. 10 hours, with all the wireless stuff off.

    Yes, the gizmo is a duplication of functionality that existed before. The large touch screen, GPS, WIFI, bluetooth, and even IOS existed before the iPad was introduced. Hell, the iPhone can do everything the iPad can do and more, but it was’t the rage with flight planning that the iPad is. Why?

    It’s about the package, not about one feature. The difference in the size of the screen was all that was needed to make an iPhone a great flight tool, and that’s the same reason your favorite hand held GPS, and even the GPS’s in the aircraft can’t compete. The iPad has 90% of everything the market needs. We can even read a book, watch a movie, listen to music, or play a game once we land. The GPS is just a GPS. It’s boring. Why buy that, when I can have nearly everything I want for the same price?

  6. Jack Says:

    I love the iPad in the cockpit because it’s an easy to use, cost effective, convenient, open, general purpose device that does aviation tasks as well or better than difficult to use, expensive, inconvenient, closed, aviation dedicated devices. And, Angry Birds.

  7. Ian Twombly Says:

    Great comments. I intentionally left out the discussion of everything nonaviation the iPad can do because most pilots I talk to don’t mention that as a deciding factor, or as a key reason for their love of the tablet. But, I completely agree that it is probably a key feature that makes the device a bargain. My main point is that if you look at aviation alone, I wonder if it lives up to the hype. Yet.

  8. Tyson Weihs Says:

    This sounds like a great debate for an AOPA Live sesh at Summit!

  9. Biggles Says:

    I operate mainly Europe but worldwide corporate. If the ipad only did charts it would be worth it to me. If one has ever had to do worldwide paper Jep updates one would know what I am talking about. Store all your aircraft manuals as wel….

  10. Peter Hardeen Says:

    Purchased iPad and Fore Flight in June about two weeks before 2500 mile trip around US. I have a G 430 (always up to date). Previously I had mis-spent on Voyager and SkyPad 2, and Anywhere Map Quadra. Voyager excellent program but I find tedious to use as it is much more complicated than ForeFlight, The SkyPad 2 is too heavy and being Windows based is unreliable. The Quadra pleased me greatly until problems raised their head and support lacked what I had expected. Oh, yeah, the SkyPad 2 really isn’t bright enough for cockpit use.
    The iPad and Fore Flight performed flawlessly for me except for the well discussed heating probles. It is light weight, bright enought to read in the cockpit, and I found Fore Flight simple and complete. The charsts are as easy (or easier) to read compared to a paper chart because of the zoom features. Also, the georefferencing takes you right to where you want to check on the chart. For overheating I found that an IFR chart laid over the iPad to block direct sunlight took care of that. Can’t wait for Fore Flight to get the Mobile Link and Xm weather integrated into their program.
    I believe that georefferenced charts on a handheld device make navigation simpler and safer.

  11. Crackle Says:

    Ian, I can see your point, but I find the COLLECTION of apps and information in the iPad to be the strongest feature. I trialled the use of iPad based checklists recently and found them to provide better functionality than the paper version.

    My favoured planning and GPS software is not available on the iPad (SkyDemon) so I have to print out a PLOG and have a WinCE based GPS running too. I would love to have this on the iPad.

    I’ve put a non-reflective film on the screen, which helps in bright sunlight, but honestly it’s when trying to read the small print on plates and charts that the pinch zoom is so helpful. In turbulence, the paper charts (and unzoomed images on the iPad) are not legible. I’m not sure how I would have completed some of the bumpy procedures accurately without it…and sunlight was not an issue!

    I’ve never had a battery issue, but keep a power plug on board to plug it into the aircraft if needed.

    I keep the anticipated paper work on board as a backup, but the iPad also covers the unexpected eventuality.

    If my aircraft were a modern glass-panelled model, the need for the iPad in the cockpit would be reduced, but while I’m flying a steam-gauged Cherokee, it will remain very useful in the air.

    On the ground it remains a great flight planning tool.

  12. Greg noonan Says:

    Ian, i’m and old friend of your dads and worked with AOPA for about 7 years. I was out of aviation for better than a decade when I was charmed by a low time T182T and the never ending dellema of should I buy. Wel I did last December and I have about 100 hours on it so far this year.

    I do travel extensively from my home in Cooperstown to central and southern USA and have gone to Phoenix as well, love that turbo. The charts for me flying single pilot just don’t match up to the iPad. I do keep an occasional chart on board but the zoom I like for my aging eyes. I put the glare free cover on and do keep pigtail for power because I keep then brightness up high. You do need to be certain to keep battery charged, about 3.5 hours for me.

    I plan on being at expo in Hartford and looking at all that is available as I am having much work done to the plane this winter. Hi to your dad and I hope to see him in CT next week. I do use AOPA flight planner on my IPad and the other big reason I like it is that I can have all my company information and all the aviation information in one place.


  13. eric davis Says:

    Ian, did the guys at Garmin and XM pay for that writing? 😉

    Of course you can have weather on the iPad, in the cockpit, while in flight. Check out WingX paired with Radenna’s portable ADS-B receiver.

    I use this solution to have infinitely better situational awareness, including NEXRAD, METARS, TAFS, TFRS, all overlaid on a moving map of my choice: IFR airways, VFR sectionals, geo-referenced approach plates, etc. I don’t get that from paper charts.

    Oh yeah, aside from the initial investment in an iPad and the receiver, my ongoing cost for all this is $200 annually. The weather costs me nothing extra as it is provided as part of FAA next-gen.

    Not trying to disagree with you, but your readers should know that you omitted an important capability in your review.

    Thanks for an otherwise nice write up.

  14. Lloyd Stearns Says:

    I’ve seen this phenomenon before. In the 80’s, when Microsoft and Apple moved to the mouse, click paradigm for using computers. Until then, most interface with computers were text based. Then three companies went head to head with the point and click operating systems (compare to touch and slide of the iPad). IBM had a robust, well tested OS which was well supported which attracted business (OS/2). Microsoft had the same product which attracted the masses, and there were the Mac group who were focused on Apple for its features. Why did MS overcome? Because it had apps. They created apps and got a swell of geeks to write apps. To the masses, it was great, more games, utility, functionality, to possibilities were wide open.

    So here we are again. The aviation community is focused on a well tested and reliable product that is limited to aviation only (like IBM and OS/2). The masses have this tool that does more than just aviation stuff, it tackles more functionality than any product for aviation (a la MS Windows), albeit not perfectly. And there are other products out there that do aviation well but are not mainstream (like Apple’s Mac). The masses are voting. They like what they see, the investment is low, and you are not relegated to a addressing a single task (flying). They see the possibilities that in time it will do more without a big investment. The Garmin products do aviation well; but no possibiliiy of expanding or improving the product without a new outlay of money. Not so for the iPad. The same iPad can be upgraded to do more as soon as the application is available. This is what is attractive to people. I think the iPad will do well in the low cost cockpit even though it doesn’t do as well as aviation only products, just because it is low cost and the knowledge that it has the potential to get better and do more, and is not focused on a single task (aviation).

    OS/2 is now gone (or nearly so), Apple has invented a new paradigm with wide open options, and Microsoft is now a follower in this new paradigm. I think the masses are voting again.

  15. David Reinhart Says:

    While not perhaps for all the same reasons, I agree with Ian. Paper charts don’t mind the heat, don’t need batteries, don’t care if they get dropped on the ramp. I have both a phone and a Palm and my phone numbers, etc., are in both. I don’t like single points of failure and I try hard for redundancy in everything to do with data and flying.

    Not too long from now somebody in the soup is going to have their iPad die when they’re using it as their sole source of charts, probably at the end of a long trip away from home that would have taken a lot of paper charts, and the flight is not going to end well.

  16. Art Zemon Says:


    I bought the iPad as a chart viewer. It replaced a Sony PRS505 with Reader Plates and the last of my paper charts. The payback period was about 18 months to pay for the iPad and the ForeFlight subscription. Yes, I got a slimmer, trimmer flight bag. I also got several things that I don’t see many people mention:

    It is much easier to get the line drawn on the chart with ForeFlight than with a dining room table and a highlighter. I never grew past my student pilot habit. The chart alone is not enough; it has to have a line drawn on it. Better yet, I can redraw the line in flight.

    Because of the competitive app market and access to the internet, the iPad’s aviation features keep improving. The tool has become more useful over the last 15 months that I have owned it. I cannot say that about any other aviation device I have ever purchased.

    An added bonus, perhaps as important as everything else put together, is the non-aviation stuff that the iPad does. The device comes home from the airport and my wife uses it every day of the week. What other aviation device delights the non-flying spouse?

    — Art Z.

  17. STS Khalsa Says:

    It’s kind of sad and comical at the same time – like all times of technological change. Ian’s forced/requested to write a completely silly article because a large sponsor/advertiser is panicking. The lead story in this blog issue says everything that needs to be said about why this article appeared. “Garmin’s iPad Killer”. … Seriously? …whistling past the graveyard, Ian.You might at least TRY to be a little more subtle.

  18. Andy Says:

    There is no requirement for part 91 to have paper charts. You only need the information. It is up to you how you get it. Just remember that the information is critical to your continued existence.

    I fly a Columbia 300 which I have owned since new in 2002. It has dual GMX200s (upgraded from MX-20s).

    I went 100% electronic for approach plates in 2003. I still like paper enroute charts. I have a Fujitsu tablet PC that I use to load the GMX200 Jeppesen Chartview. I then use the tablet for a backup. I print plates for the airports I use most. All others are electronic. I brief the approach using the GMX200 and the tablet PC, and I watch the approach progress on the GMX200 with its geo-referenced charts.

    I have found that this method is excellent for how I fly. I do not feel that there is a safety issue in not having paper. I also no longer spend countless hours updating charts. I cannot see why anyone would want to stay with paper if they could afford the tablet PC. The time savings of updating the charts alone justifies the cost of the tablet.

    My only complaint is that the tablet PC could be better in bright sunlight which often bathes my C300. But, in reality, there usually isn’t much sun when I need it for an approach.

    I have had the Fujitsu for 8 years and it has served me well. The ipad does the exact same function for about a fifth of what I paid for the table back in 2003. The ipad is going to be my next in-cockpit tablet for certain. There is no way I would return to paper charts.

  19. Bill Farley Says:

    Your discussion on IPAD versus old form is that the IPAD organizes it , which for a pilot given signficant time issues in the cockpit can have everything he needs on the IPAD. Plus it updates by itself.
    IO 360 Power setting (app), charts, gps, FBO. etc. This would be 15 lbs of paper plus pulling items back and forth from the back seat. Bring the wrong chart and well hope the 430 has the information.
    Organizing a cockpit is a big task for single IFR and the IPAD offers it in spades.

  20. Scott Sackett Says:

    Hi Ian,

    The interesting thing regarding the iPad is that not only do you have Foreflight to use but when you leave the plan, you have a complete laptop and nearly all of it’s functionality. When I leave my plane and go to my hotel room, I’ve got all my reading material stored on the iPad, I can connect to the internet and handle all of my emails, and on and on. As the iPad develops with new aviation functionality, it’s going to prove, in my belief, to me more and more valuable as an overall tool. Something I just can’t do with the Garmin or other nav devices. Great article.

  21. Adam Says:

    Ipad Ipad thats all i hear. Well in order to get any GPS you need to get the 3G pad unless you get WIFI at 10000 feet. My friend bought an Ipad and we took it on a flight lets just say it did not wow me at all. Ok charts you want charts go to pdfplates.com and you get your charts FOR FREE yes free. I bought my 3 year old doughter a cheap (android) tablet off ebay for 80 bucks that can read all my charts and plates, and you can read it in sunlight because it has a cheap screen. FOR 80 bucks if you lose it or drop it no big deal your not out 700 bucks. Now what i have i bought an ASUS android tablet with a EGPS in it. It took some doing and there customer support dont know crap but with some app searching i got it to work with a FREE gps app it matched my gps right to the T. Also with the Microsd slot i down load all my charts for free with out taking up any memory in my tablet. My ASUS cost 399 with 49.00 insurance if i drop it still cheaper then 700. But i agree i do use a IFLY gps why because it works all the time and has maps and charts and it does what it is made for and does it perfict. You can cut with a bucher knife but if your doctor used it to operate on you i bet you will walk out so why depend on any tablet with your life is foolish. If you want a GPS there are alot of great ones out there for under 600 dollars.

  22. Mark Hubelbank Says:

    One point seems to be missed in the discussions I see. Size, Size, Size. In a small aircraft (2 seat) paper charts can become almost impossible very quickly. Just having all the charts in one small portable device is almost the only reason (against my better judgment) I have an IPAD. I have no other “apps” on it. It has never surfed the net or played games. It is a wall sized map in a 7 x 10 inch thin box.

    Oh and by the way, it keeps going if there is an electrical failure – minor plus over some panel units.

  23. Ted Johnson Says:

    I’ve loved my Garmin 496 for years, and like the poster above I was waiting for a 596 a while back, but time moves on. You make some good points about whether the iPad is yet a ‘complete’ aviation device, but I can’t help but notice that two AOPA articles appeared in my inbox today – ‘Garmin’s iPad Killer’ and your ‘iPad Insanity’. Pretty disparaging article titles for an organization that has almost daily hailed the virtues of the iPad for over a year, and both articles missed key points, with the former actually having critical errors – like saying the Garmin 796 was 3 times the price of the iPad. It’s actually 5 times the price of the least expensive iPad, which will do everything a pilot needs as long as he can connect by WiFi (the Garmin can’t even do that), including holding all charts for the whole US. Not to mention that Garmin’s yearly all-charts subscription is reportedly $499, and the iPad competitors’ subs are $149, for everything, including geo-referenced approach plates. You could almost buy a new iPad every year with the money you save on that alone. And as mentioned above, there are already solutions for in-cockpit weather on the iPad, and more are just around the corner. And what about the size of the iPad vs the 796? The iPad has a larger screen but it’s knife-thin compared to the 796 – have you seen the side view of the 796? And no way is it really usable on the yoke, at least not in any airplane I fly (it’s too big), but it’s too clunky and thick to use as a kneeboard – so how and where would it even be used in a cockpit?

    I don’t mean to act like a conspiracy theorist ;), but I’m wondering now how many Garmin 796 ads I’ll be seeing on the AOPA site and mag in the near future. I think we pilots understand that that’s how the magazine business works, so taking these articles with a grain of salt is advisable. Pilots should evaluate the iPad ourselves and see if it works for us. It’s no replacement for a G1000 but I wouldn’t fly without it – or my iPhone, running other, smaller apps that assist my flying at the same time.

  24. Scott Says:

    Yep, you sure do not get it…Do you know how much a trip kit cost to fly from Washington D.C. to Jeddah, SA? That is thru Iceland , fuel stop in Budapest, and then to Jeddah. Well I can tell you it is way more than the cost of an ipad. You need to get out of your small little world and and see how aviation really works. The paper charts for that trip weighs about 35 pounds and consists ofabout 50 charts…

  25. Shawn Waite Says:

    I have to agree with the others (nearly everyone). No offense Ian.. but I think you’re just stirring up the water to get clicks. I hope Eric D is not correct. I’m new to aviation and am still befuddled at the cost of everything, so to get *so much* for so little.. its an easy win. And the iPad doesn’t have to do a single thing new… it puts dozens of “old” things in the same place. Ask libraries how the paper book loaning is doing.. people can do the same “old”
    thing and read a book on their Nook AND play Anger Birds.

    Battery life! How can that even be an issue? Who wants to sit in a GA craft for more than 3.5 hours! Use a 12v plug like the “Garmin” handhelds, now you can sit there until you need fuel.

    You’re follow up comment about the pilots you talked to don’t consider non-aviation uses as a deciding factor.. [smirk] how do you think they talked their wives into getting it!? If anyone buys an iPad for aviation only, which i hardly doubt happens, that alone should speak volumes. Me? I use about $50 worth of iPad for aviation.. incredible bargain. $1 charts, where can i get $1 paper charts?

    Well.. the headline/article worked.. it got my attention and wound me up. I’m even submitting my first comment.. great job… nicely done… but you’re trolling Ian and you know it [smirk]

    Since you no longer need that “hype” device.. i think you should have a “IAN IPAD SWEEPSTAKES GIVEAWAY” Give it to someone who will appreciate it and love it and and give it a caring home.

    Keep doing what you do.. we’ll keep reading.. on our iPads. [smirk]

  26. Dan DeDona Says:

    There is no insanity. You’ve made the exact case for the iPad in “aviation only” but did not acknowledge it. $700 in paper avoided for one year pays for the device (depending on which one you choose) in about a year, even with a $70 annual chart fee. It does not need to do anything more than other devices if it does that.

    In addition, it does all the good things you and others mentioned above in and outside aviation. When it gets a direct XM weather feed in the cockpit in a few months, it will be amazing, and it won’t cost $10 – 25K (excluding installation). On top of everything else, I’ve got a device that will not be relegated to a flight bag or the junk heap of “also rans” in another year.

    Someone above suggested a debate on the subject at the AOPA Summit. Not sure what will be argued, but if it’s done, make sure there is ample room for cheerleaders ;-). No insanity here, just smart on many levels.

  27. Dan Frohman Says:

    The writer sounds like a ad for paper chart producers. I love my iPad and use it as a back-up. Of course it can be improved. That’s the nature of things.

  28. Joe Goebel Says:

    The only insanity I can see is this blog, and sadly, what it may represent in why GA is struggling to reinvent itself. The iPad cuts through an enormous amount of complexity and old technology, old methodology and aging systems to make climbing into a SEL, fixed wing aircraft and navigating to your destination much EASIER and SAFER, at a VERY AFFORDABLE price.

    I would very much encourage a discussion at AOPA and an ongoing analysis about how the iPad represents what is needed to rejuvenate GA. Electronic automation tools are the door to a new way of safely operating aircraft by simplifying processes, providing all the necessary information instantly and effortlessly, and reducing workload so that pilots can focus on the most critical aspects of safe flight, as well as developing and maintaining proficiency at a lower cost of time and money. The iPad gets it right in so many ways. We should learn from it, not stifle it.

  29. William Dobson Says:

    The people who say there is no PC equivalent to the iPad currently are flat-out wrong.
    I have been using S.A.’s “Voyager” on an ASUS slate tablet PC for several months now. The annual cost for digital chart data is about 1/5 the annual cost of paper charts for the areas in which I fly, and the entire device is 13 inches by 8 inches by 3/4 of an inch thick. (12.1 inch widescreen display). Like an iPad, the ASUS (EP121 model) slate tablet is touch-screen BUT its screen is also equipped for pen-stylus operations (good handwriting recognition for copying clearances directly onto the screen) and it comes with a bluetooth keyboard for in-office use. (You do have to buy a separate bluetooth GPS to get the charts geo-referenced, but even the iPad app providers recommend that, because the iPad’s built-in GPS is unreliable in flight. )

    Best of all,with all the usual input-output ports built into it, the ASUS is a full-blown Intel i5 quad-core processor Windows 7 OS PC, so it can totally replace a laptop in your travel gear and you can load all the software you own and already use on your home, office, or laptop — no apps to buy that (poorly) emulate good software.

    I realize that the above sounds a lot like an ad for the hardware, but people should realize that there ARE alternatives to the iPad that are every bit as useful INSIDE the cockpit and are also MUCH MORE useful than an iPad OUTSIDE the cockpit.

  30. R Bennett Says:

    Wow, this is a very well written advertorial, juxtapositioned to the Garmin 796 iPad Killer article.


    This is as about as subtle as shamelessly promoting the AOPA Wine Club.

  31. Bill Motsinger Says:

    Several items that helped tip the scale for me (part-time flight instructor)

    1. Weather overlay in the air (I spend a lot of time below 5,000 and pick up the weather just fine) with no monthly fee
    2. AeroBalance has a great W&B app so I have all the aircraft I fly entered (for quick check of student calculations) so I can quickly determine the W&B based on the fuel actually in the aircraft at the time even if I have to switch aircraft at the last minute
    3. Off-line flight planning with the ability to switch from VFR to Low IFR charts with one button push, airports, and weather in one app (ForeFlight)
    4. On-line weather from Duats or AOPA (it is nice to check just prior to loading up) on the ramp

    The frosting on the cake was during actual flight in IMC. Route changes were point and drag which got me on the correct heading quickly and allowed me time to reset the primary navigation instruments. I still carry an Low IFR chart and primary destination plates but have not had to use them.

  32. Gary Linsley Says:

    It’s hard to conceive of the profound convenience of the IPad if you are merely comparing it to other sources for aviation apps available via PC, Garmen portables, glass cockpit…

    6AM Laying in bed;
    1. Reach for IPad on the headboard.
    2. Read the L.A. Times (free app)
    3. Read N.Y Times (free)
    4. Scan CNN (free)
    5. Check weather forecast (10 day general forecast)
    6. Check satellite and radar weather via Foreflight locally, North America, fronts spinning of N. Africa, (you get the idea).
    7. Pull up DUAT and run a couple abbreviated briefings for possible flying destinations.
    8. Pull up my FBO and book plane for local pinch flight to Catalina for lunch.
    9. Use Foreflight, AOPA, or whatever you prefer for planning.
    10. Check emails and conduct minor business.
    11. Read current edition of Business Week or any other periodical downloaded automatically. (no more paper magazines)
    12. Read a chapter of a wonderful novel downloaded via Amazon that is bookmarked just where you left off by a push of a button.
    13. 7:15AM still lying in bed with my wife fast asleep next to me.

  33. Joe Goebel Says:

    I have to add, when i look at what i’m being asked to learn for my Instrument Rating about incredibly antiquated navigation systems, some which are not even operational anymore, I actually get mad, and it highlights the INSANITY of Ian’s perspective. Whether he is serious or just playing to the woes of a sponsor, this debate is at the heart of what needs to get fixed in GA, so thank you Ian for putting your insane perspective on the blog. Aren’t you glad you can get our feedback instantly instead of waiting for us to mail you a response to your newsletter?

  34. Ted Squires Says:

    The one thing that has been missed here that drove to purchase the ipad was the environment. As a pilot I have always felt guilty about the number of trees that are killed monthly to provide reams of paper for only a few updates. I thought the future was paperless.

  35. Jeff Mirsepasy Says:

    I just read the article and am writing this on my iPad2 – from my hotel room after flying 800 miles yesterday in my Mooney. The iPad with Foreflight is amazing, but it’s also great to have quick access in my lap during the flight to my POH, manuals for GPS, Fuelflow, handheld radio, Mooney shop and parts manuals, etc. Finally, the georeferenced taxi diagrams which show your position on the airport is invaluable when arriving at unfamiliar airports.

  36. Mark Dupont Says:

    A couple of comments for perspective:
    – I flew to Blacksburg, VA last weekend and really liked the ability to see the position of my airplane on a zoomable (i.e., readable) chart enroute. I had to fly a GPS approach at Blacksburg and having the geo-referenced approach plate showing the position of my airplane on the plate in real time was also a great aid to situational awareness.
    – I spent almost $1000 for a Garmin 195 some years ago and it is almost useless today.
    Therefore, in my opinion, the Ipad is a great, cheap addition to the cockpit and for flight planning in the hotel, too. Charts and plates are cheaper than paper and instantly available, the zoom feature makes them easier to read than paper, and I can use it to get all the weather info I need almost anywhere. It is a very versatile addition to my flightbag. I’m convinced.

  37. Mark Leuzinger Says:

    Paper charts versus EFB, 35 lbs. versus 1. Easy choice.

    We do a lot of single pilot IFR and switched from a Garmin 696 to an iPad running the ForeFlight app a little over a year ago. Garmin has a dirty little secret with the 28 day updates to the 696. It takes 2-4 hours every cycle to get the new data bases to load (worst case 7 hours). They promised a fix for over a year and never delivered.

    When the data base expires the software blocks you from seeing the approach plates. That is just flat dangerous. It would be fine to display the approach plate with a warning flag saying it is out of date but to just block access to it is a safety of flight issue. On top of all of that, the user interface on the 696 needed help. We can only hope they have resolved those issues on the 796.

    So let’s see, the Garmin 796 costs 3 times as much as an iPad, the updates cost over 6 times as much annually, the battery life is much less than the iPad, and on top of that the iPad can navigate to a hotel or restaurant, check weather, file a flight plan, and track my e-mail. Be afraid Garmin, Apple is going to eat you.

  38. Bill Jones Says:

    You mentioned your 530 doesn’t show airways. I’m wondering. Mine has show airways ever since I bought it years ago. Push the IFR button and airways are always right there.

  39. Cromwell Campbell Says:

    I think Joe’s points are very pertinent. iPad functionality is the future even if the device could be improved (and which device is perfect?)

    I am not an Apple guy and still only own PC’s. But I do have an iPhone and am captivated by the apps. Sometimes I even use it to make phone calls :-)). ForeFlight is now a killer app for me. I would not get another phone unless it has the capability to run ForeFlight.

    Ease of Flight planning was the initial reason for purchasing the app. And yes, I have used AOPA’s flight planning tool, but ForeFlight on the phone is so much more convenient. The ability to check the weather and file and IFR flight plan just before boarding the aircraft when the weather is rapidly changing is very handy. The ability to file a DC SFRA flight plan has proven to be particularly useful. Once airborne I can pick alternate destinations based on services and fuel prices when diversion is necessary (weather, airsick passengers, sudden potty needs, etc.) These functions alone sold me on ForFlight but then I discovered the charts!!

    No more paper. I fly all over the US and carrying charts was cumbersome and expensive. The cost of ForeFlight chart updates pays for the app and the phone. Plus, I am always up to date and I always have the current charts. The integration of all these capabilities has caused me to put aside my normal anti-Apple mindset and I will soon be getting an iPad primarily to run ForFlight. Looking forward to the other apps that I will be able to run too. No, I am not a paid operative of ForeFlight. I understand that WingX is out there too but don’t have any experience with it. We all win when there is healthy competition and I will convert to another product if it does a better job at a similar price.

    There is NO favorable comparison between the current price and capability of an iPad with ForFlight and ANY Garmin device. There is no way a sane individual would pay thousands of dollars for for functions that can be done easier at a fraction of the cost. I am very happy with my 496 as it provides the inflight weather. But the screen is small and weather may soon be coming to my iPad.

  40. John Dukesherer Says:

    I use SkyRadar which has WEATHER from ADS-B (free). It is better than I got from WX for 55+. from FL to MI to AZ the only blanks so far have been CO and small surrounding areas. I paid the tall price for this connection last fall and do not regret any of the cost. I used Seattle avionics for 8 or so years on several boxes and am a life subscriber so I still plan there and carry the SkyPad as backup nav. My SkyRadar box is under the back seat of our C 180K and comes on with the master switch. In KBCT there is weather on the ground. Most of FL has traffic because of the use of ADS-B out by others.

    AOPA needs to try this out.

  41. Bob DeFilippo Says:

    Hi, my name is Bob, and I am a early adopter….

    I have used too many portable devices to admit. Ian made the point that Voyager by Seattle Avionics mounted on a tablet did more than the iPad with either Foreflight or WxWorx. Yes, BUT as much as I liked Voyager and used it on virtually every flight for 2 years, the reliability and speed of the hardware was the problem. On the last flight I used the tablet, I was IFR and in weather and the PC crashed for the 3rd time. That was it, I tossed it into the rear baggage compartment never to make a reappearance. This wasn’t the first time… the PC just wasn’t a reliable platform in the air. Loved the software, but it could not be delivered. The next day I purchased an Aera 510, but then the iPad came into being.

    The iPad, for the past 18 months, has been a game changer. It’s speed and image flexibility in delivering charts and approaches is incomparable. I haven’t had heat issues, nor has it crashed a single time in the cockpit. The savings in paper charts/approaches pays for the device. And all the reasons stated above makes this an essential part of my flight bag and general use.

    I don’t get the doubters… in less than 18 months with all the new software and the software upgrades it is a dynamite device that keeps getting better every month… and without purchasing a new device.

    I think it has more than met expectations, and the good news is that it is setting new expectations even higher and spurring development of better avionics from the likes of Garmin.

  42. Peter Welch Says:

    Size. No folding/unfolding charts. Course set up faster than any other system I’ve used. No updating Jepps. Weight negligible. Display – ok in bright sun. AFD. foreflight constantly improving product. When active weather added, it’s all you need and it can be carried to whatever you fly. Compared to any panel mount it is cheap. Battery life superb. Plus all the other stuff ipad does. I thought it was and is a no brainer. Have you used one Ian? Hard to believe you do not see the reasons so many have made clear.

  43. Tom M Says:

    Ian, I bought the iPad for other reasons. Then I found Skychartspro at the Apple Store. I have all (and always current) VFR and IFR charts, TAC’s, FLY’s, AFD’s and approach plates for twenty bucks a year! They all weigh less than half a pound! I always have them with me. You don’t get it? Why not?

  44. Michele Says:

    I’m surprised no one has mentioned what I think is the biggest disadvantage of the Ipad – it’s just too big. I fly an Aztec and I couldn’t find a place to put that thing without blocking something else important.

    There’s also something to be said for a dedicated aviation unit. You don’t have to worry about some rogue app or virus trashing the system. That said, I’m moving away from paper, partly because I have to. It seems that lately, more and more FBO’s have fewer and fewer paper charts in stock.

    Now I fly with an ancient yoke-mounted Garmin 196, a 7″ Samsung Galaxy Tab running Navzilla mounted to the left side strut, and a Fujitsu PC tablet running Chartflier lying on the floor between the front seats. That gives me triple redundancy, and I can spread the workload. For example, the Tab can display a checklist while the Fujitsu shows a plate and the Garmin has a moving map.

  45. Sam Says:


  46. Bob brentnall Says:

    iPads do not push the state of the art. After over 40 years of paper chars and Manual Revisions I am apple convert.
    1. Never a doubt about currency. Automatically checked via Internet
    2. Revisions are automatically posted NO More PAPER REVISIONS.

  47. philip Says:

    Don’t know if its been mentioned but the “over heating” issue is “over blown”. The unit is instant on. I just click it off when I’m not looking at it and click it back on when I need to reference it. It even keeps up with the GPS position while in sleep mode (I have an extrenal GPS the seems to run forever on its own batter). I flew from Chicago to Manasass and back on one charge, never over heated, and never went below 90% battery. I also didn’t lug 30pounds of charts with me. I don’t need to keep my head down trying to identify where I am when going from chart to chart either. It updated every chart in the entire US overnight on its own. When returning I got a deviation to my filed plan of V144 to Fort Wayne I just added the VOR’s along the route and noted that the intermediate waypoints were inline so I didn’t need to program every one into the GPS. I’ll NEVER go back to paper charts. On the size being to big??? Do you have to look at it every second of every flight. Just pick it up with one hand, click it on and set it on your lap. Leave it running during the approach. Is the missed approach point the correct time to review the missed procedure on a chart?

  48. Mark fingerlin Says:

    Ian, I think you are missing a major point, the IPad is a tablet that can be a GPS and chart case, the GPS is only a GPS. I’d probably agree with your position more if the decision was simply tablet vs GPS purchase. It’s not if you already own a tablet or your budget limits you to buying only one. Can you email from your GPS? I can from my IPad. Also the portability between aircraft and ability to operate in vintage types without electrical systems are also plusses for a limited group. Battery life and recharging are also no contest when comparednto most portable GPS offerings.
    Personaly I still like paper charts and am unlikely to ever “leave home without it” as they have very few moving parts to go down at the worst possible time. Plus you’ll never have to argue with the FAA about compliance. Thanks for the thoughtful piece. Mark

  49. Bill Motsinger Says:

    And the best part is Garmin is now offering an iPad app. Check future down in the email for the Garmin add. So much for the iPad Killer…

  50. Ed Fogle Says:

    I live in the country and can’t afford a full subscription to IFR and VFR charts so I always bought individual ones when I needed them. Many times I’ve planned flights for some morning expecting the weather to be good VFR. Sure as the world the day before or, worse yet the night before, a check of the weather showed it might be IFR. So, if I was lucky I’d make the hour and forty-five minute round trip drive to the nearest chart seller and hope they would have charts in stock. If I wasn’t lucky it was already after five and that wasn’t an option.

    Ian’s point about the cost doesn’t take into account the ongoing expense. $700 for the iPad plus $75-$300 per year sounds like a lot until you remember the cost of of paper charts easily that total every year.

    The more I read Ian’s piece the more it appeared he had a preconceived opinion and was looking for anything to justify it.

  51. Craig Harthun Says:

    I bought a Dell laptop refurbished from dell, an 1110. $250. Very compact. Full blown windows machine that has been flawless. Everything to do with flying is on it, Easy to use DUATS voyager to create flight plans in the coffee shop. I can download any chart for free. I always print out anything I want to have reference to in flight. I have a gns 430 and 496. It takes a couple minutes to program the 430. Why exactly do I want an ipad?

    I haven’t bothered but you could replace the hard drive with a SSD for very little nowadays.

    This is a serious question?

  52. Sam DalSanto Says:

    WOW!!! So many people here have missed the point. The iPad has done more for the aviation industry then any other technology in recent memory. For a tiny fraction of the cost of other avionics, it delivers all of the newest technologies and has even credited a few on its own. The iPad shakes up the status quo and forces the competition to innovate and lower their prices. Do you really think Garmin would have developed the 796 or installed a touch screen display on all of its new products if it weren’t for the iPad? You could even say it shows capitalism works when burdensome regulation, that only serves to protect established companies, is removed and the free market can compete. The iPad has in empowered the average pilot like nothing else. For now on, the iPad is the benchmark that all new products will be compared to.

    And with all due respect to old timers, they will never understand why computers are important.

  53. Dick Bicknell Says:



  54. Ted Mott Says:

    “Your iPad story reminds me of the days when my Dad was the FBO at MLT during the 60s and 70s. During the early 60s I spent a great deal of time at the airport listening to stories around a red-hot potbelly stove. One such factual story is about a man who did not want to sell his airplane. However, his wife told him that it must go. In order to keep peace, the airplane was put up for sale at twice its market value as his wife was not the least bit educated in aircraft values. Needless to say he was able to hold onto that airplane for a good many years.

    With respect to the iPad comments you have received, it may be that most of the complainers agree with you but wanted the iPad for other reasons and the justification to the little lady was it was necessary in the cockpit as safety equipment. And, the complaint was generated as a smoke screen just in case the little lady got hold of your article.

  55. Kent D. Nicholson Says:

    Price, Price, Price!!! A full EFB plus many other non-aviation features in a perfect size (7″ screens too small for my aged eyes), little weight, extremely portable and convenient – all for about one quarter the cost of dedicated aviation units. And updates couldn’t be more convenient or affordable. Magazine editors seem to forget that the masses (us) simply can’t afford all the latest and greatest aviation gadgets. Tell the manufacturers to bring the prices down, and we’ll see what everyone embraces. Still don’t get it? Switch to a non-aviation career and see how you feel about it when you can’t deduct your costs off your tax return.

  56. Doug Says:

    Thank you Ian. Well said.

  57. John Martin Says:

    The iPad is the true convergence device WRT aviation and it has revolutionized my travel. Consider its uses:

    Before departing: Foreflight for planning with DUATS briefing and access to aviation and civilian weather.
    While flying: moving map GPS
    When bored: it plays my music collection via bluetooth headset
    Upon arrival: Geo-referenced chart viewer
    At my destination: GPS again while using the courtesy car in a strange city. Access to websites to find a hotel and places to eat.
    At the hotel: streaming movies via Netflix, checking email, etc.
    When departing: hit the “reverse” button get another breifing. Should it be necessary there is a W&B, POH and FAR app ready.

    It would be overstatement to say is does everything so I’ll say does almost everything AND it’s smaller than a legal pad.

    But the batteries may fail! True: but I have an iPhone in my pocket which also has Foreflight and can work in a pinch. Oh and before you say it: my wife has an iPhone in her pocket too :)

  58. Robert Briggs Says:

    I think Greg Linsely hit it on the nose. I don’t own an iFad. But I do own an iPhone. I use it for AOPA airports, I look at weather radar, I make phone calls, I watch movies on it, listen to music (it plugs into the music jack in my plane), and it’s my alarm clock in the morning. I have never owned a device that has so completely inserted and integrated itself into my daily life. I would never leave the house on a cross country flight without it.

    It’s not just about charts, it’s about everything else it can do.

    Now, if we could only get away from iToons.

  59. Garland Tillery Says:

    iFad is a bit much, don’t you think?

    I have used Foreflight on my iPhone since it became available and purchased my iPad specifically because Foreflight was so good and available.

    The comment about unavailability of in-flight weather has been the single biggest missing part of the iPad explosion in aviation.

    Not being a wealthy person, I have to budget my flying dollars carefully especially with $6/gal avgas. Paying $500/yr to XM for WXWorx for the privilege of receiving weather in flight in addition to $400+ for Garmin updates while still having to buy paper charts and plates was just one more annoying intrusion into my enjoyment of flying. But nobody had given us weather and Foreflight wouldn’t commit to ever doing it. Well Foreflight finally came up with a system but it requires an adapter and a WxWorx receiver and $500 subscription to get weather in the air.

    There is an alternative, and a previous member mentioned it…get free in-flight FAA weather by using a SkyRadar ADS-B receiver. The hardware includes a WAAS GPS, antennas, power connector and software to receive all ADS-B services…local and CONUS NEXRAD, METARS, TAFS, SUAs, TFRs and traffic if you are in an area that is being lit up by an aircraft with an ADS-B transmitter onboard. The hardware costs about $1000 but that’s what you’d pay anyway for two years of XM subscription…and thereafter you’d never pay for weather services again.

    There are some limitations…weather data is not guaranteed below 1000′, I believe, and ADS-B isn’t yet nationwide…but it’s pretty close to being completed and will be nationwide by 2013. But obtaining weather on the ground normally isn’t a problem anyway.

    The receiver fits in the glovebox in my Cherokee and I have a narrow extension 8″ blade antenna Velcro’d to the corner of a window. That’s the only visible part other than the power plug.

    The signal is sent to the iPad via a built-in wifi transmitter and the ADS-B data is displayed on the iPad SkyRadar app. The app overlays the data on terrain, sectionals or low-enroute charts. WingX can also interface with the SkyRadar receiver and present the data on that app.

    The system is also great for instructors because it will record an entire flight with all the ADS-B data stream and WAAS position information in a flight log which is available for replay at normal or X10 speed. Weather data and traffic that was presented during the flight is also part of the flight log.

    Weather was the missing link. It’s now there and ADS-B is the way to go in my opinion and I’m speaking from eight years of experience with WxWorx on whatever portable screens I could find that would interface. I have only had my SkyRadar ADS-B receiver since May, but I couldn’t be happier with it.

    If this thing was available a few years ago I would have saved several thousand dollars on weather data subscriptions. But better late than never!

  60. Pierre duPont Says:

    I don’t have one yet but I am certainly looking at it! I cary the chart books but because of my job, sometimes I will pick up and ferry a heliocpter with no warning and don’t carry the chart book unless I am expecting to fly.

    What I have found is that it is impossible to buy sectional charts at airports any more since NOAA changed the sales reqirements for FBO’s and I have had to make several long cross countries in a heliopter with no charts!

    I carry a Kindle for reading and the Ipad would make it possble to have both charts and an ebook in one unit.

  61. Sue Says:

    Godsend or Gadget ?
    No contest, Godsend wins – electronic hands down over paper any time !
    There are advantages and disadvantages with anything … but the potential for iPad inflight Apps is just about limitless, allowing for so much versatility at the touch of a finger :
    Timely updates of chosen materials
    Personal selection of required maps/plates etc
    Simplifying and exponentially speeding up navigation/reverse nav. planning etc
    Instantaneous access to Wx/trip logs/charts/plates/airport info etc etc
    And best yet … geo-referencing
    Such versatility and ease of access is virtually impossible with paper products.

    Worried about battery life ? Buy an iPad plug … fits in the a/c cigarette lighter !
    And as pointed out by numerous writers here, iPad is also useful for a multitude of other applications throughout ones travels … including downloading books …

    As an avid flying iPad user, I have chosen and work with ForeFlight …
    So all I can say is “What are you waiting for” ???

  62. Steve Atkinson Says:

    Personally what I would like to see is a really well done article covering the best of the app’s offered for the iPad.

    I lost my medical for a few years due to cancer, but hope to have it back in a few more months and I am very interested in the advancements that have taken place while i was gone.

  63. Sue ... again Says:

    Consider :
    The initial “investment” in an iPad with 3G, no matter what your end use, costs up to +/-$1,000
    Add to that :
    A monthly 3G Server subscription cost of upwards from $ 17
    An annual ForeFlight subscription cost of $ 150.00 each for either the US or Cda ($ 300.00 for both) that include VFR & IFR, bring you auto upgrades (just be sure to use WiFi for large downloads !) … and all the other benefits that go along with this “generous” subscription.

    Compare this expense to anything else available (paper included) on today’s market and I would hazard a guess that the costs work out about equal … or maybe even less … and without the aggravation !

    So, to those of you who can obviously afford to fly… you should regard this new technologoy as a pretty “cheap” alternative that will enhance your flying experience/skills – especially when you consider the price of Safety that these innovations can but help to enhance !

    Like it or not, EFB’s in one form or another are here to stay, can only improve over time in a very competitive market – so take advantage … and fly “Smarter” !

  64. Don K Says:

    Reading these comments it seems most people feel the same way I do. I use an HP Touchscreen notebook with SA Voyager 4 and a Delorme bluetooth GPS. I have a friend who has an iPad and have compared both. My setup gives me a lot more functionality than the iPad but with some trade offs. Windows 7 with Voyager isn’t as stable as the Apple OS with Foreflight and it’s failed on me in flight more than once. My setup was a lot more expensive. The computer cost me $1300, $50 for the GPS, Voyager was over $100 for the modules I bought plus yearly chart purchases. The iPad OS interface is incredibly smooth. If you’ve never had a chance to use one give it a try. You’ll be impressed.

    Garmin has been raking in the cash from sales of their aviation GPS units for years now. The core technology they use is from the other GPS markets but the aviation units cost many times as much. Likewise, the rediculous subscription charges for updating aviation units. Garmin can justify charging more for units that provide more, but if they fail to learn from what the iPad does well and don’t adjust their pricing structure they will eventually be marginalized in the GA market. I hope they learn because Garmin really does make a great product.

  65. Don K Says:

    PS. I needed a computer anyway, which justified the bulk of what I spent. Just like those folks who are out there buying iPads.

  66. James draper Says:

    I’m reading and replying on my ipad. Try doug that on your garmin.

  67. Palmer Woodrow Says:

    I was going to get an iPad 2, with aviation use a big reason. Then I discovered that the screen is polarized in the wrong direction for mobile use; it’s invisible with polarized sunglasses in portrait orientation (which is what you’d use on a kneeboard or pretty much any other vehicle mount).

    This is a problem that should not have made it out of testing, but Apple’s QA isn’t all that thorough (witness the headphone jack on the original iPhone, which 99% of headphones on the market wouldn’t fit). They’re not going to fix it unless you let them know about it.

    Another major problem is Apple’s continued insistence on putting glossy screens on everything. By following the lead of second- and third-tier vendors at Best Buy, Apple is degrading both its computers and tablets by obscuring their screens with a sheen of reflections. Again, this isn’t going to get fixed unless people complain.

    Endless fawning without criticism doesn’t help; it rewards bad design decisions. Let’s give constructive feedback!

  68. Gary Linsley Says:

    In response to Palmer Woodrow, you can’t wear polarized sunglasses with most of the screens including the Garmin G1000. That’s why they sell non-polarizes aviation glasses.
    Palmer, buy a pair and enjoy the amazing IPad revolution.

  69. Marc Santacroce Says:

    Wow, what great back-and-forth. I can’t afford an iPad right now, but plan to get one. As a CFI/CFII my only concern is having a backup in the rare event of iPad failure. As long as I fly G1000 or other TAA aircraft, the iPad is the backup. Then my only concern is dropping it, or dropping something on it. still looking for recommendations on the best way to carry it in the airplane.

    BTW, do any of you use WingX. Seems like a good service, but less used that ForeFlight. How come.

    Flay safe,


  70. Gerry Koehler Says:

    What about the Android? I’ve been hesitant to make the move to iPhone/iPad because of AT&T’s less than stellar data performance. Are these apps, i.e. Foreflight, and other systems, i.e. SkyRadar, compatible and usable on Droid platforms? Is the performance and reliability, and availability of apps really better vs the iPad?

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  73. Elliott Schiffman Says:

    Even worse is when the programs don’t deliver what they promise. For example Seattle Avionics SkyPad3 program has been broken for almost two years – it can’t deliver one of the most basic functions, a valid DUAT briefing (and they write the program for DUAT).. Company has made empty promises to fix it for at least a year and a half, but the program is not maintained. Not a good sign when you pay big dollars for a program and the software fails shortly after release. The company management seems more interested in it’s next program than maintainng it’s own recently released software.

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    a awesome headline? I ain’t saying your content isn’t solid, however suppose you added something that grabbed
    people’s attention? I mean AOPA Pilot Blog: Reporting Points »
    Blog Archive » iPad insanity is kinda plain. You ought to
    glance at Yahoo’s home page and watch how they create news
    titles to grab viewers to click. You might try adding
    a video or a related picture or two to get readers interested about what you’ve written. In my opinion, it would make your
    posts a little bit more interesting.

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