Amy and Marc Discuss the Apple iPad, and it’s usefulness in flight.
I really want to be able to say, “The Pad is perfect for flight”, but I can’t. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a very useful and handy tool, but it has a few drawbacks. At some point you have to ask yourself, “Is this better than paper in flight?” The answer is that it’s not.
The iPad is convenient. This is the bottom line of what is good about it. So, use it in flight… absolutely. Just don’t expect it to improve the cockpit clutter too much. Having a moving map, or approach plates, are the most useful features, but honestly, a Kindle DX can display plates better than an iPad (no brightness to adjust on Kindle glass – drawback: no color on a Kindle).
The Foreflight software is pretty good, but it still has a way to go in order to do everything you might need. On the other hand, I’m not sure it should ever be designed to do everything. I think the apps should be broken up into phases of flight. Then, have checklists, and incorporate your own workflow into the checklists… then we’ll have something.
All said… the iPad is not perfect for flight. As a preflight planner – it’s awesome. Every pilot should buy one (the 3G model, that is. Specifically for the GPS, but having a data connection is also really handy).
Sarah Lane and Tom Merritt did a show on iPad flying apps on “iPad Today”. Check out their show for a more flying-novice look at the iPad: iPad Today, Episode 5