View Full Version : iPad experience and choices
3rd Aug 2012, 19:07
I've been trying out the iPad and associated bits and pieces for a couple of months now, and finally came up with a combination that I think works. I wrote something up in case it's useful for anyone else:
G00gle "n5296s ipad" (and (^&*% to the pprune URL nazis - what exactly do you think you're trying to achieve?)
So, to summarize, what I have found works is:
32 GB iPad with 3G and built-in GPS
MyGoFlight "iPad kneeboard sport"
Yoke mount for the above plus a couple of extra bits from Sporty's
ForeFlight Mobile software
CloudAhoy for flight tracking
I can't recommend the double kneeboard from MyGoFlight - I never got it to work and having attacked it with pliers and chipped the paint, I can't even sell it.
3rd Aug 2012, 21:33
Thanks for the post. Just downloaded CloudAhoy. Looking forward to trying the app in flight!
3rd Aug 2012, 21:38
My current setup:
- 64 GB iPad 2 3G (the GBs don't matter all that much, but only the 3G version includes the GPS. Without internal GPS, you will definitely need an external GPS, connected via BlueTooth. Although, to be honest, some people (not me) have reported reception problems with the internal GPS of the 3G, and end up using an external GPS anyway. This seems to be mostly airframe dependent.)
- SkyDemon (I have used Air Nav Pro in the past but find SkyDemon a far more superior product. I'm also hearing good things about PocketFMS but have not tried that on the iPad.)
- Kensington Blackbelt - a thick rubber band that wraps around the edges. This allows me to keep the iPad in my lap or on the seat next to me. I have not investigated the option of mounting the iPad somewhere in the cockpit, and in the particular airplane that I fly most, I don't see that as a viable option anyway. Together with a generic screen protecting film (mine is from Xenos, but honestly any brand will do), a lot would have to happen before the iPad would be damaged.
(Edited: The other bits of electronics in my flight bag are the GoPro Hero 2 Motorsports edition (with the extra battery pack), the iPad camera connection kit and iMovie. Very easy to take video, crop it in iMovie to a reasonable length, add some comments and titles, and post it on Facebook. Or make slightly longer films for passengers. Or whatever.)
4th Aug 2012, 16:50
Overheats and shuts down in a hot cockpit. The Memory-Map application for the iPad is grossly inferior to that used on other platform; as a photo manager its nigh on useless with its clunky operation. The thing is constipated, you can't get anything out of or even into it with any degree of ease. Probably the most disappointing bit of electronics I have ever owned. Like a Ferrari with its wheels welded together. An expensive Kindle!
A and C
4th Aug 2012, 22:30
IPad 64 gb loaded with:-
Sky demon, for the quick VFR flight planning.
Aero weather, for METAR & TAF
Jeppview, for the airfield plates.
EAG plates ( coz that is what my employer uses, I would rather pay for the Jepps for my own use).
Having used the iPad for about a year now I have yet to encounter any of the problems that Whopity has had.
Big Pistons Forever
4th Aug 2012, 23:34
I love my I pad. The main app I use is foreflight and I think it is just outstandingly usefull. Plus the Foreflight guys are continually updating it and it just gets better and better.
My only beef with the I pad is reading the screen in direct bright sunlight. I have been told that the anti glare films for thr screen help but have never tried one yet
Sent from my i pad :)
5th Aug 2012, 08:42
I too love my ipad.
Skydemon is brilliant and many other apps are very useful.
Vive la revolution! Adios Microsoft!
5th Aug 2012, 10:23
64gb iPad 3 (3G version) with Sky Demon. Absolutely brilliant. I get realtime NOTAMS/METARS/TAFS but use AeroWeather Pro (for QNH and cross check weather). No problems with glare, over-heating, loss of GPS signal or anything else. It munches through the battery, so it's plugged into the a/c's aux power socket via a 24v truck cigarette lighter plug thingy. I have a Garmin 430 and a SkyMap in my aircraft but prefer to use the iPad, which sits in a Ram Mount cradle, still with its cover on :ok:
5th Aug 2012, 10:41
I'm currently studying my ATPL Groundschool with Pro Pilot (excellent people and learning books through iPad) so bought myself a secondhand iPad 1 32gb 3G to study through. Well now it runs Air Nav Pro and I've just flown around France in many varying types of weather from 500' up to FL75 with it mounted on a cheap car windscreen mount (stable up to 2.5G!) and it performed faultlessly. Sure at 30 degrees plus in cockpit temps it would occasionally shut down for a few minutes but it's not the primary nav aid now is it?!
I also have sky demon lite on it as my home base is within the RZ and yes sky demon is very good but I just prefer having a real moving map.
I would have gone to Runway HD had i been told they were developing it when I asked them in Feb but since they didn't tell me I went with Air Nav. Now I'm not saying for a moment that it is better than the others as it certainly is no where near as good as Sky Demon for Flt planning but it's also on my iPhone (free duplicate) as backup or additional should I (for example) want an ADF in the cockpit. It has relegated my Aware Plus to backup and the aircrafts side pocket. Although for small cockpits or aerobatics I'll keep the aware in my pocket as it fits nicely into the flying suit knee board.
I use aeroweather for met (air nav also gives met) and RocketRoute for flight plans and plates. I print my plates and those of my divs for my trip ref file (A5) and load them all plus any other likely ones onto rocketroute on iPad.
Yes iPad is poor in direct sunlight but you don't really need to figure out where you are when you can see everywhere now do you?! But when the weather is getting worse and your manuvering you're in the shade and it's a fantastic tool for continual SA. And the battery will always outlast the Aware etc.
5th Aug 2012, 11:20
Whopity's comment made me smile - I can fully understand it.
The Ipad is very good at what it does out of the box, and usually a right PITA at everything else.
It is not a "computer"; it is a media player, web browser, a box for reading emails and for writing one-line ones back, and for running the few 3rd party apps that are actually very good. The vast majority of the shop apps are crap, crippled one trick horses, and trivia.
The massively reduced literacy on forums is the result of so many people posting with Iphones and Ipads :)
If you can do all you need with an Ipad then you have a great solution. The build quality is good by consumer IT standards (although in our family, with an Iphone4, we have thus far had a 100% failure rate on Apple stuff), the battery life is great, and the finger interface is unmatched. The screen is pretty bright.
We originally bought it for the question bank on the JAA IR ground school, and it is superb for that. Lie on the sofa with it and bang away at the questions...
One needs the £25 matt screen filter to make it daylight usable. I got one from Amazon.
The Apple/Itunes backup process works really well, and an app you buy can be installed on several devices. The minus side is that you cannot just download apps elsewhere.
I have found the GPS to be of crap reliability in flight (superb on the ground, when moving slowly) but it works OK with the XGPS150 bluetooth unit (another gadget to keep charged, so I don't bother with it).
One can't run Afpex on it, nor any other app (or a website) that needs Java client. There are ways to run Afpex (example (http://i101.photobucket.com/albums/m74/peterh337/Ipad%20stuff/afpex-ipad.jpg)) but they are obscure to say the least (various forms of remote desktop) and the performance is poor unless you are on wifi or have very good 3G.
It has various issues which are well known: incompatibility with many (what Apple call "legacy") wifi access points (I gather it throws away the DHCP every 10 seconds, which fools many routers), cannot make up its mind between GPRS/3G and wifi if both offer a similarly poor signal level (and tends to prefer wifi, without realising that nowadays nearly all unencrypted wifi APs are pay-to-use commercial ones), no indication of whether it is using the internal GPS or an external one.
I am waiting for Oziexplorer to come out for IOS because that will open up the range of maps one can run on it. Currently, you have only the really crappy Memory Map which runs only QCT and its latest version "upgrade" removed the option to upload your old QCTs :ugh: So I am staying with the old MM version.
I haven't jailbroken it yet. Did the Iphone4. A JB is handy in some respects e.g. dropping data files directly into the app's Docs directory, but while a JB exposes the file system fully, Apple have concealed most of it by using obscure numeric directory names so unless you are a dedicated hacking forum follower you won't know what is what. One can use Iphone Explorer for a lot of drag/drop stuff though, even without a JB.
5th Aug 2012, 13:31
Although I have resisted an iPad so far ;) I have to say that the iPad running Skydemon is a far superior moving map product than anything else on the market and for £500 or so you can't beat it.
In fact so much so that we're doing what a lot of other people are doing and that is making space on the right of our panel to mount a 3G iPad. This will enable us to download weather data (real time radar for example) on the ground and maybe at low level and also file flight plans direct from SD. The mapping is brilliant and overlays the Notams etc onto your map...
You can run various apps on the table like backup AI's (HUD - does iPad have a Gyro like the Morotola Xoom ?) etc...which could get you out of trouble in a bad situation. As these tablets are so thin, it is no problem to mount a clip in dock to the front of the panel so no worries with regards aircraft mods. We're having some avionics work done at the moment and getting stuff shifted around on the RHS and a PSU wired in ready for the ipad.
I am an Android person really and wish SD was available for my Motorola Xoom as I'd rather have that on the panel as it contains gyro and barometric altimeter.
5th Aug 2012, 14:02
Noting that you are in the USA, Foreflight is my first choice. AOPA and DUAT apps are also very useful. You will see mention of SkyDemon, a stunning UK-based product which provides almost world-wide coverage and an amazing array of services too numerous to cover. It also manages to get around some of the traditional limitations of the iPad by the use of Cloud computing. You can prep on a PC and sync to the iPad now.
I bought an original iPad 3G now dedicated to flying, bought a plastic back off eBay for a couple of £ and cut slots to fit a velcro strap for a leg mount. Never have trouble with GPS reception (Low wing AC) or the screen or overheating or battery life.
I find the IFR plates in pdf helpful as you can zoom into figures when I couldn't read the paper plate font size in turbulence.
5th Aug 2012, 16:17
Yes, for our American brothers and sisters, Skydemon will work just as well over there as it will in Europe and most other places. Go and download it and try it for free, Welcome to SkyDemon, VFR Flight Planning Software and GPS Navigation (http://www.skydemon.aero), and I am sure you'll be as impressed as the rest of us.
5th Aug 2012, 18:51
does iPad have a Gyro like the Morotola Xoom
Yes. And there are a few HUD applications that use them. However, they seem to be gimmicks more than actual, reliable HUDs. At least, the one I have here is.
First, it's actually relatively easy to upset it simply by sitting on the couch and moving the iPad above your head, rotating it etc. And it automatically centers itself when you tap anywhere on the screen, with no way to block that. So you
lose the proper HUD reference as soon as you accidently touch the iPad - not an uncommon occurance in turbulent IMC, when you need a reliable instrument most.
If you want a HUD on your iPad, there is a standalone AHRS unit out there somewhere which you can mount in the aircraft, and connect to via Wifi or Bluetooth. Never played with it, but I have seen that Air Nav Pro has support for it.
5th Aug 2012, 22:20
>>I have found the GPS to be of crap reliability in flight (superb on the ground, when moving slowly) but it works OK with the XGPS150 bluetooth unit (another gadget to keep charged, so I don't bother with it).<<
Having just completed Oshkosh and back in a TB20 with an iPad 2 64gb 3G (mounted on the right hand panel) without an external GPS I can tell you that for some 9,200 miles the internal GPS never failed once.
We were running ForeFlight west of Iceland for the Canadain and USA IFR/VFR charts, plates and approaches and SkyDemon east of Iceland without a single problem.
Aero weather worked well for METAR's and TAF's
All in all using the iPad in the cockpit made life a awful lot easier.
15th Aug 2012, 07:12
Having had the opportunity to play with a couple of Andtoid tablets, in computing terms and operability, they run rings around the the iPad.
15th Aug 2012, 08:15
So how can we convince Tim to develop Sky Demon for the Android?
15th Aug 2012, 08:36
He is probably doing it already.
His past form is to totally deny the slightest intention, until he has something deliverable. That is what he did on the Ipad version - see the Flyer posts.
15th Aug 2012, 08:47
I emailed TD about this a while ago and his reply was that when demand was high enough he'd release an Android version.
So I suspect that within the next 6 months we'll see SD for Android released :) Keep pestering him and he'll soon realise that demand is high enough! As Peter said, he was not going to release it for Apple products due to a number of problems with them but we saw how quickly he changed his mind.
SD is absolutely the best product out there for VFR GA. It also helps that Tim is a pilot himself, an obviously brilliant software developer, and listens to pilots, and has kept the price sensible. I just hope the likes of Jeppesen don't make him an offer he can't refuse...
15th Aug 2012, 08:55
I just hope the likes of Jeppesen don't make him an offer he can't refuse...
Of course this is pure speculation, but I wonder if an acquisition by Jeppesen would necessary be a bad thing.
SD currently seems to use raw AIP data, but I noticed that during the conversion process sometimes things have gone wrong. Which means, for starters, that the airspace depiction in SD is subtly different from the airspace depiction on the ICAO VFR and Jeppesen VFR+GPS maps. In the past I have also seen airspace missing. And let's not get started on the countries that are not supported by SD at all, for lack of airspace data.
When SD would be integrated in Jeppesen, the first thing I would assume would happen, would be that SD would use the Jeppesen database. Which is far more complete, both for IFR and VFR, and has quite a longer history and larger userbase. Which means that a lot of bugs have been ironed out already.
On the other hand, whether the price for an SD subscription would remain the same as it is now, given that that subscription would give you access to the full Jeppesen database, ...?:rolleyes:
15th Aug 2012, 09:32
You would get into huge trouble if you posted that on Flyer, BP :E
When I asked TD where he gets the data from, his reply (http://forums.flyer.co.uk/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=75216&p=1074071&hilit=stone+tablets#p1074071) was "stone tablets". In reality I think he gets as much as he can get from Eurocontrol's B2B service (you have to pay for that; in essence AFAIK it gives you access to the whole EAD database) and gets any extras from other sources e.g. copy/paste from national AIPs.
Nowadays all flight planning software vendors who wish to cover Europe have to do more or less the same thing. Obviously one would try to develop scripts for as much as possible, to avoid manual copy/paste from PDFs, but this will need to be closely monitored manually.
On the other hand, whether the price for an SD subscription would remain the same as it is now, given that that subscription would give you access to the full Jeppesen database, ...? The present Jeppesen IPAD FD costs about 3400 euro per licence :)
15th Aug 2012, 18:13
jeppesen VFR data is crap.
15th Aug 2012, 19:39
That's true for the UK; the CAA maps are the best there is for the UK.
But for much of Europe, Jepp VFR maps are the best you can get. And you get a consistent presentation.
15th Aug 2012, 21:19
for much of Europe, Jepp VFR maps are the best you can get
Maybe for places like Greece... In Czech Republic and Germany, I personally found errors in Jeppview: missing major landmarks, a reference to a nonexistent FIR, wrong airspace class, etc.
If Jeppesen were to reward such findings with e.g. a free Jeppview subscription, I might become a bounty hunter :)
15th Aug 2012, 21:34
Not to mention no VORs, and Heathrow appears to be in class G airspace!:D:D