December 2010 Issue

Paperless Cockpit Redux: iPad a Best Bet For Now

No, the iPad doesn’t do it all and isn’t for everyone. But for the fat middle of the user bell curve, it delivers the most utility and best experience.

Before the fan-boy and anti-fan emails start pouring in, let’s get one thing clear: We’re pegging the iPad as the best bet for most pilots for replacing paper charts and approach plates in the cockpit. This is not a surprise with a device designed for reading stuff comfortably. We’ve said before and we’re saying again: If you want advanced functions—GPS navigation, TAWS, on-board weather, or even some kinds of interactive documents—then the iPad may let you down. Most importantly, it may let you down unexpectedly, as with the iPad’s GPS that works great, except when it doesn’t. There are at least two external GPS units for to the iPad, but we haven’t tested them.

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