Apple’s iPad sales have exploded during the past two years, with over 100 million of the tablets sold since 2010. In fact, sales clobbered every other PC manufacturer. One industry where they have caught fire is in private aviation – on the flight deck for business jet pilots and in the cabin for private flight charter passengers.
Why? For pilots, iPads now offer some great electronic flight bag (EFB) apps that, quite effectively, replace the pounds of paper they’re accustomed to carrying around in flight bags. iPads can help with flight plans and preflight preparations. Use them to connect with online flight-planning services or download manuals, digital navigation charts, weather/wind information and other aviation data onto the device.
Sure; smartphones have similar capabilities, but they offer very little by comparison to the stunningly rendered large screen, huge processing power and long battery life of the iPad, all in one package. Another big advantage is the ability to pinch-zoom documents and easily scroll through them for better readability. iPads are easier to carry around than laptops and, with 10 hours of power, you don’t have to hunt for an outlet to plug them in.
Take a look at FlightPlan.com Mobile which gives you all the flight planning tools you could ask for –routes, navigation logs, approach charts, FAA-certified weather, details on over 6,000 airports in 17 countries, and you can use it to file flight plans too. Run quickly through your checklist and emergency checklist procedures with ForeFlight’s Checklist Pro. For Cessna Citation pilots, CPCalc will calculate weight, balance, and takeoff and landing performance for Citation jets and certain Cessna 208 Caravans. Or track and record your flights with CloudAhoy. Start the app just before engine start and forget it until the flight is done. Data will be stored on the device until you land and can get a data signal.
Private jet charter passengers are also enjoying enhanced flying experiences thanks to iPad apps. Some business jets are equipped for travelers to play iTunes music and movies on the cabin’s monitors and speakers. Gulfstream (just one example) has created an app called Cabin Control that allows passengers to personally control onboard systems like the lights, temperature and window shades. Rockwell Collins’ Airshow Moving Map gives passengers the ability to interact with maps and track their flights across the sky in real-time. They can also get a panoramic view of the outside world in whichever direction they point the iPad. Live Text News feeds live global news, sports scores, weather and more to the aircraft while in flight to keep passengers up to date. And In-Flight Communicator makes it possible for passengers to send and receive email and text messages while in the air.