iPad Questions

Discussion in 'Flight Following' started by jdwatson, Jan 3, 2014.

  1. jdwatson

    jdwatson Line Up and Wait

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    I don't have a tablet, but I've been looking at a lot of them. iPad seems to be the favored solution for aviation and if you add magazines, quantity & quality of apps and ease of use. If one wants on-board GPS, they have to get the cellphone chip'd version. I'm looking to make this tablet my all-in-one device, but not replacing my mobile phone. An eFB, pseudo-laptop, travel entertainment center & etc. You get the idea.

    Questions with aviation in mind:

    1) Anyone using BadElf (and the like) instead of built-in GPS ?
    2) Advantages/disadvantages to add-on GPS units ?
    3) How much memory is enough 32GB, 64GB or 128G ?
    4) iPad Air future proof enough ?
     
  2. flyingron

    flyingron Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    Many are, it's one of the popular units.
    Perhaps the biggest advantage is that the iPAD internal GPS antenna is about dead center in the middle of the tablet. This works reasonably well, but being able to put it up on top of the panel under the glass (plastic) gives you better coverage. If you have no interest in the cellular data function of the iPad, it may save you money.

    To me, I've got the built in GPS and since while the GPS in FF is nice, I don't have to rely upon it really because I do have a decent moving map and IFR GPS in the panel that I fly by.
    Depends if you want to use it for anything other than aviation use. I don't really use my iPad for much other than the plane (I'll check my email and do some web surfing but that's about it). With the entire US sectionals, IFR LO, geo registered approach plates and my JEPP EAST plate subscription, I'm not filling the 64G machine. Right now it is showing 40G free.
    Nothing is future proof enough in technology. Apple products are notoriously crappy in this regard. They have a very short shelf life where they stop supporting them. My iPAD1 is pretty much toasted, I can't put the later foreflight release on them because they require a later iOS that that Apple doesn't support on the older platforms. Frankly, I can see this for the phones where people tend to churn these a bit more often, but once we're up paying an unsubsidized $400 or whatever for the tablets, I kinda expected to last more than two years before being artificially declared Obsolete.
     
  3. jdwatson

    jdwatson Line Up and Wait

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    Thanks, Ron!
     
  4. EppyGA

    EppyGA Touchdown! Greaser!

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    My point of view,

    You probably want at least 64GB. My original iPad was good up til last year when the software outgrew it. I have the cellular version and find that I use it for a lot of things besides flying. It is always with me in the car. If you commute to work you can use apps like Waze to help with traffic info. I can't see paying for an iPad and not using it to it's fullest potential.
     
  5. teethdoc

    teethdoc Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I have the old iPad 1 (8G) It does what I need. I have a g430W that I use as my primary, but I look at the ipad a lot. I have a 1st gen. stratus unit to incorporate gps and the other functions of stratus.
    Once you get used to charts on a pad, it would be hard to go back to folding and unfolding paper. You can just scroll over to wherever you want to see, click on that airport, and get any info on that AP you need. I think the biggest downside of the external gps is it's one more thing to keep charged up. I have been on a day trip and forgot to turn the stratus off (it really needs an auto off!!!). When I got back in the plane to fly home, no stratus.
     
  6. LDJones

    LDJones Touchdown! Greaser!

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    I started WiFi and 32G. That was pretty good, but when the iPad3 came out I upgraded to the cellular version with 64G. I like the extra capacity and loved the built in GPS which worked everywhere.

    When the Air came out, I liked the reduction in size and weight, so upgraded again, and popped for 128G so I never have to think about capacity again. (I use it for many different tasks all day long.)

    I don't foresee upgrading again for a long time....but then again, who knows what might come along that blows our socks off, starting the cycle over!
     
  7. jdwatson

    jdwatson Line Up and Wait

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    thanks Randy, teethdoc. This is the kind of feedback I really need. I'm very hopeful that 2014 will bring me back to the skies. I always liked the idea of a EFB, nice to see things have progressed quite quickly.
     
  8. Perezhr

    Perezhr Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I use the Bad Elf GPS Pro and like it a lot. I have an iPad mini which is perfect for me as it fits on the yoke without blocking any of the instruments in my Mooney. The internal GPS in the iPad works well for lots of folks, but I switch application often during flight (I use Foreflight, but switch to a spreadsheet for fuel tracking/management), and the internal GPS does drop off sometimes when switching applications. This problem goes away with the Bad Elf GPS Pro as it stays connected all the time and has about 20 hours of battery life. The only down side is that it is another device you now need to keep charged.

    As far as capacity I would say that the 32g version works well for me. I do not load the entire country in Foreflight. I typically load about 15 states in the Southeast where I do 99 percent of my flying, and I still have enough room for lots of other apps that I use on a daily basis. If you are going to load music, photos and videos (movies) then you may want to look at the 64G version. If this is going to be your only tablet then I would recommend you go with the higher capacity as you will soon find yourself using it for a lot more than you had anticipated.

    For aviation you really need to decide which form factor is going to work for you. The iPad Air or other full size iPads, or the Mini. The larger iPads simply did not lend itself well for my cockpit and my usage. I wanted something on the yoke, not in my knee or mounted anywhere else. For me, the Mini was perfect, and as it turned out it has replaced my larger iPad for everything including non-aviation use as I prefer the smaller form factor, better portability, etc of the Mini.

    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk HD
     
  9. BG841

    BG841 Pre-Flight

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    I use the bad elf gps with a 32gb ipad (foreflight). It is an easy to use combination. As others have said, if you select the appropriate downloads in foreflight for where you'll realistically be flying, 32gb is sufficient.

    I use the regular ipad as a kneeboard and I am contemplating getting a mini as a yoke mount. Not sure if that eliminates the need for the ipad on the knee, but I sure hope so.
     
  10. FastEddieB

    FastEddieB Final Approach

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    My iPad 1 served me well for many years with 16gig.

    But when I bought my Retina Mini, I wanted to double that - programs and images and videos are not getting any smaller, and doubling storage to 32 gig would buy a lot of breathing room.

    When it came time to pull the trigger, I ended up figuring that spending an extra $100 for the 64 gig would be prudent - so I did.
     
  11. Dave Theisen

    Dave Theisen En-Route

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    If you decide to go with an iPad with Foreflight and plan on getting a Stratus ADS-B receiver, the Stratus has a GPS
     
  12. Alexb2000

    Alexb2000 En-Route

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    How do you like the Retina Mini for approach plates?
     
  13. pilottangocharlie

    pilottangocharlie Pre-Flight

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    Wi-Fi + Cellular iPad Mini 16gb with ForeFlight is my current EFB. Before that it was WiFi + Cellular iPad with retina display. The mini is so much better suited for the inside of what I fly. Never needed or desired any sort of external GPS receiver.

    I keep the content on my iPad aviation related only. No photos or unrelated apps. Right now it has the AOPA magazine app, study material and apps for commercial training, tons of FAA publications for reference, PDF copies of the POH for the airplanes I'm using, operator manuals for ALL equipment in the planes (autopilot, engine monitors, fuel totalizers, GPS, etc), E6B app, digital logbook app (pilotpro), and a 30 day trial of the Garmin Pilot app I am trying out. With all of this stuff and current databases which I need in both ForeFlight and Garmin Pilot I have 6.5gb of free space.

    Did I mention I love the iPad mini? No need for massive capacity for me.
     
  14. poadeleted20

    poadeleted20 Deleted

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    Not me. I've found the internal GPS in the celluar (3g/4g) versions of the iPad works fine in all light GA cockpits.

    No advantages of which I am aware unless you get one like the Stratus which combines a GPS chip with an ADS-B-in receiver so you can get weather on your iPad. The disadvantage is one more box to carry around unless you only fly your own plane and can leave it there.

    ForeFlight says 32gb is enough if you aren't using the iPad to store non-aviation things like a bunch of images or videos.

    Typically, Apple keeps the iOS backward compatible for two generations, and the application developers tend to stick with that. So, the iPad Air should be good for several years at least. And even though you can't get all the new features to work, everything that used to work under previous ForeFlight versions on my iOS 5 iPad1 still works under the latest version of ForeFlight running on that obsolescent device.
     
  15. jdwatson

    jdwatson Line Up and Wait

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    Cool discussion. I'm over 50, so my non-reading glasses days are numbered. The mini would be perfect now, but might not be in a couple years. I'll probably need as much storage as I can get. Trying for an all-in-one travel device. It would be nice to leave the laptop at home while traveling. I plan to use cloud storage for some stuff, but I would want all aviation stuff to be local. Sounds like 64G would be a minimum for what I want to do.

    Interesting split on Wifi-only vs. GPS. It'll come down to budget, I'm betting. Thanks for the continued discussion and information !!
     
  16. FastEddieB

    FastEddieB Final Approach

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    Don't know - I'm a VFR Light Sport Pilot for now, so I don't bother subscribing to the IFR charts available on WingXPro7.

    My first cross-country flight with it may be tomorrow. I'll report back how well it works then.
     
  17. Brad Z

    Brad Z Final Approach PoA Supporter

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    I upgraded from the gigantic iPad 1 to the new iPad mini air 4g LTE with 32gb. Every i device I've ever gotten was 32gb and I've never had a need for more storage, and I have some bigaz mapping apps on my devices too. On my iPad, I tend to take less photos and videos, so that reduces the amount of space I need as well.

    I love the mini. It is just the right size for me, and approach plates are quite readable on it. It goes with me everywhere and if I get another three years out of it (like I did with my iPad 1), I'll be happy.
     
  18. Badger

    Badger Pattern Altitude

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    slight thread hijack, but related:

    I have a retina mini 4g with stratus2. It works well. I'm thinking of getting a second mini for the right seat. Would a WiFi mini be good enough for this application?

    Reason I was thinking of a second ipad mini: often I swing the mini so the passenger can see something, then I have to reposition. They are often interested in following along, looking at speeds, etc. Often the passenger will touch the screen with fingers and FF pops something up that I have to correct. By giving the passenger their 'own' mini, they can play all they want.
     
  19. poadeleted20

    poadeleted20 Deleted

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    I gather you plan to use Bluetoothed data from the Stratus to make up for the lack of internal GPS for backup or to entertain the right seater in flight as you envisioned, but I think I'd still go with the internal GPS anyway -- just as a backup if nothing else.
     
  20. Dave Theisen

    Dave Theisen En-Route

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    Stratus works on wifi, not Bluetooth, so it is available to all devices at the same time.
     
  21. Badger

    Badger Pattern Altitude

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    yes (via Wifi as noted above)
     
  22. AggieMike88

    AggieMike88 Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    The original "I don't know it all" of aviation.
    Someday, let's go fly and I'll let you give my Retina Mini a try for that application.
     
  23. AggieMike88

    AggieMike88 Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    The original "I don't know it all" of aviation.
    Correct on Stratus 2 using WiFI to transmit it's GPS signal. This permits multiple devices to obtain the signal. Most I have had connected so far was 5 (1 Retina Mini, 2 iPad3's, and 2 iPhones). All performed just fine.

    FF says they have a feature for flight plan sharing over the same wifi network. But I have not tried that yet.
     
  24. Sac Arrow

    Sac Arrow Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    Bro do you even lift
    I have a 3G enabled Ipad 2 but with no data plan, I just got the 3G model for the GPS. It works perfectly fine and I really have no need for a weather add on where I do most of my flying.
     
  25. AggieMike88

    AggieMike88 Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    The original "I don't know it all" of aviation.
    Another use would be giving them access to iBooks or Kindle, and movies loaded with iTunes. This way they could have something to keep them occupied when they lose interest looking out the window or keeping you awake.

    An original Mini should work for for your needs to do this.
     
  26. Badger

    Badger Pattern Altitude

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    ^^^ I thought about an original iPad or even version 2, but I think a yoke mount (thus mini) would work best on the right side (Bonanza). I do still have a Nexus7 that isn't used much, I could set that up with a free mapping service, though then Stratus wouldn't work (no biggie)
     
  27. swanberg

    swanberg Filing Flight Plan

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    I used the BadElf. I believe that the aftermarket GPS units are more accurate if you are using an app like Cloud Ahoy. I ditched the BadElf after it got knocked off several times in flight. I now have a GDL 39 that is Bluetooth and has ADSB. I have used that combination since March and have operated from Wyoming to Florida and all points in-between with no issues. I believe everyone else has done a great job with the other advantages and disadvantages. I have used a 32GB since it came out. I have the full US IFR and VFR and I still have only used half the memory. I use the Garmin App for the en route portion and fltplan.com App for the approach plates.
     
  28. NickC99

    NickC99 Pre-takeoff checklist

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    One advantage to having the 4G version I don't see mentioned: Being able to get weather, TFRs, file flight plans, etc. on the ground when you can't get WiFi access. This has already been useful to me even in training.

    I still have an external Dual XGPS160 nonetheless.

    I have the iPad 3rd gen 32 GB LTE, and it has been quite sufficient for me. After using it for so many other non-aviation related activities, I've decided my next iPad will be at least 64 GB.
     
  29. jdwatson

    jdwatson Line Up and Wait

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    Thanks gang! I love these actual use reports. Now to work up my nerve to approach the CFO with my purchase order.
     
  30. Martymccasland

    Martymccasland Pre-takeoff checklist

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    1. I had a Cellular/Built-In iPad for a while but decided to go to a WiFi + Bad Elf Pro recently. I have the Bad Elf Pro hardwired to the avionics master, set in the startup to power-on automatically when the unit sees power, and no password on the Bluetooth. Whenever I get in the plane, it connects automatically to multiple units without issue.

    Interesting, when I got the Bad Elf, I played with it. Put it up front and center on the dash -- and got 3m resolution. Placed the unit in the side pocket (Bonanza) and it still got 3m resolution. Put it UNDER the pilot seat and it got 4m resolution. WRAPED IT IN FOIL then put it in the glove compartment, and it got 4m resolution. Finally just attached it to the panel with the power cable hid/going back behind the panel.

    2. Biggest advantage I can attest-to with something like a Bad Elf unit vs a 3G/LTE iPad is being able to provide GPS signals to MULTIPLE devices at once. I have overheated my iPad 2-3 times and still had my iPhone working fine and getting a Bad Elf signal. It's a minor thing, but it's nice to turn on the iPhone after an iPad shutdown, open the backup Foreflight copy, push one locate button, and see your position on a chart within seconds. Also, my 82 year old aunt flies with us from time to time. She has a Wifi iPad and is obsessed with knowing what town is out the window. I bought her a cached-map app called Co-Pilot. Download 1GB or so of maps, link it to the Bad Elf, and she always knows where she's at -- even without getting an Internet connection.

    3. 32GB will get you by if you use it for nothing else. 64GB is really the minimum if you will also be using the iPad out of the plane... If you really intend on using it extensively (I download movies via the Tivo App for for my kids on long x-countries), the 128GB is only $100 over the 64.

    4. I'd venture to guess you'd get a solid 2 years out of the Air... Maybe longer.
     
  31. Martymccasland

    Martymccasland Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Excellent point.

    One consideration: ATT introduced their "Mobile Share" plans and we found they are cheaper than the plans we were paying. Those plans all include "tethering" by default/no extra charge -- meaning you can either set up WiFi share or Bluetooth share from the iPhone to the iPad. I just connect to the Internet on the iPad via my iPhone that way.

    Previously to this change, a "tethering" plan alone was at least $50/mo. With the change, we actually added a 6th cell phone, had our total bill drop $25, and get the tethering on all iPhones -- allowing full functionality on the iPad anywhere there is cell service.
     
  32. Perezhr

    Perezhr Pre-takeoff checklist

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    A WiFi mini will be just fine since you are using Stratus which has a better GPS than the built in GPS that comes with the 4g version. Additionally if you are using Foreflight now you can share your flight plan in your mini with the passengers mini via Foreflight so he can see what you are seeing.


    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk HD
     
  33. denverpilot

    denverpilot Tied Down PoA Supporter

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    I have a 64 GB iPad 2 w/LTE and a 32GB Non-retina Mini Wifi only.

    Both work fine. I use a Dual GPS for the Mini. Not a fan of the Elf since it needs to be plugged into the iPad.

    Size is really about how many charts and other media you'll keep in it. The 64GB is brain dead, everything fits. Full CONUS. 32GB, full CONUS plus some other multimedia meant it can't hold two full sets of charts, and you'll have that near the end of the cycle. You download early and FF switches to the new ones on the cycle date.

    But it's easy (and smarter) to limit which States you download. I'm just lazy. I prefer to get it all.

    Right now the mini is cracked and I'm waiting to see what happens on an insurance claim. It was a test to see if I liked the smaller one. I do.

    Eventually one way or another I'll get a 64GB retina mini with LTE, and after fixing up the non-retina mini, I'll sell off the iPad 2 and the Non-retina mini both.
     
  34. jdwatson

    jdwatson Line Up and Wait

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    Thanks again for all the input.
     
  35. mswmsw

    mswmsw Pre-Flight

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    I, too, am now contemplating my first iPad purchase, and am also still undecided about getting the Mini or the full size Air...... so these discussions are great! I appreciate the info you all are providing. One thing I hear about occasionally is over-heating concerns with these iPads. What conditions of use tend to cause over-heating? Is the iPad Mini more (or less) prone to overheating issues than the full size iPad Air? Any other comments on iPad overheating?
     
  36. Marauder

    Marauder Cleared for Takeoff

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    I have both a Mini and a full size iPad in the plane. Neither has overheated but to be on the safe side, I got the white one for the mini which is yoke mounted and in the sun more.


    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
     
  37. AggieMike88

    AggieMike88 Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    The original "I don't know it all" of aviation.
    Only overheat for me was direct sunlight.

    Flying the Skylane, I mount the Mini in to the left of the glareshield (corner of wind screen), angled so it doesn't block the airspeed indicator. Fortunately there is an air vent above that providing enough air flow to prevent overheat.
     
  38. MBDiagMan

    MBDiagMan En-Route

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    I've flown about 2 1/2 years with Foreflight on my IPhone and about 2 years with it on my 3G/WiFi IPad. I have NEVER had difficulty of any kind assuming a GPS fix with either of them, in spite of no external GPS reciever.

    NOW, that said, I've always wondered if maybe in a different aircraft, I might not be so lucky.

    I also, have been careful not to leave the IPad in the direct sunlight at any time and have never experienced an overheat. This is in spite of the fact that we have some tough Summers in this part of the world.

    Just don't forget and leave it in direct sunlight to cook.
     
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2014
  39. Scott@KTYR

    Scott@KTYR Pattern Altitude PoA Supporter

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    JD - from your small photo you look like the Pawn Star guy on TV. But he is based in Vegas.
     
  40. write-stuff

    write-stuff En-Route

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    I have the original Bad Elf and have liked it, but the connector is not very stable in the iPads later than the original (because of the beveled edge). Newer Bad Elves may well have fixed this issue by now.

    Mounting a mini on the yoke will probably put it in more direct sunlight (the only real cause for overheating). You might want to check out the iPro Navigator at www.ForPilotsOnly.com. It includes an articulating clipboard than can swing up and slide into a retaining groove on the top. This gets the clipboard out of the way and it also doubles as a sun shade. So you have the benefit of having a clipboard to write on or hold secondary charts/notes and possibly reduce your iPad's exposure to direct sunlight.