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For those who fly with just an Ipad :)

Yesterday, arriving at Corfu LGKR.

I didn’t have a set of printed terminal charts for LGKR because it wasn’t a planned stop for the Slovenia-Greece trip.

So I used my tablet to display the chart.

But the tablet had not been charging because the cockpit was so hot. This is a standard feature in tablets to reduce heat dissipation. During the flight from Skiathos it gradually ran down.

I managed to save the day because I had PDFs on my phone, and with reading glasses I could read them well enough, and did some sketches on paper of the STAR, the VOR approach, and the SID.

If I had two tablets, both running, both would have shut down.

Administrator
Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom

Unfortunately I’ve had a similar incident ending not that well. On a VFR flight my iPad overheated right after take-off from Elizabeth Town, Kentucky in the middle of the summer. I leveled off at a save altitude, went on course and started to deal with the issue. The iPad refused to turn back on so I kept double checking the on board GPS. After 5 minutes I managed to cool down the iPad and it went back on again. Unfortunately I found myself right in the middle of a restricted military airspace… Contacted Louisville approach to let them know about it – they were already watching me… Had to call a number when I arrived at my intended destination. It turned out that the onboard GPS was not up to date. This incident thought me valuable lessons: never rely on the iPad, make sure that the map material is always up to date (especially on rental airplanes), brief in a way so you can fly the next 10-20 miles without having to rely on any external source, keep a paper copy within arm’s range.

LOLW - Wels, Austria

I would never fly a serious trip nowadays without both of my iPads (Mini 2 Retina). Identical set up, second one fully charged, route loaded but then turned off, ready to turn on if required. Two yoke mounts, one tablet on each yoke.

The cost of these devices is so low now, compared to a trip of a few hours flying, that it makes no sense not to carry a second backup.

The time they become most critical is as above – when you change your plans mid-trip and target a new destination you didn’t bring printouts for.

I have my iPhone set up as backup. Nowhere near as heat sensitive as an iPad (although it lives on a suction mount on the windshield – in full sunlight – it’s never shut off and I haven’t heard of any heat issues with it). Admittedly, small screen, but works a treat.

I would never fly a serious trip nowadays without both of my iPads (Mini 2 Retina). Identical set up, second one fully charged, route loaded but then turned off, ready to turn on if required. Two yoke mounts, one tablet on each yoke

Will the GPS on an iPad self locate fairly quickly when travelling at speed?

Egnm, United Kingdom

flybymike wrote:

Will the GPS on an iPad self locate fairly quickly when travelling at speed?

I don’t think many people do this (I don’t), but rather use an external GPS (Bad Elf, Dual, etc), mostly via Bluetooth. This also means you can keep the iPad in a place where it’s not exposed to direct sunlight. OK, the latter doesn’t work in all cockpits, but e.g. in a Cessna I have it on my kneeboard, and that’s not normally in direct sunlight.

The only time mine ever shut down was when I put it on the dash (hot day too!) and left it there for 10 mins or so while eating a sandwich. Came back after cooling off on the back seat for a few minutes. Lesson learned….

There are tons of rugged Android pads out there, designed to withstand head, cold, water, dust, altitude, solar radiation, can be dropped etc.

Will the GPS on an iPad self locate fairly quickly when travelling at speed?

It is obviously marginal but it’s hard to tell how marginal since not many (any?) apps on IOS give you the satellite constellation data. The Ipad2 does not work in my TB20 at all reliably, so while that is only one data point, it’s enough to disprove the “always works for me so it must be solid” assumption. Back when I tried to use it in the cockpit I used the XGPS150 bluetooth unit, which worked great but it was yet another gadget whose battery would be flat when you need it, and the absence of a mechanical on/off switch prevented it being wired in to work unattended.

The only time mine ever shut down was when I put it on the dash (hot day too!) and left it there for 10 mins or so while eating a sandwich. Came back after cooling off on the back seat for a few minutes. Lesson learned….

There are certainly strategies which work but do you know how close to a shutdown are you? Both my Ipad2 and my Lenovo T2 tablet will shut down by themselves in sunlight if the ambient is say +25C. The T2 won’t even power up; it says an internal temperature sensor says it is too hot. I have now removed its sleeve to improve backside cooling but it will still shut down in this situation. The similarity between these two devices is uncanny but then consumer IT tends to be the same at the same price level (a few hundred quid). On the old LS800 I completely solved this issue with a bodge of gluing a little fan on the back, but that is a clumsy device nowadays.

People always quote the airliner applications (approved for AOC work) which use Ipads but that’s a scenario which avoids these issues. The cockpits are airconditioned, have small windows, etc. And they use them only for document look-up and calculations, not for GPS.

There are tons of rugged Android pads out there, designed to withstand head, cold, water, dust, altitude, solar radiation, can be dropped etc

Is there one which is thin and light? There are loads of “milspec” devices but they are heavy and clumsy for cockpit use.

Administrator
Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom

Maybe some or thinner or lighter than others, I don’t know. I use a Nexus 7 (pad) and a Nexus 5 (phone), and have never experienced any problem whatsoever. Scandinavia is not the warmest place on earth though.

The concept of bringing a device that is repeatedly proven to be unreliable is rather odd. Bringing two doesn’t help the situation when they both are unfit for the task. It’s like hiking in the mountains with Italian designer shoes, bringing two pairs doesn’t really help you. No one does that, we all were real mountain hiking boots even though they are much bigger.

Peter wrote:

Both my Ipad2 and my Lenovo T2 tablet will shut down by themselves in sunlight if the ambient is say +25C.

If that was the case, Apple couldn’t sell a single iPad here in SoCal. Apple say something like 35C as max operating temp, but just last week I landed at KVNY with an OAT of 39C and a cockpit temp of prob around 45C. iPad performed flawlessly. What these things DON’T seem to like is direct sunlight, as in my – so far only – shut-down event. YMMV.

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