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Old Aug 26, 2011, 02:14 PM   #1
PracticalMac
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Arrow iPad in Aviation NEWS THREAD

Here is a compilation of the news articles of iPad's rapid acceptance into Aviation, Commercial, Private, and Military.

Most are within MacRumors, those outside are noted.

Aug 23, 2011 United Airlines Deploying 11,000 iPads to Pilots as Electronic Flight Bags
CNN: United Continental replacing pilot manuals with iPads The latest big step in iPad adoption.

Aug 19, 2011 British Airways Flight Attendants Using iPads to Improve Customer Service (Interesting application)

Aug 16, 2011 Delta Testing iPads for Real-Time Communications With Pilots
(direct forum link). They are only one trying Android based Xoom alternatives, but with all the attention on iPad, it will be unlikely to receive as much developer support.

Jul 29, 2011 iPhone/iPad Rules The Skies .
Not directly iOS stuff used by airline, but the popularity of iOS hardware used during flights.
iOS is the OS the iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch (think iPhone without carrier) use.

June 21, 2011 Marine Corps and Civilian Aircrews Replacing Maps With iPads
(direct forum link)

May 6, 2010How will the iPad change the GA cockpit? AOPA wrote a piece wondering if iPad will catch on (it has!)

March 7, 2011 Bloomberg: Apple IPads in Cockpits May Mean End of Paper Charts

March 7, 2011 Apple insider: Commercial airlines look to Apple's iPad for paperless cockpits (Alaska Air, Delta, Executive Jet Management)

Feb 11, 2011 AOPA: Jet charter to use Jeppesen iPad app in lieu of paper charts (Executive Jet Management)



The FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) regulations for the use of EFB (Electronic Flight Bag) devices:
AC 120-76A.pdf

AC 91_78.pdf

How will the iPad change the GA cockpit? Some details of getting iPad in cockpit.

Mobile phones on aircraft, and how governments regulate.
In particular note the FAA and FCC rules (for most part it simply sides with cautious safety over hard evidence, which is good practice)



Aviation products for iPad:
Aviation Consumer discuss more accurate GPS module and listed iPad and its Apps as "Gear of the Year.

and places to purchase hardware (for Apps, do a search )
Aircraft Spruce iPad stuff

Sporty's Pilot iPad goodies

Chief Aircraft has a couple.



useful but small list of iPad stuff
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Last edited by PracticalMac; Sep 15, 2011 at 08:00 PM. Reason: added link to Mobile phones on aircraft
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Old Aug 28, 2011, 12:10 PM   #2
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Very interesting info, thanks for posting.

iPad's and maybe other tablets I guess, just haven't heard news of others, are finding there way in to many industries and work places.
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Old Aug 31, 2011, 10:28 AM   #3
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Very interesting info, thanks for posting.

iPad's and maybe other tablets I guess, just haven't heard news of others, are finding there way in to many industries and work places.
There has been decades of work to make portable data entry and retrieval easier.
iPad finally made it happen.

It just takes a while for industry to realize and adopt.
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Old Aug 31, 2011, 11:58 AM   #4
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During my cross country flights, I am still reluctant to grab an ipad instead of my sectional chart.

Where ipad does excel, is AF/D. If you want to look up an airport in a publication, you need to go through a fairly thick book, to get the info. This could be problematic, if you are the only pilot, and approaching the field already. I know, typically you would be prepared, but what if you are diverting to another field? on iPad, type in field's code, and everything is there. On paper, it takes time.

Overall, I think iPad is useful in a cockpit, but as a student pilot, I simply prefer the kneeboard/E6B/Sectional combo.
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Old Aug 31, 2011, 12:30 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PracticalMac View Post
Here is a compilation of the news articles of iPad's rapid acceptance into Aviation, Commercial, Private, and Military.
Great compilation.

I remember that GoodReader was called out as the PDF reader in several of the articles. Do any of the articles talk about pilots making annotations on the PDF files, or are they all using the documents in a read-only mode?

Do any of the articles talk about battery protocols? Do the pilots carry external backup batteries, or are high-power USB outlets getting wired into the cockpit?

The most fascinating discussion I remember was in the Delta article about using WiFi connectivity as a means of doing end-to-end management of the flight. I was a bit unsettled that mission-critical information would be channeled through a conduit that passengers could also access.
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Old Aug 31, 2011, 01:14 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Meanee View Post
During my cross country flights, I am still reluctant to grab an ipad instead of my sectional chart.

Where ipad does excel, is AF/D. If you want to look up an airport in a publication, you need to go through a fairly thick book, to get the info. This could be problematic, if you are the only pilot, and approaching the field already. I know, typically you would be prepared, but what if you are diverting to another field? on iPad, type in field's code, and everything is there. On paper, it takes time.

Overall, I think iPad is useful in a cockpit, but as a student pilot, I simply prefer the kneeboard/E6B/Sectional combo.
As a student, that's probably all your instructor should let you use anyway. Because you know that's all the examiner will let you use on your checkride.

Don't think sectionals, think IAPs (well, don't think about them unless/until you go for your instrument rating). Similar issue as the AF/D, and they expire every 28 days.
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Old Sep 6, 2011, 02:34 PM   #7
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Wondering if FAA giving iPad a free pass in cockpit?

FAA working on specific rules for EFB's. It will be released as an "AC", Advisory Circular, which spells out guidelines for usage in aircraft.

FAR regs for flying. FAA is concerned with EFB usage in Passenger Commercial fight (135 and 121 operators), but leave open use for all all other operations within other restrictions.

----------

Quote:
Originally Posted by FloatingBones View Post
Great compilation.

....

I was a bit unsettled that mission-critical information would be channeled through a conduit that passengers could also access.
Thanks!
...
It is possible to have a completely separate hardware and channel just for crew use only.
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Old Sep 6, 2011, 09:28 PM   #8
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I think if passengers can intercept mission critical data, without being able to alter it, it should be all good. I believe there was a point when in airliner, you could simply tune to a pilot's radio, by changing an audio channel. Don't think this practice is still around.
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Old Sep 7, 2011, 01:29 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by PracticalMac View Post
FAA working on specific rules for EFB's. It will be released as an "AC", Advisory Circular, which spells out guidelines for usage in aircraft.
Does it say, "No angry birds!"

Seriously, any prohibitions on specific usages by the flight crew?

Quote:
It is possible to have a completely separate hardware and channel just for crew use only.
But the airwaves are shared. It would seemingly be difficult to protect against a DOS attack.
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Old Sep 7, 2011, 12:50 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by FloatingBones View Post
Does it say, "No angry birds!"
Last thing they want is more Bird Strikes.



Will post when the AC is released.
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Old Sep 7, 2011, 12:58 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PracticalMac View Post
Will post when the AC is released.
I wonder what will get released first....this AC or the new rest requirements that were due Aug 1st.

Hmm....
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Old Sep 8, 2011, 06:00 AM   #12
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Any chance the Ipad 3 gets gps?
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Old Sep 8, 2011, 08:09 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by whitesands View Post
iPad's and maybe other tablets I guess, just haven't heard news of others, are finding there way in to many industries and work places.
Tablets have been used in aviation, medicine and other fields for a decade, by both civilian and military.

The iPad is getting lots of today's publicity because it's less expensive, but its acceptance in those fields is helped tremendously by all the years of usage and regulations brought about by previous devices.
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Old Sep 8, 2011, 11:03 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by Letsjet View Post
Any chance the Ipad 3 gets gps?
Current iPads have A-GPS on their 3G models. It is not required to activate 3G service with a a carrier for the GPS service to be active. Some purchase a 3G model simply to get access to the GPS service.

I would expect that the same capabilities in the iPad 3: 3G models will have A-GPS and Wi-Fi-only will not.

Quote:
Originally Posted by kdarling View Post
The iPad is getting lots of today's publicity because it's less expensive, but its acceptance in those fields is helped tremendously by all the years of usage and regulations brought about by previous devices.
It seems like the big difference this time around is the adoption of the iPad for maps. This is the first big move away from relying on the printed navigation charts, right?

I'm guessing there will be a rapid shift to the iPad and other tablet computers for this usage. The cost savings for both the reduced weight and ease of updates are clear.

I expect that college textbooks will be the next big thing to shift. kno.com and inkling.com are scrambling to get textbooks signed up, and I'm sure that Amazon is developing a presence in this marketplace. The services allow students to annotate/highlight texts in their electronic books. Some small number of students are using e-books from these vendors this year. I'm guessing the big tipping point will be in the fall of 2013. Such a shift would make tablet computers an almost-indispensable thing for students.

Last edited by FloatingBones; Sep 8, 2011 at 11:19 AM. Reason: Added second comment to my posting.
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Old Sep 8, 2011, 12:41 PM   #15
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It seems like the big difference this time around is the adoption of the iPad for maps. This is the first big move away from relying on the printed navigation charts, right?
Nope.

Tablet/laptop navigation charts and other EFB solutions have been used since the 1990s. I was using them myself around the year 2000. Here's an article on them from 2001.

Again, without those previous devices, there would not have been certification procedures in place for people to get iPads into the cockpit.

The iPad has the lowest type of certification available, basically as a eBook. It doesn't hook into the airplane systems, nor does it use GPS to move the maps around like many of us were using tablets for ten years ago, with remote GPS pucks.

I'd say the big difference now is that the iPad is inexpensive enough that airline accountants are willing to buy them, especially after being told they would save money in fuel etc. And of course, EFBs get publicity now because they're from Apple, even though Windows and Linux versions predate the iPad by well over a decade.
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Old Sep 8, 2011, 01:29 PM   #16
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The iPad has the lowest type of certification available, basically as a eBook. It doesn't hook into the airplane systems, nor does it use GPS to move the maps around like many of us were using tablets for ten years ago, with remote GPS pucks.
Thanks for the info. I remember seeing those old GPS pucks.

A quick scan in the App Store shows airplane navigation apps that use the GPS on the iPhone. Would the iPad's A-GPS on the 3G models be sufficient to get a reliable location while in flight? From what I'm reading, it seems like it doesn't work well enough to be an approved method for navigation.

Do you think that hardware accessories will be rapidly developed to get real-time navigation information added to the iPad?

Quote:
I'd say the big difference now is that the iPad is inexpensive enough that airline accountants are willing to buy them, especially after being told they would save money in fuel etc. And of course, EFBs get publicity now because they're from Apple, even though Windows and Linux versions predate the iPad by well over a decade.
To update the age-old saying: Nobody ever got fired for recommending a vertical-market solution using iPads. I have no idea if that's true, but it certainly feels that way right now.

It's kind of like the whole tablet market in general. Apple had the Newton and Microsoft has been selling tablet computers for a long time. It took a small shift in the capabilities, the marketing, or maybe a bit of the Reality Distortion Field in order for tablet-based charts to really take off.

At this point in time, do you think that this is the beginning of the end for printed charts? Do you expect that charts will still be distributed on paper 20 years from now?
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Old Sep 8, 2011, 02:12 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by FloatingBones View Post
A quick scan in the App Store shows airplane navigation apps that use the GPS on the iPhone. Would the iPad's A-GPS on the 3G models be sufficient to get a reliable location while in flight? From what I'm reading, it seems like it doesn't work well enough to be an approved method for navigation.
Not officially approved, but usable by private pilots nevertheless. There's a bit of a nudge-nudge wink-wink that goes on:

ATC might ask, "Are you able to navigate direct [to x] ?" and you look down at your unapproved GPS and answer "Affirmative". Of course, if your GPS fails, you'd better be good enough to work around that problem.

Quote:
Do you think that hardware accessories will be rapidly developed to get real-time navigation information added to the iPad?
Anything's possible.

Quote:
At this point in time, do you think that this is the beginning of the end for printed charts? Do you expect that charts will still be distributed on paper 20 years from now?
Oh, I'm the wrong person to ask to predict the future. I know my limitations

I mean, 20 years from now we could all be back to using books, except made with plastic pages with a printed video screen on each one, that cost a penny to make.

However, I can speak to the past. Pilots have a love-hate relationship with technology. On the one hand, it's seen as a great time saver and can enhance situational awareness.

On the other hand, well, consider that when you replace approach charts in a notebook by hand, you're far more likely to notice that the approach has changed because of a new antenna in the path. Flying safely often depends on little things like that.

Regards.
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Old Sep 8, 2011, 04:20 PM   #18
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On the other hand, well, consider that when you replace approach charts in a notebook by hand, you're far more likely to notice that the approach has changed because of a new antenna in the path. Flying safely often depends on little things like that.
It's an excellent point.

If there were a wholly-integrated iPad solution, it would keep track of the charts you regularly referenced. The software would download updated charts and indicate that charts were ready for installation, but the update wouldn't happen until an "install updated charts" function was run. That function would note any new hazards or other significant changes in charts that you regularly use.

I don't know if that's what's needed to plug the hole you note -- or if there are other holes -- but I think the point is clear. Things that were good with the manual procedure can be embodied in the computerized procedures, but it won't happen without some thinking.

With the current solution that Delta is using, how would pilots know if all of the charts on their iPad got updated correctly? How do they know if any are missing? One solution is to publish a directory-file with a list of hashes for all the other files and software on the iPad to verify the presence and hash of each file. I wouldn't be surprised if such control files have been implemented, but I didn't see any mention of it in the solutions described.

Software like GoodReader is just fine for reading books or other PDF files, but there seem to be some shortcomings for pilots to use it in a mission-critical application. This is not a criticism of GoodReader; it's just a commentary on the potential misuse of a tool. Some high-level logic needs to be part of the solution.
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Old Sep 8, 2011, 05:39 PM   #19
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I'd say the big difference now is that the iPad is inexpensive enough that airline accountants are willing to buy them, especially after being told they would save money in fuel etc. And of course, EFBs get publicity now because they're from Apple, even though Windows and Linux versions predate the iPad by well over a decade.
I do not think it's due to price alone. I saw EFB's for near that same prirce years back. Nor is it Apple.

IMHO, it is:
*Price
*Ease of use
*Large screen
*Long battery life
---- and most of all
*Light weight and thin size.

Quote:
Originally Posted by FloatingBones View Post
A quick scan in the App Store shows airplane navigation apps that use the GPS on the iPhone. Would the iPad's A-GPS on the 3G models be sufficient to get a reliable location while in flight? From what I'm reading, it seems like it doesn't work well enough to be an approved method for navigation.

Do you think that hardware accessories will be rapidly developed to get real-time navigation information added to the iPad?
Already exist!!
See the links I posted for where to buy accessories.

It is either a BlueTooth GSP transmitter, or a small unit plugged to 30 pin connector.

Quote:
Originally Posted by FloatingBones View Post
If there were a wholly-integrated iPad solution, it would keep track of the charts you regularly referenced. The software would download updated charts and indicate that charts were ready for installation, but the update wouldn't happen until an "install updated charts" function was run. That function would note any new hazards or other significant changes in charts that you regularly use.
It is relatively easy to make chart software alter changes over previous chart, and even better is if NOTAM's are updated daily and applied on the chart.

It seems to me everyone is looking for it to replace paper, when in fact it should make it a virtual view. But for a first step replacing paper is fine.
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Old Sep 9, 2011, 01:02 AM   #20
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Originally Posted by FloatingBones View Post
Current iPads have A-GPS on their 3G models. It is not required to activate 3G service with a a carrier for the GPS service to be active. Some purchase a 3G model simply to get access to the GPS service.

I would expect that the same capabilities in the iPad 3: 3G models will have A-GPS and Wi-Fi-only will not.
Thanks for the info. After reading your post I found more info on the gps / agps and the Ipad. Also info regarding secondary gps devices. I think it would be great not to have to plug in a secondary device to get good IPad gps mapping. I'm hoping for something in the 3.
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Old Sep 9, 2011, 01:38 PM   #21
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Here are 3 external GPS receivers for iPad (and iPhone and iPod)

Bad Elf GPS for iPad/iPod/iPhone, plug in with 66 Channel WAAS capability

Bluetooth GPS with 32 Channel WAAS (best rated)

"Dual" Bluetooth GPS independent receiver
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Old Sep 9, 2011, 03:27 PM   #22
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Those are the devices I looked at.

Has anyone reviewed the comparison between the internal and external gps?

What are your thoughts on having another device that could potentially fail? Does it concern you? What, if any, way would you safeguard against failures?
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Old Sep 9, 2011, 04:46 PM   #23
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I just did a little searching on my own and found this.

I thought it might be helpful to others.

Ipad GPS thread on pilotsofamerica.com
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Old Sep 12, 2011, 10:05 AM   #24
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I just did a little searching on my own and found this.

I thought it might be helpful to others.

Ipad GPS thread on pilotsofamerica.com
Excellent review. I too was wondering about having that wart on side of iPad (but iPhone and iPod may be fine)

I updated my OP with this link:

Mobile phones on aircraft, and how governments regulate.
In particular note the FAA and FCC rules (for most part it simply sides with cautious safety over hard evidence, which is good practice)



AOPA video on iPad usage
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Last edited by PracticalMac; Sep 12, 2011 at 10:24 AM.
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Old Sep 22, 2011, 12:13 PM   #25
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October 2011 issue of AOPA Magazine is gushing about iPad's adoption in aviation.

In particular an Avionics article suggest companies are hard at work to make iPad's usable as flight instrument, although it will not replace certified instruments.

This effort to "synthetic vision" in iOS could make iPad's and iPhone's the preferred GPS device no matter what it is riding in.
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