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iPad/iPhone test flight - Impressed

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New Member
Jun 8, 2011
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Just tried Foreflight and SkyCharts apps on a cross country and was very impressed. I have a 430W in the panel and these devices/apps were spot on with it except for altitude.

Some observations.

We had the iPad 2 with ForeFlight and the iPhone 4 with that and SkyCharts. I did not think it would work beyond cell tower range but both did work at 7500 feet with no cell signal. I turned off 3G and roaming to stop the phone from draining the battery by searching for a signal. (You must leave airplane mode off; enabling it disables GPS.) Being in a Warrior we had no problem keeping the GPS signal locked up. Not sure if that would be an issue in high wing airplane. You have to download the charts before flying as they can't be retrieved out of cell range (and would take too long if you could).

ForeFlight is a more comprehensive app than SkyCharts but it's also more expensive. Both give moving map VFR and IFR charts but ForeFlight stays sharp as you zoom in while SkyCharts gets a little fuzzy, although entirely readable. ForeFlight also has moving map taxi diagrams which we did not try. Both were on the money with the same course and speed info as the 430. Since they both rely on the hardware, neither was particularly accurate with altitude, being off by two hundred feet and neither has an in-flight Wx feed at the moment.

Overall, very impressed. The iPhone's screen is kind of small but no worse than my old 196, at least as I remember it. Once they add an XM Wx feed it's going to become very interesting at Garmin HQ.

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