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Getting the Most from Your New iPad in the Cockpit

If you have a new iPad, and are a pilot, one thing is almost certain—you’re going to start using your iPad in the cockpit. The challenge is to make sure your iPad is indeed a help, not a distraction.

The first step is to decide which aviation apps you like, and install them on your iPad. We have made PDFs of our checklists and put them on our iPads. Plus, we use a moving map displayed as either a sectional chart or IFR chart, another app that displays approach charts and SIDs and STARS, plus another app that stores and displays our flight plan information and weather.

There are so many wonderful apps available, you can hardly go wrong. The important thing is that you figure out how you will use them in the airplane, and practice using them before you take your iPad into the air. A handy way to practice is to use one of any number of simulators like Microsoft Flight Simulator, X-Plane, or any of the Redbird simulators featured in our catalog.

The Redbird Cygnus Products connect your flight simulator and your iPad

Then, use another product in our catalog, Cygnus by Redbird Flight Simulations, which sends your simulated position to your iPad or iPhone. Every app will then display your simulated position. You can fly simulated trips and practice using your iPad just as you would use it in the airplane.

You’ll not only want to practice working with the apps themselves, but you’ll also want to get familiar with moving between them. We have found the new 4-finger swipes a particularly efficient way to move between apps.

We have entered a fabulous new age of capability that we couldn’t have imagined just a few years ago. We just need to make sure we are familiar enough with these wonderful apps so that the result is a net increase in safety, rather than a dangerous distraction.


  1. Mark D.

    Thanks to KING Schools I earned my pilot’s license! Only recently did I start flying with the iPad and am amazed at the number of apps available. My instructor introduced me to iFlightPlanner this summer when I started my instrument training and have found it very helpful especially for studying charts and approach plates.

    Curious to know if anyone has tried the new Cygnus device with a flight sim?

  2. Jess Reynolds

    Why not give what aps are out there for us. Recomend a few aps for us for VFR flying or for IFR flying. We just got an ipad and are just starting to look at the aps and it would be nice to know what you recomend.

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