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iPad Mini – Where Are You?


I wasn't convinced that the iPad platform was the Holy Grail of Electronic Flight Bags, but the iPad Mini might just be that long-sought-after "perfect" EFB.

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Top 5 iPad Kneeboards


View this slideshow featuring PaperlessCockpit.com's Top 5 iPad kneeboards to learn about cost-effective solutions to mounting an iPad EFB in the cockpit.

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VIDEO: iPad KABOOM! A Success – iPad 2 Rapid Decompression Certification Available for Download


PaperlessCockpit.com's iPad KABOOM! Community Project concluded successfully on July 15, 2011, when an iPad 2 passed  a DO-160F Rapid Decompression test conducted by CascadeTek of Hillsboro, OR. The test was witnessed by representatives from FlightPrep.com, one of iPad KABOOM!'s premiere sponsors. Throughout the test, the iPad 2 ran FlightPrep's iChart 2.0 App. During the first stage of the test,  iPad 2 running iChart 2.0 was placed in the altitude chamber and stabilized at an altitude of 8,000 ft for two hours. FlightPrep's iChart 2.0 is designed to keep the iPad "awake", and it remained operational. During the next stage, the chamber simulated a rapid decompression event, causing the altitude to transition from 8,000 ft to 51,000 ft in under fifteen seconds. The iPad 2 continued to operate and exhibited no physical defects (i.e. flying shards of plastic and glass, or chemical fires resulting from catastrophic battery failure) for ten minutes. The chamber altitude was returned to ambient altitude, and the test concluded. The iPad 2 survived the rapid decompression eve and continued to operate after the conclusion of the test. While PaperlessCockpit.com failed to blow up an iPad, the iPad 2 Community Project is a success. Download iPad 2 Rapid Decompression Certificate  - (Free Registration Required) Download iPad 2 Rapid Decompression Full Report  - (Professional Membership Required) iPad KABOOM! Community Project Sponsors PaperlessCockpit.com would like to thank all of the contributors to the iPad KABOOM! Community Project, particularly our project sponsors: FlightPrep.com and OzRunways.com. The iPad 2 continues operation after an explosive decompression at 51,000 feet.… Read more ...

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AvWeb Rips the iPad a New One


Back in June, AVweb's Editorial Director Paul Bertorelli reviewed the iPad in the video "iPad Review (Warts and All)". Overall, this is an excellent review of the iPad's capabilities from a General Aviation perspective. Bertorelli is brutally honest, and he points out several problems with the most popular aviation Apps as well as some limitation pilots will face trying to use the iPad hardware in GA aircraft.This review ultimately leaves the impression that the iPad is a poor choice for GA pilots. Most GA Apps are "feature-happy", and performance is severely crippled by the iPads limited hardware. Compared to PC-based EFBs running applications with comparable features, the iPad simply isn't a good value.But the iPad really shouldn't be compared to a PC EFB.The iPad’s real benefit for pilots is as a document viewer.  The aviation applications that are successful don't try to load the screen up with high definition animations; they instead focus on making integration with those documents simple. Applications like Jeppesen TC work extremely well on the iPad. If the user's sole purpose is to access electronic approach plates, an iPad running Jeppesen TC  is several orders of magnitude better in terms of performance and ease of use compared to Jeppesen JeppView FlightDeck. Current FAA policy severly limits the use of moving map and wireless communications on Portable Electronic Devices (PEDs) in larger aircraft, even if they are operating under Part 91. As a result, the iPad running Jeppesen TC for charts and storing electronic documents in an App like Dropbox is a better value than most PC-based EFBs.In the end, if you expect too much from the iPad, it will disappoint. But if you follow the KISS principle in selecting your aviation Apps, you'll be very satisfied with the iPad.If you haven't seen Paul's review already, it's worth taking a look.… Read more ...

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Jogging Behind the iPad Bandwagon – But Not Jumping On


RAM yoke clamp mount for the Apple iPad

The above video comes courtesy of  dhallpolo, and is the first practical application of the iPad as an EFB: using NACOmatic to create PDF downloads of approach plates and facility directories. Of course, I can't wait to get my hands on one to test.  I've been reluctant over the past few months to make any comments regarding the iPad. As an EFB integrator and application developer, I can see both the opportunities and challenges in making the iPad a viable EFB platform. Simple solutions like using NACOmatic and an iPod/iPad PDF reader are a great place for end-users to start, but it may be a few months before "mainstream" EFB application developers begin developing for the iPad. The problem is that EFB development is still Microsoft world: most general and business aviation applications today are developed using Microsoft's .Net platform or C++ with Win32 platform extensions. Some developers, like Jeppesen, have been successful in writing C++ code libraries that other programmers can use on Windows and Linux platforms. While some EFB application developers use Java to maintain cross-platform compatibility, these applications usually take a performance hit across platforms because Java applications run in a "virtual machine" on top of the host operating system. The Java virtual machine acts as an additional stumbling block between the application and the underlying system resources, so it can be difficult to achieve the same level of performance on graphic-intensive, georeferenced applications common on EFBs. Of course, iPod, iPhone, and iPad development throws another wrinkle into the mix. Like Microsfoft's .Net platform (which actually encompasses a few closely related programming languages), Apple has developed Xcode, a derivitive of C. Also, there is a special set of developer tools, the iPad SDK (Software Development Kit), that provides a specialized set of programming libraries and techniques for developing iPad-specific applications.… Read more ...

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Skype Mobile for Blackberry Is Here!


Skype Mobile on Blackberry Storm

Can you tell that I'm excited? In a previous post, I mentioned that Skype would be releasing a version for Verizon Blackberry devices in late March. Late March is here, and so is Skype for my Blackberry! Skype Mobile download quickly from Skype's website onto my Storm (I'm eligible for a Storm 2 upgrade next month), and everything seemed to install without a hitch. But when I looked in my Applications folder, there was no Skype! After a bit of hunting, I found the Skype icon in the Downloads folder on the Storm. I'm willing to admit I was a bit hasty in my excitement to get it running, and I didn't pay much attention to where the installer was actually installing Skype. So, I clicked on the Skype icon, was presented with a Username and Password screen, and then there was Skype! The interface is a great fusion between the latest Blackberry application interface and the familiar Skype desktop interface. My Skype contacts popped right up, so I decided to give it a Whirl. My sister Mandy leaves Skype logged in on their family room desktop PC, and I since it was early evening, just after dinner, I thought it a safe bet that she would be able to answer. I clicked on her contact listing, and the Blackberry dialer application popped up, just as if I were placing a regular phone call on Verizon. On the second ring, she answered: "Hey! ... Wait, I don't see you!" While this is our usual greeting when I call on my laptop when I forget to plug in the webcam. I didn't her video either, which appears to be a limitation of the Skype/Verison Blackberry solution. Of course, sending video of yourself using the Blackberry camera would be problematic, so overall I'm not too disappointed that this feature isn't there (unless it's hidden somewhere I haven't found, which I've already proven is a likely scenario).… Read more ...

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