At every turn, it seemed that everyone at EAA AirVenture 2012 had an Apple iPad, except me and one or two others. Aviation apps were hot items this year, and several of them would make effective, essential tools for pilots in training.
First up is Jeppesen’s new e-book versions of its well-respected pilot and maintenance technician manuals. They are starting with the private pilot and mechanic texts, but in due time all will be available at the Apple iBookstore. The library weighs nothing and once downloaded, accessing each volume using the iPad full suite of features doesn’t require an Internet connection. When they begin instrument training, students should consider Jepp’s Mobile FliteDeck new Version 2.0. Among other features it provides a paperless cockpit, and its announcement coincided with new JeppView nav data subscriptions that offer greater flexibility and economy.
More important for students is Lightspeed’s FlightLink app for its new Zulu.2 ANR headset. Connected to the headset battery box by a cable, the free app is a cockpit voice recorder that records the entire flight (or other specified time) and gives instant recall of the last 2 minutes by touching the appropriate point on the narrow graphic audio display on the left side of the screen. The rest of the screen is a digital scratch pad, as Lightspeed’s Teresa De Mers demonstrates here.
Some may consider this app nice to have but not essential. If you’re a student at any level, think again. But back in the microcassette days I learned first hand that recording every flight lesson was an invaluable tool that made every flight more educationally productive. Let’s face it, like all students who are learning to fly a real, live, vibrating, noisy airplane in the air with other airplanes nearby, I was only half listening to the important things my CFI was telling me.
By listening to the tape after each lesson, I didn’t need to repeat the flight—and the mistakes—until I finally heard her. Once was enough. This app is way better than my old microcassette recorder, and the Zulu.2 ANR headset is not only light and effective, it comfortably fit my big ears and fat head. A cable connects the iPad to the Zulu.2’s battery box, and the audio quality is superb, complete with the headset’s ComPriority and Bluetooth connectivity for streaming stereo music or phone connections.
To answer the headline’s question, yes, an iPad should be in every student pilot’s flight bag, and from what I saw at AirVenture, that doesn’t mean students will have to buy one, they just need to bring it along. –Scott