Is the iPad a godsend or just another gadget for pilots?

The January edition of the AOPA Online Pilot Magazine had a must read article about the Apple iPad and its use in the cockpit that began by noting that:

If an aviation company offered a moving-map GPS with a 10-inch display, a nation’s worth of charts and approach plates, flight planning, weather, a full aviation library, and the basic functions of a computer all for around $630, every pilot would own one. That’s just what the Apple iPad is offering. So why doesn’t every pilot have one? Like every new product with lots of hype, there’s more to the story.

The article then went on to cover specific iPad in the cockpit issues such as heat and altitude, sunlight readability and mounting the device and it also included a video panel discussion about the device with Jason Miller of ForeFlight and aviation blogger Max Trescott.

In addition, the AOPA article noted that there are now more than 130 aviation applications available that range from comprehensive packages that include planning tools, weather information, charts and airport directories to more basic and task-specific offerings. The article then went into some detail about the following more popular iPad cockpit applications:

  • Foreflight (US$74.99 a year)
  • Sky Charts Pro (US$19.99 for a year of chart updates)
  • Flight Guide iEFB (US$19.99 for the Pro version)
  • WingX (US$99 a year)
  • MyRadar (Free)
  • DUAT (Free)

The AOPA article ended by noting that:

What puts the iPad over the top as a must-buy gadget is, ironically, its use outside of aviation. If you’re going on a weekend trip in the airplane, having an iPad means no longer having to pack your laptop, your books and magazines, or a GPS for the rental car. For that reason alone, it is worth the cost.

Hence, we would like to ask you our readers whether or not you already own and use the Apple iPad in the cockpit. Moreover and for those of you who already do have and use one, do you find it to be just another gadget or is it a godsend device?

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