Unboxing and taking the iPad Mini flying

Both Aviation Mentor and ForeFlight have posts about iPad Mini unboxing and first impressions but Aviation Mentor’s John Ewing has taken flight with one. Hence, here is a quick look at some first impressions of the iPad Mini in the cockpit:

  • Weight. John has pointed out that the iPad Mini is lightweight but its still hard to appreciate just how light it is until you hold one in your hands. Moreover, the lighter weight offsets the smaller screen size.
  • iPad Mini Cases. While there are limited options for iPad mini cases, John noted that the presence or absence of a case will impact mounting options. However and if John does go for some kind of case or skin, he would opt for RAM Universal X-Grip II.
  • Yoke Mounting the iPad Mini. John tested the X-Grip with a yoke mount in the Cessna 172 and he pointed out that unlike the full-sized iPad, the lighter weight of the iPad mini means its ideal for yoke mounting. However, John also mentioned that while the yoke mount worked well on the right seat yoke, the chart holder clip on the left yoke in a late model Cessna aircraft would need to be removed to make the yoke mount work – something that could be problematic for renter pilots.
  • Suction Mounting the iPad Mini. An iPad mini with a RAM suction mount also worked for John and he wrote that the only issue he encountered was some slight interference between the suction mount and the side window. However and with some tweaking, John was able to make it work. The only issue he encountered was some slight interference between the suction mount and the side window.
  • Glare. John commented that having the iPad mounted higher up will limit heads-down movement and make it easier to quickly refer to the screen but having the iPad mounted higher up will also make glare an issue. On the other hand, John finds the loss of screen sharpness from screen protectors to be a bigger distraction than occasional glare.
  • Overheating. ForeFlight pointed out that the new iPad released in April also ran hotter than previous generations but during their initial tests of the iPad mini, it stayed cool throughout the trip. Nevertheless, pilots should probably still avoid having it in direct sunlight.

Both John and ForeFlight concluded that if you aren’t already using a full sized iPad in the cockpit or if you are using an earlier version, then choosing the iPad mini is a no-brainer. On the other hand, ForeFlight pointed out that the iPad mini isn’t for everyone, because fonts are smaller on the 7.9″ screen plus it doesn’t have a “retina” screen like the new iPads and iPhones.


Source: John Ewing of Aviation Mentor

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