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Apps and iPads take over GA cockpits


A growing number of general aviation pilots traded in their dedicated handheld aviation GPS units for iPads paired with a variety of apps and accessories – providing even more features than before at a lower cost. The FAA gave its official nod, allowing iPads to be used in lieu of paper charts in commercial airline cockpits, and American Airlines started issuing the devices to its pilots. For the GA crowd, iPad apps like ForeFlight and WingX matured as they combined pre-flight planning features, checklists, charts, approach plates, moving maps, weather and traffic into one device. The release of Garmin Pilot, that company’s app entry, was one of its biggest announcements this year. Accessories brought even more features: Uncertified receivers that once cost thousands of dollars are now several hundred dollars. The units, some using Wifi or Bluetooth, sit atop the glareshield and bring near-realtime weather information and ADS-B-derived traffic data to the iPad’s screen.