Preflight Preparations: EFB Considerations

Not all that long ago I sat down on the couch after dinner to relax a little. I reached over for my iPad mini on the side table and was surprised to find a tablet with a near-dead battery. I was surprised because the night prior, realizing the charge was low I plugged the iPad in to charge. Low and behold my fiancee unplugged my iPad to charge her phone and subsequently didn’t plug my iPad back in to finish charging. This wasn’t really a big deal because I could read the news with my iPad charging, so no harm no foul, but I did give her a hard time in a fun way…

North Pole Approach Chart on the iPad

Not just everyone flies the NDB approach into the North Pole…

The story would have been different if I was going flying the next day and was planning on using my iPad with Foreflight as an in-flight Electronic Flight Bag (EFB) for navigational or informational purposes. This got me thinking back to my SOLIDFX days when the FX8 would hold a charge for weeks. The iPad does not… So in order to ensure you’re iPad EFB is ready to go for flights, make sure you adopt a known pattern that is easy and natural to repeat.

Develop safety-conscious and ever-prepared habits within your pattern, here’s what I do:

  • I charge my iPad, whether or not I’m planning to use it as an EFB when I go to bed at night so it’s prepared for the next day. Granted, as I shared above, this doesn’t always work out, but it’s a pretty reliable practice…
  • I always check the weather the night before a flight with Foreflight, this also gives me the opportunity to check the currency of my data. This way if I need to update the data I can do it the evening before my flight. Data updates have become relatively simply and streamlined, but it’s much easier to do so at home on your own WIFI as opposed to the potentially throttled (or already bogged down) WIFI in the pilot’s lounge at the airport… Even at home downloads could be slowed if your significant other is streaming Netflix, so completing your data update the night before ensures you have plenty of time.
  • Most application updates aren’t extremely significant, but this is another item to check the night before you go fly. Just incase there is a functionality change, updating the application the evening before you fly will give you a chance to feel out any operational changes while you’re in the comfort of your own home and not while you’re zipping along flying the friendly skies.

The moral of the story is to adopt a pattern that works for you. For me it’s checking the whole system the night prior: battery life, application and data currency. All three are critical to ensure your safety of flight!

-Fly Safe, @MTElia1B9



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