I’m no safety guru, but I’m old enough to know some things make me more dangerous. And like many dangerous toys that I’ve accumulated over the years, I am growing more and more attached to the @$#%& iPad. The reason it is dangerous? It does everything. And if it can’t, it will next week. And it lets me do very stupid things, quickly, with very little preparation.
The advantage to growing up in the analog years, was that some of us (perhaps masochistically) enjoyed the Jepp updates when they came in the mail. You have to admit, the pride of getting that IFR rating was amplified by the opportunity to crack open those Jepp binders and find that State College, PA VOR DME approach that had a small change. (You know, just in case you went there someday.)
But then you got older, you had less time, and pretty soon you’re launching IMC with your revisions jammed into the GIANT bag you need to take the entire Northeast with you to pick up that guy in White Plains you don’t like so much, but the money is good, so you do it anyway.
Anyway, the point is this: The iPad does everything. In the olden days, you had to prepare, with paper, phone calls and lots of fretting over minimums and alternates and looking things up to see if you could do the flight ulcer-less.
Then someone told me the iPad was legal for Part 91.
Lazy people (this group by definition includes all pilots) like having stuff at our fingertips. If we could digitally use the toilet we would. Understand that being told “legal for Part 91” to a chronically lazy group, allows us to go for our default setting: Less work!
The danger: The danger with less work is that stuff happens to the toy that does this work. While I’ve been trying to offset the laziness with paranoia (bring 2 iPads!) something happened on a trip recently that was an eye opener. iPad’s don’t like to work above 40 degrees celcius. If you find yourself in Namibia, in January and there is no a/c in the machine you rented back in milder Cape Town, then be assured, you will have moments where you are back to following roads, hoping, counting, and yes, running a watch.
The true danger, however is that the iPad promises a lot… and since we are, by our nature, takers and not givers, we take AS much as we can. The problem then becomes the more fundamental one – do you want to even leave the house, if the iPad can just march out and do the trip for you?