Running out of battery power is a nightmare scenario for many pilots flying with iPads. That’s why we always advise pilots to carry some type of backup power supply, even if you take off with your iPad battery at 100%. While a USB cigarette lighter plug works well for most applications, not all airplanes have a 12V plug and even the ones that do have one aren’t worth much in an electrical emergency.
For those reasons, self-contained backup battery packs have been very popular iPad accessories for years. They can extend battery life on your iPad anywhere from 3-20 hours, and they are a great worst case backup. We’ve also found plenty of uses for them outside the cockpit, from camping to tailgating.
Our new favorite in this category is the Professional Power iPad/iPhone backup battery. It features a massive 20,800 mAh that packs a lot of power into a small space–it’s less than 1″ thick. This new model features a rugged housing that will survive the abuse of your flight bag well.
It includes four USB charging ports, 2 of which are rated at 2.4 amps. The full size iPad Air and Air 2 models in particular specify 2.4 amps to charge at the fastest rate, so it’s perfect for pilots with these larger tablets. Note that 2.4 amp ports are compatible with all iPhones and iPads, so they’re completely interchangeable.
Many of the portable ADS-B receivers also require more than the 1 amp to charge at the optimal rate, so this battery is also ideal for keeping both your iPad and ADS-B receiver charged at the same time.
The Professional Power battery is unique in that it is one of the few that meets the lithium battery safety and testing standards outlined in AC 120-76C. Pilots flying large and turbine-powered aircraft that don’t have the ability to charge the iPad via ship power must follow the requirements of this guidance when relying on a portable battery as a backup power source.
The Professional Power battery pack will charge an iPad Air twice before needing to be topped off, and is available for $149.95.