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 ONGO backup battery. Available in large (16,000 mAh) and medium (4,000 mAh) sizes, this new model packs a lot of power into a small space–it’s just 1″ thick. These latest models feature a solid aluminum housing that will survive the abuse of your flight bag well.
They also include 2.4 amp USB charging ports, which are almost impossible to find on battery packs. The iPad 4 in particular specifies 2.4 amps to charge at the fastest rate, so it’s perfect for pilots with these tablets. Note that 2.4 amp ports are compatible with all iPhones and iPads, so they’re completely interchangeable.
You can also charge multiple devices at the same time, which is ideal for charging a tablet and an ADS-B receiver. The large model features three 2.4 amp charging ports, while the medium model includes one 2.4 amp port and two 1 amp ports.
Another handy feature for pilots is the built-in flashlight, which makes it a nice all-in-one backup for that dark and stormy night.