When it comes to the iPad there are fairly few points of failure in design of the hardware and operating system. In our experience flying with it over the past four and a half of years it has been extremely reliable, provided you take the steps to preflight the device before every flight. This will help you verify that the necessary charts and data are loaded, settings are configured properly and that the battery is fully charged. Sounds pretty easy right?
Over time though you may find yourself in situations where you need to launch unexpectedly with an an iPad that isn’t topped off all the way, or a diversion becomes necessary and you need more life out of the iPad than you initially planned. For these reasons (and if nothing else for peace of mind), we strongly recommend that you carry some type of backup power option with you in your flight bag. Here are a few of our favorites, with the simplest starting at less than $15:
- Dual 2.4a USB cigarette lighter charger — This is the simplest and most cost-effective of the solutions, and is your best option if your airplane has a 12 – 28v cigarette lighter port. This charger was recently upgraded to support charging two 2.4a devices, the power requirement for the full-size iPad models.
- Quad 2.4a USB power hub — This charger has four 2.4a USB ports and works great if you have the need to charge more than 2 USB devices simultaneously. It also works well if your cigarette lighter charging port is located in an obscure location and you want to have the USB ports in a more accessible spot.
- Dual 2.4a 110v charger — If you’re fortunate enough to have access to a standard 110v plug in your airplane, you can use the included wall charger that came with your iPad. If you have multiple iPads or an ADS-B accessory, consider this 110v charger that features two 2 amp USB ports
- ONGO iPad battery backup — For those that don’t have access to a power port in the airplane, your best bet is to carry a portable battery backup to keep your iPad, phone and other portable devices charged for extended periods of time. This lightweight option features a 16,000 mAh battery, which is over twice the size of the iPad Air 2’s internal battery. This features 3 USB charging ports that can charge three 2.4a devices simultaneously. It’s also useful for activities besides just flying.
- EnergyBar backup power supply: For the ultimate battery backup in your airplane, consider the EnergyBar power solution. This features an advanced 20,000 mAh LiFePO4 battery with both 110v and 12v power ports. The great thing about this product is that it can sit idle for over a year and only discharge at about 1 – 2% a month. It’s a low-maintenance product that you can keep under your airplane’s seat ready to provide power if the need arises.