What’s in your iPad flight bag? One pilot’s list

This is the first in a series where we’ll ask different pilots what they carry when they fly with an iPad. To kick things off, we asked John Zimmerman, publisher of iPad Pilot News, for his list of must-haves. In later articles, we’ll ask a variety of pilots, from app developers to flight instructors, “what’s in your bag?”

John Zimmerman, iPad Pilot News Publisher

John Zimmerman, iPad Pilot News Publisher

Name: John Zimmerman
Airplane: Pilatus PC-12
Type of flying: IFR cross country trips
iPad model: iPad Air 2, WiFi only, 64GB

Like fishing or golf, having the right equipment is a fun part of being a pilot, and I’m guilty of “gear syndrome.” There’s always just one more thing I need… The iPad has made some of this gear obsolete, though, like my piles of paper charts and binder full of flight plan forms (I do not miss those chart updates).

I’ve been completely paperless in the cockpit for over two years now, so my list of essentials is pretty well set. I’m carrying less than ever before, but there are some things I still don’t leave without:

  • Flight Gear Navigator Bag – This bag is probably bigger than I need, but I can use it as both a flight bag and an overnight bag. The exterior pockets keep everything organized, and the center compartment is perfect for a one or two night trip.
  • Suction Cup Mount – I like to keep the yoke clear, and I’m not a big kneeboard guy, so the suction cup mount is perfect for me. I mount it in the side window, and angle the screen towards me. It keeps the iPad in sight, but doesn’t block the panel at all. And I’ve never had a RAM Mount fail me.
  • Stratus 2 ADS-B Receiver – My Swiss Army knife. It’s not for primary navigation, but with moving map, synthetic vision, weather and traffic, it makes ForeFlight much more powerful. At first I only used it on longer trips, but now I take it every time I fly – the flight data recorder feature is my lazy man’s logbook.
  • Dual USB Cigarette Lighter Charger – Another essential item, this handy charger will charge my iPad and Stratus, so I always know I have backup power. But I use it for all kinds of devices, from my cell phone to my kids’ games. I actually fly with about three of these stashed in different places.
  • Pilot Wings stylus – I’m not a big stylus guy, but the new Scratchpad feature in ForeFlight has made me reconsider. With this thin tip, it’s much easier to copy a long IFR clearance or ATIS.
  • Bose A20 Headset – Working at Sporty’s, I get to fly a lot of different headsets. I like the Lightspeed Zulu PFX and the Bose A20 a lot, but I do tend to grab this one most. It’s comfortable, and I’ll often plug my iPhone into the headset for audio alerts from ForeFlight.

Now it’s your turn: what do you carry when you fly with an iPad? Add a comment below.

2 replies
  1. Danny O'Keefe
    Danny O'Keefe says:

    Great information. Keep it coming. Learned about annotations and more. The list Zimmerman made was good info.
    Do the names of FBO’s show on Diagrams of Airport/Runways ?

    • John Zimmerman
      John Zimmerman says:

      No they don’t, but you can usually see them on the small airport diagram that’s at the top left of the Airports page in ForeFlight.

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