Essential tip: turn off wireless radios before takeoff

1 min read

It’s important before each flight to properly configure the iPad’s wireless radios, especially when using a Bluetooth or WiFi accessory. This will help to both maximize battery life and reduce the potential for interference with the panel-mounted avionics. Here are our recommended wireless settings for various iPad and accessory combinations:

iPad with plug-in Bad Elf GPS

Preflight bad elf

iPad with Garmin GLO, Dual XGPS or Bad Elf Bluetooth GPS

Preflight bluetooth

iPad with Stratus ADS-B/GPS Receiver

Preflight stratus

Cellular iPad with Internal GPS Receiver

Preflight gps

IMPORTANT: After the iOS 11 update last year, turning off Wi-Fi or Bluetooth using the control center shortcut doesn’t actually disable those radios when you turn off the switch. Rather they only disconnect a Bluetooth or WiFi device, while keeping the radios active. Because of this, we recommend configuring these settings from the main iPad Settings app, and not the control center shortcut before flight.

8 replies
  1. Rudi
    Rudi says:

    Any idea how to switch off FaceID? We had some trouble with using an iPhoneX in a modern cockpit and it turned out the active infrared pixel bomber of the FaceID is causing trouble by flooding certain sensors. As the next iPad generation most probably will get that and maybe also every iPhone 2018, it would be essential to get this straight.

    • Bret Koebbe
      Bret Koebbe says:

      Excellent point. Go to the main Settings app, and select the option for Face ID and Password. You’d probably just want to disable the setting for “iPhone Unlock”, which will then require to use a password to unlock your phone in the airplane.

  2. Gord
    Gord says:

    What am I missing here. Why would you turn off your iPad during takeoff takeoff? If there’s interference with your panel mounted avionics it really doesn’t matter what phase of flight you are in. You wouldn’t use anything that interferes with your panel at least until the problem is sorted out.

    • Jimmie Miles
      Jimmie Miles says:

      I think… and I could be wrong.. you are not turning off only the cellular part of the device and by putting it in Airplane Mode you are simply stopping it from receiving any calls or data thru the cellular part of the device. The device is still powered up and getting all of the data from the Stratus or whatever external device you are using.

    • PJ
      PJ says:

      I think you’ve missed the [before] instead of [during] takeoff, as it is indeed important in every phase of the flight.

  3. Cary Alburn
    Cary Alburn says:

    One additional item: assuming an iPad with cellular capability, a Stratus, and a headset with Bluetooth, airplane mode on (to kill the cell radio), but both WiFi and Bluetooth on to pick up Stratus info and hear ForeFlight audio alerts from the iPad.

  4. Steve Minton
    Steve Minton says:

    If the iPad has cellular data capability but the cellular data services are not activated does any of this matter?

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