The best iPads for pilots (Top 5) - FLYING Magazine (2023)

Looking for the best iPad for pilots? Before you decide which iPad is best for flying with your Electronic Flight Bag (EFB) apps, you need to make some personal decisions. Here are some important things to keep in mind.

Whether it's Apple-branded iPads or Android tablets, you probably already know that tablets and piloting software can bring the power of a glass cockpit, complete with avionics and situational awareness technology, to any aircraft. Pilots in the cockpit tablet market should consider which aviation apps they use. Are you a fan of ForeFlight? Or is Garmin Pilot your app of choice? This is important because not all tablets will run all popular apps. Ultimately, your choice of tablet will be determined by the EFB app you choose.

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The best iPads for pilots (Top 5) - FLYING Magazine (1)

Quicklook: the best iPads and tablets for pilots

  1. AppleiPad area: Ideal for pilots using the ForeFlight aviation application.
  2. Samsung Galaxy A8: Ideal for pilots using the Garmin Pilot aviation app.
  3. Ipad mini: Ideal for student pilots and pilots who fly small aircraft.
  4. iPad Pro de Apple: Best suited for forward flying users with more cabin space.
  5. amazon fire hd 10: best for accessibility and entry at a low price.

The 5 Best iPads and Tablets for Pilots

We did some research and came up with five of the best iPads and tablets for pilots. Check out these options and see if any are worth considering based on your flying style, pilot software, and mission objectives when flying.

Apple iPad Air (4th generation or later)

Better for:Pilots who want to use Foreflight or other iOS based EFBs.

ForeFlight Mobile EFB is an industry leader. For many aviators, it is the first and only choice of pilot software. However, the popular program only works on Apple's iOS. Therefore, Apple's 10.9-inch iPad Air tablet is a good choice to run the platform. Its 256 GB storage capacity allows you to save any map, flight plan or document you need. With over 10 hours of battery life, this industry-leading tablet will survive even the longest GA flights.

Screen size:10.9 inches (diagonal)

screen resolution:2360 x 1640 pixels at 264 pixels per inch (ppi)

Weight:1.02 pounds

Connectivity:Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, Celular, GPS interno

Battery duration:10+ hours

port type:USB-C


Special features:

  • Touch ID to unlock the device
  • digital compass

Samsung Galaxy A8

Better for:Pilots who want to use Garmin Pilot or other Android based EFBs.

(Video) Top 4 iPad Kneeboards for Pilots - MyClip, Flight Gear, Flight Outfitters, MyGoFlight

While the Android operating system that powers Samsung's Galaxy Tab A8 tablet doesn't run ForeFlight, even the 128GB storage model is less than half the price of the 10.5-inch iPad Air tablet and is a solid choice whether Garmin Pilot or another Android device. EFB based are your choice. Using a microSD card for storage expansion gives users 512GB of storage space for maps, documents, and of course, photos and videos of their favorite destinations.

Screen size:10.5 inches (diagonal)

screen resolution:1920 x 1200 pixels

Weight:1.12 pounds

Connectivity:Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, Celular, GPS interno

Battery duration:Full day (approx. 12 hours)

port type:USB-C

Store:128 GB

Special features:

  • MicroSD card for additional storage space

Apple iPad Mini (6th generation or later)

Better for:Student pilots or pilots flying very small aircraft with an iOS compatible EFB.

With an 8.3-inch screen, Apple's iPad Mini offers a small footprint that fits in a small booth-like cabin. B. trainers or various types of small, light aircraft, less likely to get in the way.

Screen size:8.3 inches (diagonal)

screen resolution:2266 x 1488 at 326 pixels per inch (ppi)

Weight:0.66 pounds

Connectivity:Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, Celular, GPS interno

(Video) 8 Best iPad Kneeboards 2021

Battery duration:up to 10 hours

port type:USB-C

Store:64 GB o 256 GB

Special features:

  • Small, light, practical
  • digital compass
  • touch id

Apple iPad Pro (11 inch model)

Better for:Pilots using ForeFlight or another iOS-based EFB and operational aircraft that can accommodate a larger tablet.

ForeFlight recommends this best iPad for pilots as their "first choice." In particular, the guide suggests Wi-Fi and cellular-equipped iPad Pro models, as the internal GPS chip enables on-the-fly mapping capabilities. The EFB also recommends the 256GB model, as the ForeFlight app alone requires 15GB to fully function in the US.

Screen size:11 inches (diagonally)

screen resolution:2388 x 1668 pixels at 264 pixels per inch (ppi)

Weight:1.04 pounds

Connectivity:Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, Celular, GPS interno

Battery duration:up to 9 hours

port type:USB-C


Special features:

  • digital compass
  • face identification

amazon fire hd 10

Better for:Pilots looking for a very affordable tablet to run OS EFB applications.

(Video) Flying with the iPad - your digital copilot (webinar recording)

There are several EFB apps that can run on the Amazon Fire HD 10 tablet, including WingX by Hilton Software and others. If price of entry is a major consideration for adding a tablet-based EFB to your cabin, then the Fire HD 10 might fit your needs. However, as it does not have cellular network capability and therefore does not have built-in GPS functionality, an additional external Bluetooth GPS is required to play moving maps and geo-referenced maps.

Screen size:10.1 inches (diagonal)

screen resolution:1920 x 1200 with more than 2 million pixels (224 ppi)

Weight:1025 pounds

Connectivity:Wi-Fi, Bluetooth

Battery duration:up to 12 hours

port type:USB-C

Store:32 GB / 64 GB

Special features:

  • You can add up to 1TB of data storage with a microSD card.

What features should iPads for pilots have?

  • Right size: not too big and not too small
  • Adequate data storage capacity: Enough for large files
  • Robust construction and protection: Capable of operating during extreme movements
  • High performance and battery life – to maintain performance during long-haul flights
  • High-quality display – clear and easy to read

Ipad and tablet essential for pilots

Before you buy your iPad or tablet, there are a few other important considerations to make. Location, mounting, battery life, connectivity, and durability are all possible factors that could influence your decision.


Will the best iPad for pilots be able to withstand the harsh conditions of aviation? How robust is the casing of the device? What is it made of? Consider getting an anti-glare screen to protect your screen.

Airplane iPad stand

Safe storage of objects is always important in the cabin, this also applies to iPads and tablets. The option you choose depends on the aircraft.

  • Suction cup - good for pilots who lease their plane
  • Yoke Mount – Positions the iPad directly in front of the rider. It does not work for all yoke types.
  • Angled Panel: Also good for renters and light aircraft. Keeps iPad within easy view.

battery duration

Depending on the length of your flights, battery life can be a critical factor when choosing an iPad or tablet. Having your key data available at all times during the flight means that you should opt for a model that can last much longer than your typical flight time.


Most iPads have Bluetooth and Wi-Fi capabilities. But do you need cell capacity? Cellular-enabled iPads are equipped with built-in GPS receivers. These receivers work without connection to a wireless service provider. Even if you're not interested in using the iPad's cellular feature, you may want to use the iPad's GPS receiver to access GPS data built into EFB apps. This allows your iPad to be used as a backup navigation device as a last resort if necessary.


Obviously, a larger screen helps the pilot to see the screen more easily. But screen size must be balanced against cockpit space and the pilot's ability to operate the aircraft's controls. In general, the screen of an iPad or tablet should be large enough to view from a distance of four to five feet, but not so large as to interfere with the pilot's ability to fly the aircraft safely or effectively.

(Video) Flying with the iPad - Your Digital Copilot (webinar recording)


Resolution is the key to accurately reading the information displayed on any iPad or electronic tablet. In the cockpit, constant movement and frequently changing lighting conditions can make it difficult to see all the data displayed on the screen. Better screen resolution reduces the likelihood that a pilot will misinterpret a key data point that may be critical to a flight.

Choose an iPad or tablet for the way you fly

In short, the bestipad for pilotsIt is the one that best suits your way of flying. Seasoned GA pilots will use an iPad differently than a student pilot or commercial pilot.FLIGHTThe magazine offers a treasure trove of information and resources for pilots and people who want to learn more about flying. get your signatureHere.


What kind of iPad do pilots use? ›

Based on our experience talking with pilots flying GA piston airplanes, the iPad mini is by far the most popular choice, primarily because of how well it fits in most cockpits. For this reason, our first choice would be the iPad Mini with 256GB model as the best iPad for aviation.

What tablets do pilots use? ›

Samsung Galaxy Tab A8: Best for pilots using the Garmin Pilot aviation app. Apple iPad Mini: Best for student pilots and pilots flying small aircraft. Apple iPad Pro: Best for Foreflight users with more flight deck space. Amazon Fire HD 10: Best for affordability and entering at a low price point.

Which iPad is best for flight simulator? ›

For the best performance and a larger screen, the 11-inch iPad Pro is our top choice followed closely by the iPad Air 5th generation; or, if cockpit space is at a premium, the iPad mini 6th generation (2021) offers a smaller footprint.

Do pilots need iPads? ›

With an iPad (and an app or two), those numerous resources are now at a pilot's fingertips. Flight planning tools, weather updates, checklists and aircraft performance calculations can all be seen on one electronic screen.

Why do pilots like iPad minis? ›

This small but mighty iPad Mini is a perfect copilot in a cockpit of any size. Many pilots enjoy the size of the mini because it doesn't block the panel like the other iPad sizes often do. It allows for easy use with a kneeboard or mounted directly on the yoke.

Do airlines give pilots iPads? ›

Cockpit iPads are iPads used in the aviation industry as part of an electronic flight bag to replace paper charts and manuals. This technology is currently being used by both private and commercial aircraft pilots.

Do pilots use Android or Apple? ›

As expected, most pilots are flying with iOS-powered devices such as Apple iPads, with 94 percent responding thusly. Android users accounted for nearly 11 percent of the responses, while Windows garnered nearly 5 percent. The majority of aviation apps are available for iOS, with many also available on Android.

Do you need a cellular iPad for ForeFlight? ›

You must have a Wi-Fi + Cellular iPad (or an iPhone) to get a location fix in-flight because the Wi-Fi-only iPad model does not have an internal GPS receiver. A Wi-Fi-only iPad will only get a rough location fix when on the ground and near Wi-Fi access points.

Do pilots need tablets? ›

Pilots are responsible for much more than maneuvering a plane from one airport to the next; they have to be able to access a constant stream of information and make quick decisions. That's where tablets like the iPad and the Microsoft Surface have become efficient tools.

What is the most realistic flight simulator on iOS? ›

The 8 Best Flight Simulators for Your iPhone
  1. Airline Commander: Flight Game. This is as in-depth as it gets for flight simulator games on the iPhone. ...
  2. Infinite Flight Simulator. ...
  3. X-Plane Flight Simulator. ...
  4. Turboprop Flight Simulator. ...
  5. Flight Simulator Advanced. ...
  6. Flight Simulator 2019. ...
  7. Flight Pilot Simulator 3D! ...
  8. Extreme Landings.
Jan 27, 2023

What is the most realistic flight simulator in the world? ›

If you're looking for an incredibly realistic flight simulator, you'll be hard-pressed to find a better option than X-Plane 11. The game features true-to-life cockpits of dozens of different airplane models and detailed 3D scenery for more than 13,000 “living” airports around the world.

Is there a flight simulator for Apple? ›

Subscribe to Infinite Flight Pro for an all-access experience that allows you to fly anywhere in the world with live weather and our entire fleet of aircraft. Join thousands of other pilots and air traffic controllers for the most engaging online flight simulator experience available today!

Where should I put my iPad when flying? ›

TSA Security and iPads

Currently, all passengers must move any electronic device larger than a cellphone from luggage and place it in the bins for the X-ray screening. That includes iPads of all sizes.

Do professional pilots use ForeFlight? ›

ForeFlight Mobile, the company's flagship product, is used by individual pilots and professional flight crews to gather weather and destination information efficiently.

Can I use my iPad during takeoff? ›

The devices must remain in Airplane Mode, although onboard Wi-Fi will be permitted where available. Cellular calls and voice communications will remain prohibited while the plane is airborne. Until those changes are implemented, continue to turn off your iPad before takeoff and landing.

Which two things make the pilot happy? ›

<br> Which two things made the pilot happy? Solution : The dream of coming holiday and the meeting with the fanilly made him happy.

What is the hardest thing to pilot? ›

1) Aircraft Systems

One of the toughest topics for private pilot students is aircraft systems.

Do pilots prefer long or short haul? ›

Some pilots like to do only short haul, medium haul, or long haul. You cannot generally conclude that all pilots prefer any one of these.

What app do Delta pilots use? ›

Launched in April, Delta's Flight Weather Viewer app provides pilots with real-time graphics of turbulence observations and forecasts on the flight deck.

Do pilots use Apple Watch? ›

We've been flying with the Apple Watch since it first launched and it's become more and more useful every year for both preflight weather checks and as an in-cockpit resource. Out of the box, the GPS, compass, and O2 sensor in the latest model provide valuable information to pilots.

Do pilots get free hotels? ›

The airline handles and pays for accommodations for crewmembers when they are on a trip. Many pilots do not live where they are based and choose to commute. Generally, if pilots need to travel and stay away from home when they are not on a trip, they are responsible for their own accommodations.

What app do most pilots use? ›

ForeFlight/Garmin Pilot/FltPlan Go/FlyQ

These all-in-one planning and navigation apps can do an amazing number of tasks, from weather briefings to moving maps. There are many apps to choose from, but ForeFlight, Garmin Pilot, FltPlan Go and FlyQ are the most popular options, with ForeFlight firmly established at #1.

Which device is used to train pilots? ›

A flight simulator artificially simulates aircraft flight in various environments and conditions. Also known as Flight Training Device (FTD), Aviation Training Device (ATD), or Full Flight Simulator (FFS), they is used primarily to augment pilot training.

Why is ForeFlight not on Android? ›

Of the three platforms for portable devices used by pilots, Apple's iPad remains the most popular, in part because ForeFlight is designed only to run on Apple's iOS (operating system). Android-based devices are in second place, followed by Microsoft's Surface tablet/laptop, which runs on Microsoft's Windows OS.

How many iPads do I need for ForeFlight? ›

The individual subscriptions allow you to use ForeFlight Mobile on 2 iPads and 1 iPhone, or 2 iPhones and 1 iPad, simultaneously. The iPads can be any mix of models. All devices are to be used by the same pilot.

Can you get ForeFlight for free? ›

While the ForeFlight Mobile app is free to download from the app store, a subscription is required to use the app. You can learn more about plans and pricing on our Subscription Purchase Page.

How much memory does ForeFlight require on iPad? ›

We strongly recommend at least 128 GB, especially if you use your iPad for more than ForeFlight. The app requires about 15.5 GB for all of the US instrument procedures, airport diagrams, chart supplements, VFR Sectionals, and IFR Enroute charts, as well as the required basemap, navdata, terrain, and obstacles.

How do pilots not get bored? ›

Numerous pilots say they love mental challenges like crosswords or Sudoku puzzles during their in-air down time. It may sound treacherous, but these puzzle-loving pilots insist that it's less distracting than reading a book or watching a movie. "A puzzle won't pull you in for long durations," they claim.

How do pilots not get tired? ›

Take Advantage of Naps

A 20-30-minute map is all you need to help fight pilot fatigue. A short burst of rest will help to improve alertness in your day. However, you want to be sure your nap isn't too long.

Can you take Tylenol as a pilot? ›

NSAIDs (non- steroidal anti- inflammatory drugs) and analgesics acetaminophen (Tylenol) aspirin (Bayer's) ibuprofen (Advil/Motrin) naproxen (Naprosyn) Advil PM, Tylenol PM (Most “PM” medications contain diphenhydramine) Most OTC pain meds are safe to fly as long as the underlying condition is acceptable.

What simulator does the FAA use? ›

Cirrus FAA Approved Flight Simulator

Typically the SR20 is used for training, while the SR22/SR22T is used for pilots once they have completed their PPL for longer distance trips.

What simulator do pilots use? ›

You're never grounded with Gleim! The first and only FAA-approved simulator built with the cutting edge X-Plane 11 flight sim engine. Use the Gleim Virtual Cockpit BATD to develop or maintain proficiency with flight modeling based on the most popular training aircraft in the world, the Cessna 172.

What is the most popular flight simulator? ›

14 Most Realistic Flight Sim Games
  • 8 Battle of Britain 2: Wings of Victory.
  • 7 X-Plane 11.
  • 6 AeroFly FS.
  • 5 Wings Over Flanders Fields.
  • 4 FlyInside.
  • 3 Falcon 4.0 BMS.
  • 2 Il-2 Sturmovik.
  • 1 Microsoft Flight Simulator (2020)
Nov 7, 2021

How much is a decent flight simulator? ›

To create an entry-level flight simulator, you can expect to pay anywhere from $2,500-$3,000 for the entire home sim. A great starter setup with a few components can be great for honing in your skills in a particular area.

Can you dogfight in Microsoft Flight Sim? ›

Multiplayer was a mode that allowed you to fly online with other players, fly in formations, and engage in dog-fights. Training Missions are missions that teach you dogfighting techniques and the basics of flight.

Does flight simulator have real cities? ›

These cities are not photorealistic, but they're still an absolute marvel, constructed from satellite imagery and fly-by image scans, and then augmented using lots of clever technology to give buildings the right shape, roofs the right colour, and so on.

Is Microsoft plane simulator free? ›

Available starting Thursday, the Microsoft Flight Simulator Game of the Year Edition is a free update for existing players on PC and Xbox Series X|S.

How do I get Apple simulator? ›

To download a simulator
  1. In Xcode, choose Xcode > Preferences.
  2. In the Preferences window, click Downloads.
  3. In Components, find the legacy simulator version you want to add, and click the Install button.
Feb 15, 2018

Do you need a cellular iPad for aviation? ›

A Wi-Fi-only iPad will only get a rough location fix when on the ground and near Wi-Fi access points. A Wi-Fi-only iPad will get good fixes in flight with an external GPS receiver listed on our buying guide. NOTE: a Cellular Data plan is not required to use ForeFlight Mobile, or to get a GPS location fix.

Do pilots still use E6B? ›

Even today, many pilots still prefer to have an E6B flight computer as a backup to their digital flight computers. The reasoning is that an analog flight computer will never run out of batteries and does not need any accessories.

Can you use an iPad for avionics? ›

Flight Stream 510: This tiny MultiMediaCard creates a wireless bridge between Garmin Pilot and Garmin panel-mount avionics, enabling flight plan transfer and ADS-B weather display on an iPad. It is compatible with GTN 650/750, G500/G600, G1000 NXi and G3000.

Does ForeFlight work on iPad without cellular? ›

No. However, the cellular-capable iPad is needed if you want to have a GPS receiver built into the iPad. If you get a WiFi-only iPad, then it will not have a GPS receiver built into it.

What happens if you don't put your iPad on airplane mode? ›

According to Smarter Travel, by not turning your phone onto airplane mode, your phone will attempt to make connections with the cell towers around it. Forbes reported, “If you don't put your phone on airplane mode during a flight, your phone will probably annoy a few pilots and air traffic controllers.”

What button do pilots never press? ›

Pilot Patrick Smith explains that the one button he 'never, ever, ever, wants to activate' is a cargo compartment fire extinguishing switch.

Do pilots still need 20/20 Vision? ›

What are the FAA standards for vision? Federal Aviation Regulations require that a pilot's distant vision be 20/20 or better, with or without correction, in EACH eye separately to hold a first or second class medical certificate. The standard for near visual acuity (16″) is 20/40 in each eye separately.

Can a pilot legally use an iPad with ForeFlight during IFR operations? ›

This is the AC that states it is legal for Part 91 piston aircraft pilots to use the iPad as an EFB as long as, amongst other requirements, the data is current and valid. A backup data source, either digital or printed is encouraged but not required.

How do I keep my iPad cool in a cockpit? ›

Remove it from direct sunlight and aim a few air vents over if possible. If you had it in a kneeboard or case, remove these to aid the cooling process, and remove it from any charging sources.

How do I use my iPad as a DJI? ›

How to Setup iPad Mini with Mavic Pro
  1. Step 1) Remove the Plastic Insert. Remove the cable, and push out the plastic holder from the controller.
  2. Step 2) Insert iPad Into Controller. Extend the arms of the Mavic Controller and slowly push iPad into remote. ...
  3. Step 3) Plug in Cable.

What is a Level 5 flight training device? ›

Level 5 has represents a “class” of aircraft (meaning single-engine, multiengine, et cetera), and also requires a document called a qualification and approval guide that contains FTD design criteria. At this level, the device is starting to look more like the aircraft you are going to fly. There's a yoke, for example.

What technology do commercial pilots use? ›

As such, commercial pilots must make use of Radio Frequency (RF) communications equipment on an everyday basis. The plane will likely have two radios, COM 1 and COM 2, each with an active and standby frequency. For times when GPS fails, you can also use the navigation radios, NAV 1 and NAV 2, to tune to radio beacons.


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