Do I Really Want A Tablet Running This Circus?


Its no secret among operators and the industry that some of the more interesting recent avionics advances have come not from the established manufacturers but from upstarts developing tablet-based apps and selling portable ADS-B receivers to feed them data.

Along the way, theres been a bright line preventing portable devices from providing data to installed avionics aboard certified aircraft, but technologies like Garmins Connext and Aspens Connected Panel are starting to blur it.

As one datapoint, Ive had my share of EFB app lockups and tablet failures while airborne. In each instance, though, the problem was recoverable and I had a Plan B available. Its easy to remember why these devices and their software arent FAA-approved. Meanwhile, my GNS 530 has never crashed in the 15 years since it was installed. If history is any guide, its likely additional capabilities and features will be forthcoming, both via installed avionics and portable devices.

The convenience of wirelessly changing my airplanes trajectory is appealing, as would be funneling real-time systems data to the tablet. But Id be watching how it all works very closely. Trusting, perhaps, but definitely verifying.


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