Despite the very real recent advances in EFB software-including features like ForeFlights synthetic vision and Xavions energy-management capabilities, described in the sidebar on the opposite page-there are some things gadgets still cant do in the cockpit:
In-Flight Internet: This might be the Holy Grail, pink unicorn and flux capacitor of avionics, all wrapped into one. Services like GoGo Business Aviation already offer in-flight Internet for larger cabins and wallets. Whether over a ground-based network like ADS-B, via satellites or through high-altitude, unmanned relay aircraft, its just a matter of time before its a reality for personal airplanes.
Autopilot Nav Source: With the right hardware, Experimental aircraft already can use a gadgets advanced navigation capabilities to serve as a source for the autopilot. Whether the capability ever will trickle up to certified aircraft weighing 6000 lbs or less and flown non-commercially, for example, remains to be seen.
Decision Making: Another Holy Grail would be for gadgets to help us make the correct decisions every time, whether during pre-flight planning or while airborne. Sometimes, that decision might be to land immediately, or stay on the ground in the first place.
HUD: A popular AoA indicator is available with its information projected onto a clear panel extending above the glareshield, an economical head-up display. All kinds of interesting data from a gadget can be placed on a similar panel and positioned right in front of the pilot.