*** Falken Avionics will be at EAA AirVenture from July 22 - 28. We will be closed for vacation from July 29 - August 2 ***
*** Visit us at AirVenture - Hangar A - Booth 1043 ***

But Is It Bright Enough?

The iPad has done more to improve general aviation than just about any other technical advancement in the past 50 years. (Yeah, aviation is glacial, but that still says something.) The only two concerns I hear these days are, 1) “they shut down when they get hot!” and; 2) “they’re not bright enough!”.

We’ve largely taken care of the heat issue with our FlightDock and TEC products. The base model FlightDock puts a temperature controlled fan behind the iPad. The TEC puts a thermoelectric cooler back there. Either way, heat issue is no longer a problem.

But the brightness… The recent base model iPad is about 600 nits (more formally, 600 candelas per square meter or cd/m2).  Not too shabby for a desktop tool, but not as bright as bespoke avionics display. (Also, not as expensive.) I’ve never had a problem seeing an iPad in our testbed RV-6A, but some people are more sensitive (or more persnickety) and want a “truly aviation level display”. Well, now Apple makes one (two, actually).

The new M4 iPad Pro is available in 11″ and 13″ versions, both of which use a blindingly bright 1000 nit tandem OLED UltraRetina XDR display. The OLED part means it sucks down less power and puts out less heat. The XDR part means it’s incredibly sharp with amazing contrast. But most importantly, it shines like the sun on a clear day.

I’m currently testing with an 11″ Pro and I’m impressed. You can easily read it even with the morning or evening sun blasting straight into the screen. No squinting. No craning your neck to a better angle. This baby is bright, cool, lightweight, and can run the FlightView app perfectly.

The only down side… it’s a bit spendy compared to the base model. Even the basic version (11″ screen, 256 GB of storage, Wifi only) clocks in at about $999. Add on luxuries like cellular + GPS or extra storage and the price quickly increases to the point of pain. But even then, compare it to the cost of a display from “the usual suspects” and it doesn’t seem so bad after all.

The new Pros are both compatible with our FlightBar controller. Both fit into the FlightDock mount. Both work with our new USB-C dual charger. If you’re ready to upgrade, you can pick one up at an Apple Store today.

If you want a closer look, here is a full-size, uncompressed copy of that image.

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