ForeFlight's iPad Buying Guide for Pilots
Short advice: Buy the 64GB iPad Air 2 or 32GB iPad Mini 2 with Wi-Fi + Cellular on Verizon.
ADS-B + GPS Receivers
- Stratus 1: Subscription-free Weather + Traffic + GPS
- Stratus 2: Subscription-free Weather + Traffic + GPS + AHRS
- Bad Elf Pro GPS receiver
- Bad Elf GPS receiver (Lightning connector)
- Bad Elf GPS receiver (30-pin connector)
- Dual XGPS160A Bluetooth GPS receiver
- Dual XGPS150A Bluetooth GPS receiver
XM Weather Bundles
- Glare-reducing iPad Screen Protector (2nd gen & up)
- iPad Mini Anti-Glare Screen Protector
- iPad 12-24v charger at Sportys
- iPad Kneeboard
- MyClip leg strap
We're always looking for more accessories. If you have something to recommend, please send us your experience!
Please note: these are accessories that we use ourselves. We don't accept any paid product placements.
First, choose which size you prefer: for maximum screen real-estate the full-size iPad Air is a great choice, or if cockpit space is a premium, the iPad mini Retina offers excellent performance in an even smaller package. The iPad Air is narrower, thinner and lighter than the previous full-size iPad: 6.6 inches wide x 9.4 inches tall x 0.29 inches thick and weighs 1.05 pounds; while the iPad mini Retina is only 5.3 inches wide x 7.9 inches tall x 0.29 inches thick, and weighs 0.75 pounds.
Although the iPad 2 is still available, the iPad Air 2 is our firm recommendation for the full-size form factor. The iPad Air has more powerful processor and graphics chips that deliver significantly better performance. The Air is over half an inch narrower and almost five ounces lighter than the iPad 2, plus ForeFlight looks really gorgeous on the Retina display.
Then, choose between iPad Wi-Fi+Cellular or iPad Wi-Fi. The Wi-Fi + Cellular iPad contains the GPS chip that can be used to activate moving map capabilities in ForeFlight Mobile. The Wi-Fi model can be paired with an external GPS like the Bad Elf Pro to provide location fixes in flight. Other options include the Stratus 1 and Stratus 2 which provide GPS positioning as well as in-flight weather and traffic service via the ADS-B network.
Finally, choose your size: 16GB, 32GB, 64GB, or 128GB. We strongly recommend the 32GB or 64GB models. ForeFlight Mobile can require over 16GB for all of the U.S. airport diagram, A/FD sheets, instrument procedures, documents, VFR sectionals, and IFR enroute charts. Canadian data can total 3GB. However, those requirements are reduced if the entire country is not downloaded at once. For example, downloading US states east of the Mississippi would require around 5GB. Those size estimates account for having 2 "cycles" of data loaded at the same time (the current and next cycle). We recommend the 32GB or 64GB iPad, but the 16GB will work if you download data for less than 20 states and do not plan on downloading other apps, movies, or music.
- The Wi-Fi-only models do not include a GPS chip but can be used with external GPSs (see accessories list)
- An AT&T or Verizon data plan is not required to use the iPad Wi-Fi + Cellular model or its GPS capabilities; however, we've found a data plan to be very handy for getting weather reports on the go and have had the best luck with Verizon.
Pricing and Where to Buy
- 64 GB iPad Air 2 Wi-Fi $599 (USD)
- 64 GB iPad Air 2 Wi-Fi + Cellular $729 (USD)
- 32 GB iPad mini 2 Wi-Fi $479 (USD)
- 32 GB iPad mini 2 Wi-Fi + Cellular $479 (USD)
- 64 GB iPad mini 3 Wi-Fi $499 (USD)
- 64 GB iPad mini 3 Wi-Fi + Cellular $629 (USD)
Visit the Apple store to compare all iPad pricing and features: