Foreflight iPad Battery life

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I thought I would share my experiment with you all.

My upcoming ferry flight with the Pitts has me running numbers for flight planning and checking my equipment. Its a bit of a challenge as the Pitts only has a 22 Gallon tank (most S1 have only 18g) some legs through Northern Ontario are tight as fuel sources can be limited. I've even found out from locals that some places the fuel sources are suspect (rust and water :shock: ) so i'm trying to stick to airports that have some level of service.

My primary source of navigation will be Foreflight on my iPad, being a good little boyscout I was experimenting to see how long Foreflight would last on my iPad mini.

Normally when I fly I would have it plugged into the ships power. However, on this Pitts there is no electrical system, the battery is only used for the starter. There is a "cigarette lighter" plug that draws off the battery and normally it helps keep the handheld radio powered.
This would be fine for going out and having some fun hanging upside down for an hour. However i'm planning about 8 hours airtime a day and about 12 hours with stretching legs and fueling.

I'll need about 4 -5 starts a day so In order to save the battery for the starter I won't be connecting the the radio to the plug. The radio is a new ICOM which can take 6 AA batteries with the book of words saying it has a standby time of 10 hours.

Most of the airspace is uncontrolled so there won't be much chatter to interrupt my Chi/Zen and I have spares in case it runs down quicker than advertised.

With the primary goal of keeping the battery for starts I needed to check battery life on the Ipad. So I ran an experiment at home.

Here are the results.

Ipad Mini in Airplane mode with no Bluetooth connected and charged to 100%

I left the Ipad on with about half screen brightness and only the Foreflight app running on the "synthetic vision"

Battery drained to 14% in 4 hours 15 minutes.

I then plugged it into an "Imuto" portable battery pack I got off Amazon
Link to Amazon

With the iPad and Foreflight on the pack took 4 hours 45 minutes to return it to 100% with the pack still showing 48% charging capacity remaining.

So in theory and this is with the iPad sitting at home.
I could operate Foreflight with one recharge from the battery pack for about 13 hours and 15 draining it back down to 15%.

Ill let you know about real world but I plan on turning it off as much as possible and enjoying some real flying.

5 out of 2 Pilots are Dyslexic.
Eric Janson
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Joined: Thu Jan 16, 2020 3:45 am

Some tips from using an iPad regularly in the cockpit:-

Close all the apps that are running in the background - this uses power.

Use flightmode - Wifi and Blutooth can be turned on manually if required. Wifi is a big power consumer. Same goes for any data connection.

Screen brightness is another big power user.

Battery should last a lot longer than what you are getting - suggest you experiment a bit more.
Posts: 208
Joined: Thu Jan 16, 2020 4:15 am

That battery should last longer. Is that a new ipad or an old one?

In flight, you can likely save a lot by switching off the screen most of the time, and only turning it on for a minute every 15 minutes, or when you need it for more precise navigating.
David MacRay
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June 2020, that’s a new ipad for me but an old one according to Apple. Time to upgrade.
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When you got FF running full time with your nice little airplane gps going it sucks a lot of juice.

Pro Tip for the kids, turn it off and navigate without it. Turn on check position turn off continue navigation by grey matter.
5 out of 2 Pilots are Dyslexic.
Slick Goodlin
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Joined: Thu Jan 16, 2020 3:24 am

…and don’t pull a stupid like I did, letting the ipad battery die a minute or two before your last enroute heading change then miss the destination by forty miles.

“Uhhh… where ya goin’?”
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A new iPad I found usually lasts the whole day running foreflight if it starts the day charged. I think on the last marathon day I had using it, 9 hours of flying it was down to 40% by the end of that, and that included using it between legs for flight planning.
The details of my life are quite inconsequential...
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