ForeFlight is announcing support for external GPS receivers for iPad, iPhone, iPod touch. We’ve collected a great deal of data about how the iPad and iPhone built-in GPS receivers work in the cockpit, and quickly came to the conclusion that an external GPS receiver option is sorely needed for these devices. With those needs in mind, we tested a variety of options over the last few months and finally found two hardware solutions that are up to the task of keeping oriented in the flight environment.
For the latest recommended devices, please visit ForeFlight’s iPad Buying Guide for Pilots. This page has the most up-to-date recommendations.
Pilots flying with ForeFlight can benefit from an external GPS. For iPad WIFI+3G owners, these devices can replace the built-in GPS receiver for significantly better reliability and more consistent accuracy values. For customers with devices lacking an internal GPS receiver, like the iPad WiFi-only model, these devices allow in-flight GPS positioning that isn’t otherwise possible. These devices are authorized by Apple and require no special modifications to iPad or iPhone hardware.
Many of our customer know that we believed the GPS receiver in the iPad was not up to certain tasks and thus we intentionally avoided building in features that would lead pilots to believe otherwise. For example, showing GPS location on an approach plate without higher-quality GPS hardware was a bad idea, in our opinion – too many customers reported intermittent loss of GPS signal from the iPad or iPhone. With the availability of this newer hardware, however, we intend to open access to features that can benefit from this enhanced hardware. Stay tuned.