Tried to use my Ipad mini for the first time today in my 601. No good, to much sun, could not see a thing.

What are your suggestions for a good easy to use GPS for the 601 that I can see with sunlight streaming through my canopy?

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Used to be the iPads were all the rage for cockpit use, but the older ones were susceptible to overheating and shutting down and were too dim.  Screen brightness is measured in "nits," and I "think" the older ones were like 300+ nits - just too dim.  I understand the newer iPads with Retina displays are much brighter (450 nits iPad Mini 4?). (Not sure if the heat intolerance/shutting down has been resolved - this might be a problem in a canopied aircraft.)

Screen brightness of 1000 nits or higher are usually considered "aviation quality" and don't wash-out in direct sunlight.  I've always been a fan of the iFly GPS 700 series of dedicated GPS's.  The top of the line is the iFly 740 (that's what I have) with a screen brightness of 1300 nits!  They just came out with a "740b" that is less expensive and still has an 1100 nit screen brightness.  Another unique feature of the screens is that they are military-grade touch screens and will work even while wearing gloves - most touch-screens won't.  They also occasionally have factory refurbished trade-ins for even less money.

I've used iFly GPS's for years - started with the 720 and then upgraded to the 740.  Although they don't wash out in sunlight, the screens are a little glossy and I use a NuShield screen protector that cuts glare.  The units have an internal GPS that will work fine with no external antenna in a canopied aircraft (or even in a STOL 750, for that matter!).  They are wi-fi enabled so they are also compatible with most wifi ADS-B UAT's and receivers.  They also output NMEA data via a USB port if you need data for a fuel flow computer or autopilot.  Their customer support is the best!

(iFly 740 (screen on right) on my panel)

Just one option for you to consider!



(Not affiliated with iFly, but obviously a satisfied customer!)

As for the iPad mini heat, Guardian Mounts provides with cooling ports.

I just,ordered the 740b, hope I’ll be happy with it, about $300 cheaper than the 740. I ordered the street option as well.


iFly stands behind their products.  If you don't like it, you can return it within 30 days and they'll refund every cent ... but, you'll like it!  It has a 1100 nit screen, that's plenty bright!  I understand the 740 will still be available, but they're pushing the 740b as it is more price-competitive.

I'd highly recommend going to the NuShield website and order the "DayVue" screen protector - they have the 740 protector listed under "Adventure Pilot" as the manufacturer.  (The 740b is not listed, but the 740 and 740b have the same size screen) The protector will cut down on glare and protect your screen.  It doesn't seem to affect the sensitivity of the touch screen at all.


Thanks John, I'll look it up

Thanks for the other responses. I applicate the input

Hi Gil
I use my iPad mini all the time, I have an overhead sun shield, a Kroger, plenty bright for my 67 year old eyes. It also helps to have it as on a swivel mount, instead of mounting it to a the panel, that helps too.

Been using iPads since the first one.  I have sun shield screen on canopy.  Having the screen perpendicular to your eyesight helps a lot.

A another data point, I flew with an IFly 700 for years until it crapped out. Didn't have the funds for a new 740 a few months ago so I bought an Ipad Mini 4, WIFI only (no internal GPS). After flying with it for two months - I seriously regret not saving up a few more dollars and buying the 740.

This is partly because of the IPad's poor visibility in bright light, partly because the 700 series are very easy to use in a bumpy cockpit and partly because I cannot seem to get my homebuilt Stratux to stay connected. Also, I have avoided Apple products for years because of the aggravation of actually using them. My new Mini 4 is as aggravating as my old I Phone. 

If I had the money I would dump the mini right now and buy a 740. There is no comparison as far as I'm concerned. Unfortunately all you seen to hear on the internet is how great the Ipads are. While they may be versatile if you use them out of the cockpit (I don't) , I think they suck in the cockpit when compared to the 740, or equivalent aviation GPS. 

Anyone want to buy a 2 month old Mini 4 wifi only gps for $300?


I think iPads got really popular with the cabin-class/biz-jet set and the "buzz" bled over into the aviation media, etc.  Those cockpits are semi-dark with small windows and any tablet will work well there.  It has been my observation (pun intended!) that iPads and most other tablets don't work as well in brighter environments such as full canopies and large windows like the 750 has.  Usually, you have to resort to sunshades, hoods, etc., and fiddle with the viewing angle to get "acceptable" visibility.  To add insult to injury, us poor folk with bottom feeder aircraft don't have air conditioning and there are numerous stories of iPad's just blanking out at the most inopportune times - again, some resort to various cooling fans, etc.  On the other hand, several years ago I did use a Toshiba android tablet and ran AnyWhereMap for quite some time, but the viewability was always "marginally acceptable" at best.

I, too, have had a great experience with a 720, and now a 740, iFly GPS.  They have been rock-solid reliable and never a viewing problem in any lighting condition. I will admit the screen is a little glossy, so using a DayVue Nushield screen protector and wearing a dark shirt really cuts down on reflections.  I also appreciated recently when flying in sub-freezing temps with my anemic cabin heater that I could operate the military-grade touchscreen with my gloves on! 

I understand iFly is "pushing" the 740b now, which is 1100 nits rather than the 1300+ nits of the original 740.  I suspect this is to keep the price market-competitive.  I'm going to verify with iFly if the touch screen still reacts to touch with gloves on.  

If price is a consideration, I'd call iFly and see if they have a refurb'd 740 - they often do.  They'll stand behind it with their excellent customer support.


U mention the cabin class/biz-jet.  Don't 172s have a cabin.  That is the plane I was flying with first iPad.  A friend has a 740 and it is nice but just can't do all an iPad can.  In and out of cockpit.  If anyone does decide to go with iPad, do not get the wifi only model.  I lost my dual mid-flight once and was really glad I had the iPad with GPS.  Makes it much more usable and I never had GPS fail in an iPad.

"Don't 172's have a cabin."

Yes, but I was thinking of bigger planes/pressurized that tend to have smaller windows and therefore better lighting conditions for tablets.  I agree, a high-wing Cessna is a better choice for a tablet than a canopied plane.  I flew for years with a tablet in a Cessna 206 Stationair and it was "acceptable," but even though my 750 is also a high wing, with the overhead window and huge windscreen and bubble doors, it's more of a challenge for a tablet in certain lighting conditions.

Bottom line - a good tablet will work, but a dedicated GPS aviation device like an iFly will work better.


One problem is that Apple has not updated the iPad Mini for quite some time. The screen on the latest iPad Pro is much, much better. It is considerably brighter and has better glare protection. Hopefully Apple has not abandoned the Mini and will soon refresh the design with the improved screens.


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