Wow, this one is interesting. Premiering next month at EAA Airventure in Oshkosh is the new Zlin iCub, an airplane that uses an Apple iPad for navigation, checking the weather and whatever else. There is a place for Apple's iconic tablet front and center in the cockpit and an iPhone mount for the backseat, passenger area that will be able to talk to the iPad via on-board wireless.
The airplane itself has a 100-horsepower Rotax up front, and tundra tires. It is capable of landing in back-country landing strips or on the beach. The company, Zlin says the takeoff run is just under 150 feet, and the plane can land in only 250 feet. Not bad, good numbers for those enjoy flying to out-of-the-way destinations.
The airplane will come equipped with an iPad 3G already loaded with several aviation apps. No, photos of the real thing, but the company provided the mock-up photos shown here.
It's pretty neat. While we're not entirely sure we want to be in a plane someone is flying by iPad, but it really illustrates the versatility of Apple's 'magical device'.
Besides which, the Zlin belongs to the Light Sport Aircraft category and is aimed at pilots looking more for a fun-to-fly plane, than serious transportation.
There are numerous aviation apps already available for the iPad, including several with aviation-specific GPS navigation including FAA charts and real time weather. And while an app might crash, as will the damn iPad from time to time, with the iCub, you‚Äôre not really relying on the iPad as your primary source of information. In fact simply looking down at the ground and comparing it to your sectional chart will always work as a good backup.