I must admit I am guilty of following multiple online flying forums over the last few years. Each forum provides a different spin on aviation topics but yet each valuable in my opinion. Lately, I have been following the buzz about "paperless cockpits" and I must say it presents a wide range of variables to choose from.
CFI and CFII post about the need for new students to use the paper, make use of all information available to flight plan. I agree with this method since I myself went through it. However, the endless access to information electronically is so much easier, much lighter to haul around and it beats unfolding and folding while in flight. Ok, you folks that learned to fly without all the electronic goodies are saying have the charts folded prior to the flight. Yep, I agree and that's what I was taught to do too. Trust me on this one, it's much easier scrolling through the pages with a swipe of the finger.
I watched a few friends use their iPad to view VFR sectionals, IFR Low Enroute charts, the green book (AFD) and Instrument Approach Plates (IAPs). My last instrument instructor aslo used the iPad and that really sealed the deal. I was hooked, I had to have one for my flying. I'm not into the movies or books but just simple flight tools to make my flying life safer and easier.
I decided to run a few numbers just to compare costs for each method, paper vs paperless. I needed to find a cut off so I picked everything east of the Mississippi. Here is the breakdown:
PAPER = $846.00
3 AFD's @ $5.00 each, every 56 days, say six orders - $90
12 IAP's @ $6.00 each, every 56 days, say six orders - $432
10 ENR's @ $3.00 each, every 56 days, say six orders - $180
12 VFR @ $6.00 each, semi annual - $144
PAPERLESS = $149.99 w/iPad $800.00
ForeFlight HD (1 Year)
Moving map, weather, plates, charts, AF/D, and filing. $74.99
ForeFlight Pro (1 Year)
Adds geo-referenced instrument procedures and diagrams $149.99
* Lets figure in the cost of an iPad with Wifi-3G, 32GB $650
**The cost of foreflight includes the ability for radar, satellite, IFR enroute (high or low), VFR sectional, fuel prices, flight rules, winds, temperatures, dew point spreads, ceilings, sky coverage, lightning, and more for the entire US.
The initial cost for the electronic "paperless" is still cheaper and the following years you will only have to subscribe to foreflight at $75 basic and $150 geo-referenced a year vs the paper trail expense of $846.
I have flown with the iPad long enough and decided that I will go paperless. I still have a few of my favorite expired paper charts and may update the local sectional at least once a year just to have it. I would have added "as a back up" but my iPhone takes care of that since foreflight lets me download the same full copy to it, at no extra cost.
What are your thoughts on the subject? Paper? Paperless? Look forward to hearing from you!