I've been away — a long way away — almost continuously now for two months (traveling to generally promote a new obscure software product line I've helped bring to fruition), so it's time to do a club refresher to satisfy insurance rules — and to remind myself what all those things on the front panel do (actually, with the G1000, there really aren't that many things on the front panel any more, just icons of things; never mind, it's the thought that counts…). The result's a typically mixed IFR flight to Napa (KAPC) and back with John in the right seat to stop me from doing anything too stupid; in general, despite the time off, I don't do too badly, with a couple of approaches hand-flown and / or under the control of the G1000 and autopilot, and I come away from it all with a sense of mild achievement. The weather's MVFR and we actually need to file IFR in both directions, but, frustratingly, I don't get to log any real IMC as we climb over the marine layer very quickly and it hadn't quite covered Oakland (KOAK) on our return.
The highlight of the flight for me — and why I'd blog it at all — is being able to briefly use John's new iPad with his SkyCharts Pro setup for the approaches. This thing does pretty much what I'd expect it to do — what I'd want it do do — and does it well. I'd worried a bit about how distracting it might be or how irritating it might be to fly with an iPad on your lap, but it worked out well. I didn't get to play with any of the other iPad stuff — the IFR and VFR charts, Foreflight, etc. — but the approach charts alone made it worthwhile. No, I can't afford one of these for a while yet (and, unlike John, I don't make a living from flying, so I can't justify it as a tax writeoff or a tool of trade), but it's hard to see myself flying in a year or two without something like this, at least. We shall see….