Legality aside, will cellular data work on an iPad in flight at low altitudes?
Votes
Joined 03/25/2019 - 6 Posts
Open
I am planning a trip from the east coast to the west coast this summer in a PA-11. For various reasons, Gross weight limitations mean I will be flying solo. The PA-11 does not have an electrical system. I will have two handheld air radios and a garmin gpsmap 496 with siriusXM weather service on the garmin. I will have an iPad and iPhone both running foreflight basic. Will the iPad or iPhone be able to get updated weather inflight if I am flying about 3000 ft agl?

I will be using paper maps. Due to my low experience in taildraggers, I worry about landing at airports above my crosswind capability and for the most part have identified alternate airports with different runway directions to get better crosswind components. However, I would need to know the wind direction in flight to decide which airport to land at.

So legality aside, will the cellular data or cellphone service work on an iPad or iPhone in flight for flight safety purposes?
4 Replies
Votes
Joined 09/20/2019 - 2 Posts
You only need to look at your 496 WEATHER info if your airport is on The System
Votes
Joined 06/11/2017 - 789 Posts
My experience is that cellular service generally works at 3000 AGL and below, although that can be spotty and variable depending on terrain, obstructions, and tower density, so I wouldn't count on it.  However, the XM weather on your 496 should fill your inflight need for surface wind at airports along the way equally well.
Votes
Joined 06/11/2017 - 789 Posts
Richard Stanley:
You only need to look at your 496 WEATHER info if your airport is on The System

And if your airport isn't in "the system", it won't show up via any cellular data on your iPad.  The only case where that might be different is if there's an ASOS/AWOS that can be reached by phone but isn't reporting in the system, and I don't know if there are any such airports.

Votes
Joined 09/20/2019 - 2 Posts
I know of one in my area 1B1 Columbia COunty Airport