Tuesday, September 17, 2013

iPad And Other Technical Problems

I may have mentioned it before, but my main iPad (3G 128GB) packed up just before Anchorage. It won't accept charge anymore. This caused us to seek out the Apple Store in Anchorage, with the hope of having it repaired or exchanged. Unfortunately, neither was possible. It turns out that repairs to iPads are very seldom undertaken locally and nobody we spoke to was prepared to even open the device. The reason the unit could not be exchanged was that there are no 4G units for sale in Anchorage and they had no 128GB units in stock at all. Still the staff at the Anchorage Apple Store were very friendly and helpful and arranged for a replacement unit to be available at the Apple Store in Tokyo.

As it turned out, we found an Apple Store in Sapporo - where we stopped before Tokyo. There we learned that while they would be happy to exchange the unit for us, they only have SIM locked devices in the whole of Japan. As this would not be of help, I declined the exchange and accepted the fact that we may not get the unit replaced at all until we are back in Cape Town, or at least in Germany. I then opted to purchase a low-end 16GB WiFi only iPad2, to serve as my backup device. I can always re-sell the device when back in Germany or Cape Town. Bids are accepted in the meantime ...

To understand my obsession with the iPads, one must know that I rely entirely on the iPad to conduct our flights. Flightplans are stored there, along with charts, handbooks and all sorts of other information. I can safely say that without an iPad I would be grounded. Only one of the crews flies with Jeppesen Paper charts and while I have not seen the volume, it must be huge as the weight apparently is around 30 kilos. In our extremely space limited cockpit this would not really work and hence the reliance on the iPad. I appreciate that many other people have flown around the world without an iPad (or equivalent), but I sure wouldn't want to try it myself.

With the above in mind, I had been using my iPad Mini since the main unit packed up before Anchorage and the iPad Mini is now my main device. Despite its smaller size it works well enough. The backup unit is however loaded and kept current with the same flight info and I keep it charged so that if required, it can be used immediately.

Other important hardware are the extra power units we carry (3 of them). Those units are like small rechargeable battery devices, which may be used to re-charge your phone or iPad when no power outlet is available. I have used those power units on more than one occasion during very long flying days.

Earlier today we were taken by a small speedboat (around 10 people) from one island to another. We got wet through and through. Fortunately, I had insisted that my flightbag - which contains all the electronic stuff - be stuffed into a plastic bag to ensure things wouldn't get wet. Just as well.

Generally, I have become very aware of the items that may stop us very quickly. That certainly includes the electronic gear, but other items as well. Even a small problem on the aircraft may stop us. When we landed in Nagoya a few days ago, my seat in the aircraft had become jammed to the point that it could hardly be moved fore and aft. While this may seem like a really small problem, it's a show stopper. The aircraft cannot be flown in that condition. Fortunately, we had it attended to and fixed during our stay there.

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