There is no doubt that new technology is providing pilots with equipment and applications to use in the cockpit that are putting useful information instantly at their fingertips.
The May-June 2012 issue of CASA's Flight Safety Australia magazine included a worthwhile feature 'Pad, not Paper' about new technology that is bringing the concept of the electronic flight bag to life. It is worth a read and explains CASA's position on the use of electronic devices in the cockpit.
The message CASA wants to convey is that 'You are not allowed to rely on it as your sole source of navigation or documentation, however electronic flight bags are very useful in enhancing a pilot's situational awareness.'
In other words, by all means take advantage of the increased situational awareness that such applications offer you in the cockpit, but maintain traditional methods of dead reckoning with current paper charts and timepiece as your primary means of navigation.
A Bluetooth-enabled headset connected to an iPhone is a great leap forward in handy technology that is now available to pilots. However, to avoid the possibility of unwanted distractions whilst you are flying, discipline yourself to turn off your iPhone at top of descent. As a rule of thumb you should not be talking on your iPhone below 5000ft.
Another useful little app is LiveATC. From the comfort of your lounge room, you can dial up the frequency of airports all over the world and listen in real time to their ATC communications. It's also a handy app with which to hear what's going on at your local airport. Students can even use it as homework and get used to hearing and processing the sorts of instructions they can expect to hear from ATC when they next take to the skies.
Here's a handy hint for checking the weather at your destination. Download the Dial-A-Wis app onto your iPhone. This provides the phone number of every AWIS site in the ERSA, and also keeps a list of your 12 most recently dialled numbers.
Electronic Flight Bags