Our trip requires some special equipment. On top of the survival equipment (life vests, life raft, signal flares, first-aid kit, etc.) we have to carry some technical equipment helping us with in air navigation/communication and properly documenting this adventure. In the best case, the documentation will let us keep the memories of this trip alive, in worst case it will be useful information for the aviation accident investigation authorities.
The following equipment will be carried on board:
The primary tools for planning and performing the flight are two Apple iPads. Those devices are a perfect fit for the cockpit and are being relied upon by commercial airlines. We use them to get up to date weather information and warnings from the flight deck but also do the complete navigation with digital maps in PDF format. One iPad replaces a whole cupboard of paper documents and in case of emergency provides for a much quicker lookup of important documents than with the impractical large paper charts and binders. Also stored on the iPads are the checklists and operating instructions for emergencies (e.g. engine failure, landing gear trouble, cabin fire). We will carry two devices with identical data so that we have a backup in case an iPad packs up. Also this allows for parallel use of data: one pilot uses the map to navigate and the other checks the approach plate for the required radio frequencies (when both are playing with their iPads, George the autopilot will have to do the actual flying).
SPOT Connect is a GPS tracker with satellite communication, constantly radiating our position to the satellites (which in turn feed the live tracking page of this blog). In case of emergency, our SPOT can alert the rescue crew or send text messages of up to 45 characters to mobiles and email addresses of predefined recipients. On top of that, it can post to Twitter and Facebook and is therefore capable of everything the modern person couldn't do without for more than 30 minutes a day.
The Thuraya satellite phone allows for making phone calls in areas without mobile phone reception (e.g. in the air), send SMS and even emails. The charges when using it our outrageous so sorry mum, we're not going to call you to discuss the neighbor's cat. The Thuraya phone also acts as a wifi hotspot which lets us access the internet from our iPads in filght. This cannot be compared to your high speed flatrate at but but gives us the opportunity to send important messages, query current weather information and even make posts to this blog. It is all pretty new so there is no experience and at this point we do not know how well Thuraya will work in the cockpit.
The GoPro video cameras that we are going to carry are very robust and waterproof outdoor cameras delivering fantastic wide angle recordings. They will be an important tool to document our adventure. One camera will go inside the cockpit and the other will be mounted outside on the aircraft’s hull. The GoPro app on the iPad and mobile phone provides a convenient feature to remote control the cameras so we can turn them on and off as required.
For still images, we also carry a Canon EOS SLR camera with an all round lens. Last but not least, two laptop computers are part of our equipment so that we have a good platform to post to this blog and prepare our next legs.