Why spend thousands of dollars on an aviation-specific navigation system for a plane when an iPad 3G with a matching app will do? That's exactly what they're doing with the Zlin iCub, a light sport airplane that will come with an iPad front and center in the cockpit.
According to Sport Air USA, who will be importing the Czech-built plane to the States, the panel-mounted tablet will come preinstalled with a number of flight-friendly titles, such as WingXPro7, ForeFlight Mobile HD, Topo Maps, iHud and more. Since it's a regular iPad, you can install practically any apps you want to take to the air, including games, media players and, yes, even your favorite farting apps.
The Zlin iCub is a newly-certified bush plane that's billed as an evolution of the company's Savage Cub, Cruiser and Classic lines from the last eleven years. Running on a 100-horsepower Rotax 912 ULS engine, it can manage short field take-offs (147 feet) and landings (249 feet), with a climb rate of over 1,200 fpm and a stall speed of 36mph. Details include a 7-inch extended landing gear, 1.25-inch axles, 26-inch balloon tires (with options for larger Alaskan bushwheels), 565-lbs useful load, an 18-gallon tank and various propeller options.
Aside from the iPad in the instrument panel, an iPhone mount will be available in the backseat too, which passengers can use to communicate with the tablet in the cockpit using onboard wireless. Designed to deliver a fun experience for the folks inside the plane, it features leather seating, wooden floors, panoramic doors and windows, and overhead skylight.
Pricing for the Zlin iCub is being promised at under $100,000. No word on exact availability, but they're showing the real thing off at AirVenture 2010 this July.