I don’t generally like to hide away my iDevices inside cases, but there are some environments where this is at least strongly advisable – and the basket of a hot-air balloon is definitely one of those. In anything but still air, a landing tends to involve the basket being dragged across the ground – and much as you try to secure things, there’s always the risk of loose items taking a fall. Which can get expensive when one of those loose items is an iPad Air.
iPads are the perfect navigation device in a hot-air balloon as you need to simultaneously reference three different types of maps. An airspace map, showing the areas you can’t fly into without risking an A380 bearing down on you (followed shortly afterwards by the aviation licensing authority). A land map to show the ground detail you need for navigation and landing purposes. And finally, a map showing Sensitive Areas (SAs) where landowners request that you either don’t land or overfly above a specified altitude (generally 500 or 1000 feet) to avoid disturbing cattle, dogs and so on.
An iPad provides a moving map combining all three types of data in a single view. But with bumpy landings a fact of life, it would be a braver man than I to risk using a naked iPad. I thus decided to look around at the protective cases available, and having been impressed by the Otterbox Defender iPhone case, tried out the version for the iPad Air …