New iPhone 5 “Lightning” connector might be incompatible with your airplane

According to Flight Display Systems, iPhone 5’s new “Lightning” connector and its taller form-factor could make the new phone and adapters incompatible with existing aircraft iPhone accessories.

Even though the Air Force Special Operations Command did not eventually procure the about 2,800 made-in-China Apple iPAD2 tablets, smartphones and tablets have been approved for official widespread use across the U.S. forces whereas Apple devices have become part of a pilot’s toolkit thanks to aviation apps for managing flight planning, navigation or mapping.

Lightning is a brand new all digital, eight-signal connector used on the new iPhone 5, fifth generation iPod Touch and seventh generation iPod Nano. The Lightning port can be used for charging the iPod or iPhone, syncing data and outputting audio to another device, as with the old 30-pin connector. But it’s also thinner, thus making the new iPhone 5 less bulky, allowing larger speakers for more volume output. Moreover, being reversible it is also more durable than the older one, that could get damaged when plugged it in backwards.

However, the new connector requires new adapters and docking stations that won’t necessarily support all functions.

Hence, bring your old iPhone with you on your next flight if you want to be sure to use your device and its apps in the air.


About David Cenciotti
David Cenciotti is a journalist based in Rome, Italy. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviationist”, one of the world’s most famous and read military aviation blogs. Since 1996, he has written for major worldwide magazines, including Air Forces Monthly, Combat Aircraft, and many others, covering aviation, defense, war, industry, intelligence, crime and cyberwar. He has reported from the U.S., Europe, Australia and Syria, and flown several combat planes with different air forces. He is a former 2nd Lt. of the Italian Air Force, a private pilot and a graduate in Computer Engineering. He has written five books and contributed to many more ones.