Can you use an iPad on a checkride? Advice from 3 FAA examiners

1 min read

While the iPad was introduced over nine years ago, some FAA Designated Pilot Examiners (DPEs) still aren’t comfortable with its use on a check ride. The good news is that these DPEs are increasingly rare, and as the podcast recording below explains, iPads are 100% allowed on check rides. Listen as three prominent DPEs, Eric Crump, Jason Blair and Todd Ritchey, bust some myths about flight tests and ACS requirements. They also share some advice for using a tablet on a check ride, including pre-flighting your device, having a backup plan in place, and remembering to fly the airplane. Bring that iPad to your practical test, but make sure you know how to use it.

Listen to the 7-minute segment here:

5 replies
  1. Jim Utterback
    Jim Utterback says:

    If I use my iPad/EFB with ForeFlight for my instrument check ride am I required to disable “own ship” during the flight portion?

    • Dan Moore
      Dan Moore says:

      My son is taking his primary check ride tomorrow. He has already been told he will have to turn off location services for the check ride.

    • Dave
      Dave says:

      Jim, I’ve seen examiners do this under two specific circumstances:

      1) they believe the candidate is using the iPad as a crutch instead of a tool, over-relying on it for position information instead of the appropriate avionics installed in the panel (this is more often done on a PPL checkride, though), and
      2) to simulate a GPS LOI scenario where the candidate has to fly an ILS, VOR, or Localizer approach without the GPS showing them where they are.

      Either way, it’s fair game during an examination. Best to practice without it so you are prepared.

  2. Russell K MacDonald
    Russell K MacDonald says:

    I am a CFII and I had an IFR pilot come to me for an IPC the other day. He had a huge iPad installed that blocked his vision of most of the panel. When I asked him to shoot an approach, I noticed that he wasn’t even looking at the panel at all. He was looking at the approach plate and following the line on the moving map for his course. I asked him to show me that he could still follow the instruments on the panel, but he was all over the sky and had no idea what to do. He had no instrument scan at all. I didn’t sign off his IPC, and he was really angry, but I don’t think what he was doing is safe. The positional information presented in the iPad is not always accurate enough for an IFR approach.

  3. RJ Murphy
    RJ Murphy says:

    Like all things aviation, rarely is there a simple answer. I believe that it is important for pilots to have proficient skills at finding and reading the appropriate (applicable) FAA provided information regarding this subject to become less reliant on hearsay and conjecture. *Not to say that per review has no value. The FAA has provided the following information which in its totality is empirical in providing the answers to the questions of iPad usage in the cockpit. See: FAA InFo 1011 (The Apple iPad and Other Suitable Tablet) for the general outline and authorization of these devices. Correspondingly, see: AC No 120-76D (Type B EFB), AC No 91-78 and AC 20-173. This information is the roadmap and should answer everyone’s questions as it applies to their specific needs.

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