I am probably getting an iPad with Foreflight in the next few days. The other reindeer will likely follow with what they see me do. I think I can get an app with checklists for every plane I fly too. Is there anything that you would do different in a private or instrument checkride if the charts were on an iPad vs paper? For example, are you required to fail that tool and then see if they have a backup? If so, does the backup have to cover every possible alternate destination within fuel range or just practical just-in-case backup? I don't see anything about this type of tool or its failure of it in the PTS.
Excellent question! I have had several Instrument applicants use the iPad lately and I'm about to take the plunge in to the iPad world as well.
I have been using an EFB at work for a couple of years now. One flight about a year ago I had a failure of a driver on the co-pilot EFB. We got out the back-up EFB and had a battery problem with that one (it wasn't able to be ship powered). Fortunately, we had the captain side EFB and paper copies available but that situation shaped the way I use an EFB. I fly with paper copies of my destination and alternate IAP (I always file an alternate) and carry paper enroute charts (I use jepp products). I treat the EFB/iPad as my backup to the paper. If I divert to a new alternate, I use the EFB/iPad.
The biggest problem I see with the iPad is if you drop it or some how break the screen your in trouble.
As far as the PTS goes, anything the applicant brings is subject to evaluation. If they say they use it for all approach plates, but can't demonstrate how to bring up an approach plate quickly (for example a diversion), that might be an issue. If they say they use the unit for primary navigation (instead of the CDI), that might be an issue. If they can't show that the data (chart) is current, that might be an issue.
I have NOT been failing the EFB/iPad during check rides, however I may ask what the back up plan is if the unit fails. It's interesting to note the iPad has no FAA approval as an EFB. That doesn't mean its use is prohibited under part 91.
Word of warning on all this...........Other DPEs may feel differently.