Can I use my iPad on my Private, Instrument, Commercial or ATP check ride?
In my opinion, yes use what you plan to use in real flying conditions. However, there may be Tasks on your check ride that could prohibit the use of the iPad. For example, Pilotage and dead reckoning. If your iPad has the GPS functioning, a scenario may crop up that may make the iPad inop.
iPads do fail! Recently, one applicant’s iPad overheated on his instrument check ride. Fortunately, he had paper FAA plates for a back up. Personally, I’ve had my iPad quit 3 times. One of those times was on short final at night where it went to a bright screen. Talk about destroying my night vision.
So the lessons here are don’t become totally reliant on the iPad and always have a backup.
Can I use Fore Flight or any other computer software to plan my cross-country?
Again, in my opinion, Yes! I will ask if the computerized flight plan is correct and how do you know. This is an excellent time to show me how you can plot a course and apply winds aloft to come up with time in route and fuel burn.
On a recent private pilot check ride the applicant planned his cross-country from JVL to ONA, which should have been about a 271-degree course. The applicants’ flight plan log had a heading of 010 on it. Remember computers will calculate what you put in. If you input an error (like mixing up EFT with FET) the computer will plot something you wouldn’t expect. Garbage in equals Garbage out!
Some flight planning Apps will not put in the winds aloft in certain conditions. You might want to know when that could happen!
Note! Not all Pilot Examiners or FAA inspectors may agree with my opinions, so check before you show up for your ride. The FAA may come out with an official policy regarding the use of these items and it may make my opinion obsolete.