With apologies to Dr. Timothy Leary, an early adherent to the “mind expanding” capabilities of LSD, I had a slightly different experience at AOPA’s Indy Fly-In. It has nothing to do with mind-altering substances, so if that’s your interest—this ain’t it!
Had flown out to Indy in a C182, enamored with the mind-bending capabilities of the iPad, and was preparing to head home Sunday morning. The trusty iPad is now a core part of my flight planning and on-board supplemental information package. On power-up in the morning to check weather, a blue iTunes button and a white cord to connect to another computer was all that appeared on the screen. No manner of button pushing, secret incantations, or threats would make the beastie come alive.
A quick smart-phone consult revealed the dreaded “iTunes reset” was in order. The Pad had gone down hard and needed a transfusion from iTunes to unscramble its brain. I had no computer capable of said fix (which ultimately took about 25 minutes, not including complete chart downloads—you’re probably looking at about an hour for a full re-lobotomizing with charts).
Here’s the point: Without real old fashioned paper charts and approach books on board, the flight would have been significantly delayed while procuring the suitable data. It was a beautiful VFR day and one isn’t required to carry charts, but FAR 91.103 notes: Preflight action. Each pilot in command shall, before beginning a flight, become familiar with all available information concerning that flight…
So as long as I was able to stay out of complex airspace or any number of myriad hypothetical issues that only a Murphy’s Law addict could conjure up there was no need to use paper guidance—it could have worked. But let me see…ah…AOPA’s Pilot Protection Plan with legal services and a spare NASA ASRS form in the flight bag…just in case.
Here’s an excerpt from AC91-78, which may be more than you wanted to know—emphasis added:
“6. REMOVAL OF PAPER FROM THE COCKPIT FOR OPERATIONS UNDER PART 91.
a. EFBs/ECDs can be used during all phases of flight operations in lieu of paper reference material when the information displayed meets the following criteria:
(1) The components or systems onboard the aircraft which display precomposed or interactive information are the functional equivalent of the paper reference material.
(2) The interactive or precomposed information being used for navigation or performance planning is current, up-to-date, and valid.
NOTE: Supporting reference material such as legends, glossaries,
abbreviations, and other information is available to the pilot but is not
required in the cockpit during operation.
b. The in-flight use of an EFB/ECD in lieu of paper reference material is the decision of the aircraft operator and the pilot in command. Any Type A or Type B EFB application, as defined in AC 120-76A may be substituted for the paper equivalent. It requires no formal operational approval as long as the guidelines of this AC are followed.
c. It is suggested that a secondary or back up source of aeronautical information necessary for the flight be available to the pilot in the aircraft. The secondary or backup information may be either traditional paper-based material or displayed electronically.”
Most airlines and large jet operators still carry charts by my understanding, but some are migrating to Electronic Flight Bags—but no single Pad operations! The logic in that suddenly becomes crystal clear! Being a Luddite has its benefits!
You might enjoy this Pilot Safety Announcement we put together awhile back. Don’t misunderstand—we love the Pad and most of the time it works beautifully, but when it doesn’t, a backup is more than just a good idea.
Has anybody had any iPad problems? We’d love to hear!