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Are flight maps no longer kept on a shelf in the cockpit as a back up in case the iPads malfunction? One story that I managed to research highlighted that this was under debate to rely only on a tablet. For such important documentation, am I to understand that this is due to each airline's discretion?

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    $\begingroup$ I always carry a back up in unfamiliar areas, but between the iPad and the GPS, I'm not too worried about getting lost. $\endgroup$ – Ron Beyer Nov 6 at 12:13
  • $\begingroup$ We took a trip cross-country a few years ago (2004ish), Boston area to southern California and back, across the northern US going out & across the southern US, up the east coast coming back. Needed large quantity of VFR sectionals & IFR charts, DVD of FAA approach plates, 12" laptop & thermal printer. Now, iPad & Foreflight is not the only option. I have iPad w/ Avidyne IFD100 s/w, has the same Jeppesen database as my panel mounted IFR certified Avidyne IFD540 (GPS/Nav/Com) and can show me all the same stuff - moving map, approach charts, airport information, radio frequencies. $\endgroup$ – CrossRoads Nov 6 at 14:45
  • $\begingroup$ I also have IFD Trainer s/w on the same iPad, can practice a flight ahead of time, entering the route, selecting the approach, flying it (or letting the autopilot fly it) and see how it will transition, what inputs might be needed along the way, etc. Before that, it was only staring at the paper and looking at what waypoints I was going to need to use. $\endgroup$ – CrossRoads Nov 6 at 14:49
  • $\begingroup$ @RonBeyer is "getting lost" at the same concern level as "not having approach frequency" or other critical landing data? $\endgroup$ – FreeMan Nov 6 at 14:56
  • $\begingroup$ Primarily using a tablet (whatever the manufacturer) for navigation does not prevent you from having a fallback tool (paper chart, another GPS receiver,...). Redundancy is your friend for improving reliability. $\endgroup$ – Manu H Nov 6 at 15:00
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Electronic flight bags are plenty reliable. I carry a primary and spare iPad mini on long-distance flights, in addition to my iPhone, all of which are loaded with ForeFlight. I also carry a USB cable and car cigarette lighter adapter with me so I can power the tablets while in flight. I reason that the risk of a failure of both iPads combined was a failure of my iPhone is so low that it’s not even worth worrying about.

Keep in mind paper charts carry their own risks with them. They’re bulky and take up a lot of space. You can forget to pack the right ones, flashlights can run out of power making them useless in the cockpit at night, etc.

Airlines are going to have their own SOP’s for what shorts and other navigation aids are available to their flight crews, but by and large most airlines are going over to EFBs, in fact beginning to issue them to their pilots, primarily due to the reduction in weight and other costs associated with traditional printed charts and other resources.

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    $\begingroup$ Do you worry/check that ForeFlight itself might have any common-mode failures like failed pushed updates, time-based failures (hey, guess what happens when daylight-savings switchover happens on 31st of a month!), etc? (I should add that I've never seen the app, so this may be ridiculous). $\endgroup$ – Dannie Nov 6 at 13:17
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    $\begingroup$ I check all that stuff the night before. It’s part of my preflight preparation, which includes making sure I have the latest charts and they’re up-to-date, checking the iPads for any software updates for the operating system, or new versions of ForeFlight in the App Store ready to go. That’s done along with things like charging up a handheld radio and flashlight, etc. $\endgroup$ – Carlo Felicione Nov 6 at 14:10
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    $\begingroup$ Given your devices are from the same manufacturer, common failure mode is a possibility you may take into account. I don't think the software and hardware are aviation-rated so having different software and more diverse hardware may help improve reliability. $\endgroup$ – Manu H Nov 6 at 14:56
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    $\begingroup$ @ManuH but, it's Apple, they don't fail!!! /snark Your point is valid, but different models, especially ones built at different times are often built with different components and component batches, limiting the "common failure mode" concern. I do agree, though, that different brands of Android tablets/phones would go even further in alleviating the concern. Is there any EFB software for Android (he ponders, asking a whole new off-topic question)? $\endgroup$ – FreeMan Nov 6 at 15:00
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    $\begingroup$ What is the probability of that failure mode as compared with, say, forgetting to pack the right charts or having dead flashlight batteries? Paper ain’t foolproof, either, kids. $\endgroup$ – Carlo Felicione Nov 6 at 15:34