I know it's a bit odd, but I like using my TI-89 graphing calculator in addition to an E6B when doing calculations. It helps me avoid dumb arithmetic errors.

I read the section "Use of Test Aids and Materials" of Recreational Pilot and Private Pilot Knowledge Test Guide (FAA-G_8082-17). It seems to meet all of the requirements except (d), which I don't really understand:

The use of magnetic cards, magnetic tapes, modules, computer chips, or any other device upon which pre-written programs or information related to the test can be stored and retrieved is prohibited.

Does anyone have a definitive answer on whether these types of calculators are permitted?


1 Answer 1


The document you cite actually goes on to explain what the procedure is for calculators, and when testing centers can prevent you from using your own (you'll be provided a loaner):

  1. Testing centers may provide a calculator to you and/or deny use of your personal calculator based on the following limitations:

a. Prior to, and upon completion of the test, while in the presence of the Unit Member (formerly referred to as proctor), you must actuate the ON/OFF switch and perform any other function that ensures erasure of any data stored in memory circuits.

b. The use of electronic calculators incorporating permanent or continuous type memory circuits without erasure capability is prohibited. The Unit Member may refuse the use of your calculator when unable to determine the calculator’s erasure capability.


Basically, you can bring a graphing calculator and wipe it, but unless the center is able to confirm that you've removed all stored memory, they're probably just gonna say "nah" and hand you a basic calculator. There's a pretty good chance that your graphing calculator falls under the "permanent or continuous type memory circuits" category anyway.

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Haha, I was about to quote the same part along with the excerpt from the intro paragraph just above it that says "All models of aviation-oriented calculators may be used, including small electronic calculators that perform only arithmetic functions"... :) $\endgroup$
    – Lnafziger
    Jan 9, 2014 at 2:24
  • $\begingroup$ Got it. I guess I can try bringing it, but might get stuck with something else. Thanks! $\endgroup$
    – John
    Jan 9, 2014 at 2:26
  • $\begingroup$ @Lnafziger yeah, I figured this is the key bit. :) $\endgroup$
    – egid
    Jan 9, 2014 at 2:27
  • $\begingroup$ Yeah, either one answered it so I figured that I would include both. Not really needed though! $\endgroup$
    – Lnafziger
    Jan 9, 2014 at 2:28
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @John As I recall the CATS software has a calculator (four-function add/subtract/multiply/divide) built in and available. You could bring a simple 4-function calculator with you too. $\endgroup$
    – voretaq7
    Jan 9, 2014 at 3:11

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