Delta Air Lines, Alaska Airlines Testing iPad as “In-Cockpit” Flight Tool

A few weeks ago, we told you about how the FAA authorized the iPad for in-flight use by private jet charter Executive Jet Management. The breaking news allowed the private charter company to start using Jeppesen’s Mobile TC iPad app.

As expected, following the FAA authorization other major airlines have started to seriously consider the use of the iPad as part of commercial flight cockpits.

In case you’re wondering, FAA’s approval of the iPad offers pilots the option of using Apple’s tablet for pre-flight and in-flight course charting, which is a process that have mostly used paper maps for a lot of years.

We’ve also seen how the folks at SportAir USA refurbished a 1930 Piper Cub (called the iCub), and started using an iPad as the glass panel display in front of the pilot. SportAir USA has even gone far enough to install an iMonitor EMS system in the new Savage iCub bush plane, which accepts engine performance information from engine sensors and transmits each line of data through an on board wireless system to any iPad or iPhone running the TruTrak iMonitor software.

The FAA’s iPad approval, and examples like SportAir, have opened new possibilities for Apple’s tablet. According to Bloomberg, the iPad’s approval “is a step that may speed the end of the decades-old tradition of paper maps in the cockpit.” This is certainly in-line with Apple’s strategy to infiltrate the enterprise segment. It seems that the iPad is becoming an useful tool in the air carrier industry.

Now, you have Delta Airlines and Alaska Airlines already testing the iPad for in-flight use. Alaska Airlines spokeswoman, Marianne Lindsey, has confirmed that their pilots are already testing the Apple device for in-flight use. Delta Air Lines is planning to begin testing iPads “and other tablet devices” next quarter, according to spokeswoman Gina Laughlin.

Even though the majority of airlines are still vastly paper driven during pre-flight and in-flight planning, we will most likely see a shift in the aviation business very soon. The iPad has certainly gained big ground in the aviation business, and other tablets will certainly infiltrate this market as well.

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About Roberto: A blogger with a passion for applications, gadgets, new technologies, and everything new in this ever-changing technological world. Contact me via Twitter: @PG_Roberto

  • Wilson Pepper

    Alaska Airlines is not the first airline to do this.  Neither is Delta.  American Airlines has had FAA approval to use iPads instead of paper since June 2010.  They have flown thousands of flight hours with iPads instead of paper.

    contact Ms. Renee.Hair@aa.com for more information.

    • Anonymous

      We never stated or implied that Delta Airlines or Alaskan Airlines were the first to go paperless. They simply represent two American carriers that have made public announcements about their iPad plans.

      Based on a quick search of their press site, American Airlines has not made any public comments about iPad usage by pilots in the cockpit.

  • Wilson Pepper

    Roberto, you should correct your story to make it more accurate, see comments above !