iPad in the Cockpit: FAA Gives a Go for Large Airlines

FAAThe FAA has given their final approval for iPads to be used in the cockpits of American Airlines aircraft during all phases of flight. Using iPads as electronic chart and digital flight manual readers means increased safety and efficiency on the flight deck.

The existing paper manuals and charts weigh in around 35 pounds, so with an iPad being closer to 1.2 pounds there will be a significant savings not only in the shoulder strain of the pilots who need to cart those things around but will result in an estimated $1.2 million dollars less fuel per year as well!

American Airlines will begin the transition by replacing existing materials with iPads on all B-777 aircraft. This will then systematically extend to all of their other fleets.

Using digital readers makes good sense. Not only can they be indexed allowing for quick information location and retrieval, they can also be updated much easier and are not as cumbersome as large binders and loose papers. (not to mention the benefit for the environment with so much less paper and fuel being consumed)

To receive full FAA approval, American Airlines conducted a 6 month test that included thousands of hours evaluating the iPad as a replacement. Currently their approval extends to both the iPad 1 and iPad 2 models of the device.

Other airlines are currently testing and evaluating the iPad as well, though I suspect many are looking toward American Airlines as the guinea pigs allowing them to work out all of the bugs and kinks that are inevitable during a large-scale transition such as this.

It may be cheeky to ask this, but I can’t help myself. I’m wondering if you can use your iPad during takeoff and landing now that they have been deemed safe for use in all phases of flight? It seems a little silly that I need to keep mine off while the pilot is using his to help fly and guide the plane.

[via ZDNet]

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  • USAF Pilot

    Jillian,

    The reason passengers are required to stow their iPads and laptops has less to do with the misconception that it will interfere with the aircraft controls and more to do with the fact that these devices become projectiles in the cabin during a sudden stop like an abort or heaven forbid a crash or impact. iPads will be used below 10,000′…that was the point of the 6 month evaluation and the point of getting rid of the paper approach plates. The flight computer has the approaches coded into the navigation database but the paper, now iPad, is how the pilots ensure the database is correctly coded by following along and watching for any erroneous deviations.

    • http://twitter.com/codeGoddess Jillian Halayka

      That does make perfect sense –and I do appreciate your comment very much.  I was mainly trying to give a bit of a ‘nudge nudge’ kind of smile to my post… I actually do wish that when we fly the crew would say something more to the effect of what you just posted.  The more formal equivalent of ‘hey, your cell phone isn’t going to cause a catastrophe, but if something were to happen we don’t want it to go flying into the head of the person in front of you’… I think passengers would respect and understand that a little more. :)

  • http://www.ipadinthecockpit.com/ Wsuflyboy

    well said usafpilot!!