iPads in the Cockpit? Pilots Ditching Flight Manuals for Tablets

The Philadelphia Inquirer published an interesting piece about the increasing use of iPads by pilots in the cockpit, replacing several pounds worth of flight manuals and merging airplane navigation and the forefront of emerging technologies together.

Last month, American Airlines became the first carrier to get FAA approval to use the iPad during all phases of flight, from takeoff to landing, on Boeing 777 flights from Los Angeles to Tokyo and Shanghai.

In May, Alaska Airlines gave its 1,300 pilots iPads for use before takeoff, and above 10,000 feet – with a goal eventually for flight navigation.

The US Airways technology goes beyond the iPad to incorporate satellite-signal technology, called NextGen, designed to replace radar and overhaul the nation’s air-traffic navigation system by 2020.

Back in February, the FAA gave official approval to allow iPads to replace flight manuals in the cockpit, giving pilots a way to consolidate several pounds of flight manuals into a device that weights a little over a pound.

It’s not breaking news but it will be interesting to see where this all goes. Will the iPad become the go-to source for flight manuals for all airlines in the future? Will other tablets introduce similar solutions? We’ll have to wait and see but so far it’s a pretty fascinating start.


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