updated 12:00 pm EST, Mon March 7, 2011
First major carrier to join
While Delta Air Lines is "still vastly paper driven" when it comes to navigational charts, the company is seeking approval to test the iPad and other tablets beginning next quarter, according to spokeswoman Gina Laughlin. The Federal Aviation Administration only recently approved the use of the iPad instead of paper charts or electronic flight bags (EFBs). Although EFBs may offer some of the advantages of tablets, they can weigh as much as 18 pounds versus the iPad 1's 1.5 or the iPad 2's 1.3.
Delta may be poised to become the first major airline to adopt tablets for its pilots. The only authorized airline to date is Executive Jet, and the only other one testing the iPad is Alaska Airlines, which has 116 planes. Delta, by contrast, is the second-largest carrier in the world.
The Executive Jet iPads have so far been equipped with an app called Jeppesen Mobile TC. A concern with such tablets is the potential of either an app or an OS to crash, but the combination of Jeppesen and iOS is said to have gone without failure during testing. If a crash does occur, it's reportedly possible to resume a previous state within 4 to 6 seconds.