updated 04:10 pm EST, Tue December 13, 2011
FAA could allow iPads for all crews on Friday
An apparent leak on Tuesday maintained that the FAA has already approved the iPad for all purposes. The ZDNet tip had American Airlines being the first whose cockpits would use iPads at every stage of the flight, not just logbooks. The first flight would come on Boeing 777 aircraft, where Apple's tablet would also handle charting and flight manuals.
The airline would start its first commercial flights as of Friday after having run a test program for six months. Other aircraft will follow along with other airlines likely to come in the near future.
United Airlines had technically been ahead of American in adding chart support, but the new step would eliminate the final barrier and let airlines replace the entire paper library.
Along with providing a more advanced approach to the charts and guides themselves, iPad use promises to improve the crew's well-being by eliminating as much as 35 pounds of weight. It also provides small but accumulative savings in fuel, estimated to be about $1.2 million depending on the carrier, by lightening the weight of the airplane.
On American, the iPads would provide a degree of irony. While Samsung supplies the Galaxy Tab 10.1 for luxury cabins, the pilots in control of the flight could soon be using Samsung's rival.