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FAA said to have cleared iPad for whole flights

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.

United cabin shown



By Electronista Staff
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Comments

  1. twistsol

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Apr 2004

    +17

    FAA

    So an iPad in the cockpit doesn't interfere with communications and navigation but it does if it is in the passenger cabin?

  1. chas_m

    Moderator

    Joined: Aug 2001

    +3

    It depends

    On whether you're playing Words With Friends on it instead of flying the plane or not.

  1. jameshays

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Mar 2003

    +1

    comment title

    It's not specifically an FAA Regulation to ban electronic devices in the aircraft.
    http://www.faa.gov/documentLibrary/media/Advisory_Circular/AC%2091.21-1B.pdf

    This actually stems from when Aircraft more readily used omnidirectional navaids. These are still in use today, but not nearly as much with the more common use of GPS. Still, some electronic devices can and will cause trouble with aircraft systems. Most cell phones and consumer electronics will not, however. The ban on Electronic devices is more of a CYA for the airlines. If everybody shuts things down, they don't have to wonder what it running. Above 10,000 ft, there's enough safety margin to isolate and resolve any interferences coming from the cabin.

    There's also been a lot of discussion regarding pilots being distracted by using the iPad. If a pilot is acting in a professional manner, this won't happen. If it does, fire them and hire somebody who wants there job. The iPad in the cockpit is an incredible resource saver. You'd be amazed how much time is spent flipping through charts finding correct information. I use the iPad on every GA flight and thoroughly enjoy having all that information at my fingertips. Information that before would have to be gathered either sifting through charts or maneuvering through pages on the Garmin 430 when my eyes should be outside the cockpit.

  1. bluejammm

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Jul 2006

    +2

    iPad could not interfere with avionics

    I am a sr flight line technician on MD11's and Airbus A300 aircraft. I would like to know of ANY electronic devise that can mess with aircraft avionics. To my knowledge, it has never been proven to conflict. One good reason to keep electronics off during takeoff and landing is that is the usual occurence for "accidents" and passengers should be as alert as possible.
    My hope is to see the iPad used by maintenance for mobile maintenance manuals and Minimum Equipment List reference, which would help streamline our job.

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