USAF awards 9.36m contract for iPads
Despite talk that it had cancelled the deal, the US Air Force on Friday pledged itself to a contract to buy up to 18,000 iPads. Air Mobility Command has agreed to a $9.36 million pact that will see Executive Technology give C-5, C-17, C-130, KC-10, and KC-135 crews 32GB Wi-Fi iPads to use as replacements for their paper flight manuals and similar guides. Apple is supplying a volume discount that shaves the price down by $79 to $520.
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.
United swaps pilot manuals, charts for iPads
United Airlines and its soon-to-be-joined partner Continental staked out a first for flight by making itself the first major carrier in the US to completely drop paper among its 11,000 pilots by using the iPad. Along with shedding paper flight manuals, it's now the first of its size to replace its charts with the Apple tablet as well. Each iPad will carry Jeppesen Mobile FliteDeck (free, App Store) to provide worldwide maps in context.
Gogo, seven airlines give free in-flight Facebook
Seven major airlines have teamed up with Gogo Inflight Internet to provide free access to Facebook during flights. Accessing other pages on the web, however, requires payment, ranging between $5 for short flights or $13 for long ones. Facebook is the most popular place visited on the Gogo network and is being used as a promo to drive adoption of in-air Internet use.
United Wi-Fi starts with 13 planes
United Airlines this week began deploying Wi-Fi on some of its flights. The rollout will at first cover longer flights between California and New York and should have 13 Boeing 757 planes in United's fleet offering Internet access by mid-November. Much as with similar approaches from Virgin and other airlines, the new approach is based on Aircell's Gogo technology and shares a 3G cellular connection (typically EVDO Revision A) with the entire cabin over a Wi-Fi hotspot in the plane itself.
Wi-Fi access on planes
AirTran Airways in collaboration with Gogo has announced it will be the first airline to provide Wi-Fi access on all its airplanes. By registering with Gogo, users can purchase a session of internet time that enables them to use most non-voice Internet features on a given trip. Prices for the in-flight internet sessions are based on what type of device the user brings with them, and for how long they will be on the flight.
United in-flight Internet
United Airlines will bring in-flight Internet access to a portion of its planes later this year, according to an announcement. The company has specifically chosen AirCell's gogo service, which has already been attached to companies like Delta, American Airlines and Virgin America. Passengers will be able to connect via any Wi-Fi device, and access conventional Internet functions such as e-mail and web browsing, or more elaborate ones like VPN tunneling.