American Airlines is the first commercial airline to be approved by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to replace the 35 lbs paper reference manuals with iPads. Pilots will use the iPad in “all phases of flight,” which will save American Airlines an estimated $1.2 million of fuel annually across all of it planes, based on current fuel prices.
The iPad is the only FAA-approved tablet to replace the paper manuals at this point. The airline is also reportedly working on a program to equip flight attendants with tablets so they can have better information about their passengers.
In a press release, Captain John Hale, American’s Vice President of Flight, had this to say:
[quote]This is a very exciting and important milestone for all of us at American Airlines as we work to modernize our processes and best meet the needs of our people. With this approval from the FAA, we will be able to use the iPad to fully realize the benefits of our Electronic Flight Bag program, including improving the work environment for our pilots, reducing out dependency on paper products and increasing fuel efficiency on our planes. We are equipping our people with the best resources and this will allow our pilots to fly more efficiently.[/quote]
The iPads in cockpits will use software by Jeppesen, which is used for gate-to-gate tracking throughout flights and in takeoff and landing. The iPad will make its debut this month in AA’s 777 fleet and will get approval for all types of fleet by the end of 2012. By 2013, revisions to the paper manuals will no longer be distributed. To ease into this transition throughout the whole company, every pilot and instructor will get their own iPad.
Maybe with pilots able to use iPads in all phases of flight, passengers will be allowed to use them too.