FAA Authorizes iPad as Flight Manual Replacement

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iPad 2
The Federal Aviation Administration has authorized the use of Apple’s iPad as a replacement for what’s called the Flight Bag, a 40 pound collection of flight manuals, logs, checklists, and other assorted paperwork that pilots must have with them in the cockpit of commercial flights.

The New York Times reported that the FAA has authorized a “a handful of commercial and charter carriers” to use Apple’s media tablet in lieu of the printed materials, ejecting as much as 38.5 pounds in the process.

“The iPad allows pilots to quickly and nimbly access information,” Jim Freeman, a pilot and director of flight standards at Alaska Airlines, told The Times. “When you need to a make a decision in the cockpit, three to four minutes fumbling with paper is an eternity.”

Alaska Airlines received permission back in May to begin the iPad replacement program, and the FAA has since approved other airlines, too. The airlines even calls its effort Operation Bye, Bye, Flight Bag, and hopes to receive permission to replace other printed materials, including aeronautical charts in the future.

In order to consider approval, the FAA requires airline to submit its own, “unique proposal on how they want to use the iPad and prove that both the device and software application are safe and effective for that proposed use,” according to John W. McGraw, the FAA’s deputy director of flight standards.

In addition to saving weight, which saves fuel, accessing material on the iPad is quicker and easier than doing so in reams and reams of paper. Documents can be searchable, hyperlinks can be used to take pilots directly to where they need to go, and of course everything can be in living color.

There are possible health benefits, too, as some airlines anticipate being able to reduce absenteeism from stress injuries related to hauling around all these documents for each and every flight.

“I don’t remember a time when one product seemed to get so much buzz and acceptance,” Ian Twombly, spokesman for the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association, told The Times. “Many pilots approach new toys with skepticism, and the iPad seems to be almost universally appreciated as a cockpit device.”

Believe it or not, they’re able to do all this without Flash, too.

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15 Comments Leave Your Own

furbies

Let’s hope the Pilots remember to keep their iPad(s) charged.

And what happens if the plane flies through a electrical storm severe enough to generate an EMP, and then the pilots need their iPads ?
(I assume an electrical storm can generate an EMP)

Helge

And what happens if the plane flies through a electrical storm severe enough to generate an EMP, and then the pilots need their iPads ?

I think if you hit a thunderstorm to disable an iPad inside an aircraft the the plane would be in a condition where approach charts are not essential any more wink

Tiger

Please remember to keep your iPad in Airline Mode while flying. Thank you.

Lee Dronick

And what happens if the plane flies through a electrical storm severe enough to generate an EMP, and then the pilots need their iPads ?

I don’t think that lightning can generate an EMP like that. You don’t need a nuke to do it, but I don’t think that it happens with lightning. However, it does sound sound a good story for one of those cheesy movies I like to watch on the Syfy Channel.

Mega Pulse!

A rogue drone aircraft is systematically destroying electronics around the world with a mega EMP. They only way to stop is to deploy classic fighter planes equipped with the original vacuum tube avionics.

Starring

Nancy Grace as President Pitt-Buhle
Larry the Cable Guy as Major Kong III
Kim Kardashian as the Scientist
Perry King as the Museum Curator

Getting back on topic. As an AAPL investor this is good news for me.

Intruder

Having been struck by lightning a few times while flying (not as a passenger), I can say that I have never had any personal electronics damaged in the process. Airplanes are pretty much big, flying faraday cages.

@Sir Harry: Or just use almost any Soviet fighter. Surprising how long they went with using tubes in their equipment!

Lee Dronick

@Sir Harry: Or just use almost any Soviet fighter. Surprising how long they went with using tubes in their equipment!

When I was in the Navy they told us that the Soviets kept old tube technology on purpose because of the EMP considerations. There is a lot to be said for simplicity, for the ruggedness it can bring; Look at a Kalishnikcov with its few machined parts compared to a M16 that is more accurate, but can get fouled easier.

There is another thing about an iPad in an airplane cockpit. it a GPS backup that may not be super accurate, but it could get you over an airport if you are lost. Mount the iPad on a kneeboard

geoduck

This is for commercial cockpits. Private and ultralight pilots have been using them for a while, for example the iCub has been out for a few years and the iPad is the center of it’s instrument panel.

Lee Dronick

This is for commercial cockpits. Private and ultralight pilots have been using them for a while

I just took a look in the iTunes store and there are several dozen aviation apps.

geoduck

I just took a look in the iTunes store and there are several dozen aviation apps.

And places like Aircraft Spruce have dozens of mounts, kneeboards, and such for using an iPad in an airplane.

If I remember my FAA regs correctly, this probably only applies to the iPad, not anyone else’s tablet. When the FAA approves something for use in an aircraft they tend to be very specific. It probably means that they’ve tested the iPad. If some airline submits a proposal for using a Xoom or PlayBook I doubt it would get approved.

cb50dc

I’m just waiting for some prankster to load Microsoft’s “Flight Simulator” as the primary application. :D

mrmwebmax

+

Believe it or not, they?re able to do all this without Flash, too.

And without porn apps. And without openness. And without freedom from hyper-controlled, walled-garden, doomed-to-fail business models! Why, doesn’t the FAA know that, and day now (no, really! Any. Day. Now.), the iPad will be wiped off of the face of the Earth by the rising Android army of superior, open-open-open-nanny-nanny-boo-boo tablets! For lo, it hath been fortold, here within the hallowed halls of TMO. Again. And again. And again.

But really…any day now….

RonMacGuy

And without openness.

Hmm, can it be that the “closed” nature of the iPad makes it the perfect tool for specific applications like this one (Flight Bag replacement) as well as so many other situations, like hospitals, realtors, doctor offices, school, etc.?

Hmm.

mrmwebmax

+

Hmm, can it be that the ?closed? nature of the iPad makes it the perfect tool for specific applications like this one (Flight Bag replacement) as well as so many other situations, like hospitals, realtors, doctor offices, school, etc.?

Oh get real. When hundreds of lives are at stake at 30,000 feet, or a patient’s life at stake in the ER, the only thing that really matters is openness. smile

RonMacGuy

“Prepare to defibrillate. Charging. Clear. Oh wait, shoot, flash just crashed again, I need to reboot my Xoom (or exhume as mhikl would say), hey, did someone jailbreak this thing? What’s this, porn? Hee hee, that’s a good one. A virus too? Oh man, um, well, I guess we should just do CPR…”

“Doctor, the guy died 10 minutes ago. Get back to your angry birds…”

grin

mrmwebmax

+

Prepare to defibrillate. Charging. Clear. Oh wait, shoot, flash just crashed again….

Oh c’mon, what’s more important? Delivering consistent performance across consistent devices/interfaces, or delivering “the whole web”?

And porn, of course. We can’t forget porn. And Angry Birds without annoying ads. Oh crap, that’s just iOS, I think….

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