American Airlines is the first U.S. commercial airliner to win approval from the Federal Aviation Administration to replace its flight bags with iPads, which will save the company US$1.2 million annually in fuel. The airline began an FAA-approved test program with iPads at the end of last year, and now it has won approval for a full rollout is hoping to replace all of its 35 pound paper-based flight bags by the end of 2013.
FAA says American can use iPads as pilot flight bags
"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," American Airline's Vice President of Flight Captain John Hale said. "With this approval from the FAA, we will be able to use iPad to fully realize the benefits of our Electronic Flight Bag program, including improving the work environment for our pilots, reducing our dependency on paper products and increasing fuel efficiency on our planes."
Switching to iPads from traditional flight bags means pilots won't have to carry heavy bags loaded with maps, charts and procedural guides, and they'll get updated information automatically instead of having to replace pages by hand.
American is deploying the iPads first in its B-777 airplanes, and is hoping to start transitioning the rest of its fleet to the Apple's tablets by the end of the year.
So far, Apple's iPad is the only tablet device that's been approved by the FAA for in-cockpit use.