United Brings iPad to the Friendly Skies

United Airlines began transitioning its pilots from traditional paper flight manuals and charts to iPads on Tuesday, cutting down on bulk and weight, and potentially improving cockpit safety. 11,000 pilots are receiving the iPads as part of the airline’s new paperless cockpit program.

United expects the the change will save about 326,000 gallons of fuel a year because of the reduced weight, and will save some 16 million sheets of paper. The airline also sees the change as a good safety move since pilots will be able to quickly find the information they need instead of sifting through multiple books.

“The introduction of iPads ensures our pilots have essential and real-time information at their fingertips at all times throughout the flight,” commented United senior vice president of flight operations Fred Abbott.

Delta recently began testing iPads as replacements for pilot flight bags, too. Like United, Delta sees the electronic kits as a way to improve efficiency and safety. Delta, however, is still in an early testing phase with plans to try out other tablets, too.