United Brings iPad to the Friendly Skies

| News

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.


Lee Dronick

Interesting point on the fuel savings. Also with an internet connection the flight crew can get updates.


Hopefully, pilots have a way to recharge their iPads on flights, long or short. Usually, pilots on short flights will fly 3-6 times that day, and perhaps more the next day. If both pilots must have an iPad, that’s a built-in backup plan, but they could also be using them for non-airline purposes (stock market, email, web browsing between flights, etc) and diminishing battery life.  It’s crucial they have the info that they used to carry in the manuals, particularly if they have to land at unscheduled places. We don’t want them going without, and discovering later that they didn’t know that radio tower or those power lines were in their path.

Lee Dronick

Hopefully, pilots have a way to recharge their iPads on flights, long or short.

I wonder if they will be supplied with a dock-charger-mount that could be used one handed. Or mount it on their thigh with one of the existing products like this one.

There are also battery pack iPad cases.

Lee Dronick

That aviator supply website to which I linked supra (Thanks that word Nemo) has a number of iPad mounts. See http://www.marvgolden.com/ipad-accessories/


The iPad Deck Mount is a great mount for the commercial airline cockpit.
Welcome to the efficient way to fly…


Didn’t someone here once say that the iPad was “declining and mostly irrelevant”?

Still cracks me up, especially when I read something like this.



Just heard San Francisco Giants announcer Duane Kuiper say that the Giants organization gave every player an iPad this season. And loaded on the iPads were videos of the At-bats each player had against right-handed pitching and the At-bats they took against left-handed pitching, so that each player could study himself.

This could be something other sports teams might also do. On the other hand, the Giants have been less than stellar at the plate this year—batting only .166 as a team with a runner in scoring position, and near the major league bottom in nearly every statistical offensive category—so maybe not.

I hope the pilots perform better with their iPads than the Giants have.


Great.  Just what we need—pilots with the capability of playing solitaire when they should be paying attention to their job!


Great.  Just what we need?pilots with the capability of playing solitaire when they should be paying attention to their job!

Not as worried about Solitaire (they can more easily put it down) - more worried about the very addictive Angry Birds.

“Flight 521, this is control. You are cleared for landing. Flight 521? Hello?!?!?”

“Dang pigs!! Take that!! Die, pigs, die!! Frick!! They just won’t die!! Got you!  Ha!!”

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