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  1. Michael Essany's Avatar


    Apple's iPad has taken another gigantic step into bold new territory - the cockpit of your nearest airliner. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has approved the touchscreen tablet to serve as an electronic flight bag, effectively replacing the old pile of papers that would accompany the pilot into the friendly skies.

    According to the FAA, the featherweight iPad will take the place of nearly forty pounds - yes, forty pounds - of papers. What's in the bag, you ask? For starters, there's the aircraft’s operating manual, safety checklists, logbooks for entering airplane performance data, navigation charts, weather information, airport diagrams and more. All those documents will now be compressed and neatly compiled within apps and other digital documents that can be accessed instantly and with little fuss. The only downside, of course, is that an actual pile of papers can't go dead because their battery isn't charged. Then again, I've never seen anyone jailbreak a stack of paper, so you have to take the good with the bad.

    News of the approval hasn't come as a shock to many, however. The Federal Aviation Administration had previously sanctioned a small number of commercial and charter carriers to use the iPad as an electronic flight bag. “The iPad allows pilots to quickly and nimbly access information,” said Jim Freeman, a pilot and director of flight standards at Alaska Airlines. “When you need to a make a decision in the cockpit, three to four minutes fumbling with paper is an eternity.”

    In addition to making flights safer, iPads as flight bags will also make pilots healthier - or at least a little less sore. According to the New York Times, the transition to the iPad is expected to reduce health care costs related to shoulder and back injuries caused or worsened by heavy flight bags. “Cockpits are small, and lifting that thing up and over your seat causes damage, particularly when you consider a lot of pilots are over 40,” says David Clark, pilot and manager of the connected aircraft program at American Airlines.

    Source: New York Times
    2011-07-06 05:57 AM
  2. farfromovin's Avatar
    Reduced health care for pilots should equal cheaper tickets for me... I'm holding my breath.
    2011-07-06 06:51 AM
  3. NakedFaerie's Avatar
    Does this mean you can use the iPad on the plane? I thought they didn't like any electronic devices turned on.
    If the pilots can have them then there is no reason the passangers cant
    2011-07-06 02:04 PM
  4. Brr's Avatar
    Does this mean you can use the iPad on the plane? I thought they didn't like any electronic devices turned on.
    If the pilots can have them then there is no reason the passangers cant
    Yeah. Like a phone or iPad could ever really bring down a plane. That's government for you.
    2011-07-06 02:20 PM
  5. phoenix3200's Avatar
    Reduced health care for pilots should equal cheaper tickets for me... I'm holding my breath.
    Pilots get paid jack sh** these days. A regional airline pilot won't earn more than $30k, and it takes years of experience (and loads of money) to get to the big leagues.

    Yeah. Like a phone or iPad could ever really bring down a plane. That's government for you.
    The FAA takes a conservative stance with respect to most technology. If there is a 1 in 1 million chance for something to go wrong, the FAA will create a rule around that. In general, it's more the FCC (and the cell phone companies) that don't like you using your cell on a flight, because your phone is trying to contact more than one tower while airborne.

    Oh, and in closing, an iDevice (I use my iPhone b/c I don't have a 3G iPad) in the cockpit is effing incredible. All the pilots I know have been using them for a while.
    Last edited by phoenix3200; 2011-07-06 at 04:41 PM.
    2011-07-06 04:38 PM
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