Delta Pilots Given iPads As ‘Electronic Flight Bags’

Delta Pilots Given iPads As ‘Electronic Flight Bags’

Following the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration’s decision to allow airlines to use tablets as electronic flight bags, Delta has become the first airline to issue iPads to its pilots for in-flight access to equipment manuals, flight charts, and Wi-Fi.

The roll-out will begin with 22 pilots initially, who will replace their heavy flight bags, typically weighing around 40 pounds, with Apple’s 1.6 pound tablet. According to TechCrunch, Delta hopes that the device will make for stronger communications between the flight and ground crews by pushing up-to-the minute information to flights from the control center — leaving the flight crew to focus on changes in flight path, weather, and emergencies.

The devices have been pre-installed with a number of specialist apps, from Jeppesen flight charts to rest period calculators, but pilots will also be able to customize the device themselves. Delta’s senior vice president, Steve Dickson, says pilots can “download additional apps that customize the product and lend to Delta’s capabilities.” Though I don’t think that would include the latest Angry Birds release.

And don’t think these pilots get any special treatment just because they’re flying the plane: the iPads are only to be used pre-flight and when the plane is above 10,000 feet.

In September, the iPads will be taken away and replaced with Motorola’s XOOM tablet — which will also be replaced by a third device, which is yet to be decided, after an evaluation period. This will ensure Delta can later employee the tablet most suitable to its pilots.

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  • arphaus

    So…. will they have to turn their iPads off during take-off?

    Likely not, but I suspect that passengers will still have to turn them off.

  • arphaus

    So…. will they have to turn their iPads off during take-off?Likely not, but I suspect that passengers will still have to turn them off.

  • Matt

    The 10,000 rule for pilots isn’t really because of electronics. It’s because when the aircraft is below 10,000, it’s considered a critical phase of flight and as such requires a “sterile” cockpit. 

  • Chris

    poor pilots…they’re forced to use the xoom tablet

  • Jdsonice

    Why are they wasting their time on Xoom and other crap?

  • LolaMiller1205

    I just païd $21.87 for an ïPad 2 – 64 G.B and my boyfrîend loves his Pänasoniic Lumíx GF 1 Camera that we got for $38.76 there arriving tomorrow by U P S.I will never pay such expensive retail prices in stores again. Especially when I also sold a 40 inch L.E.D T.V to my boss for $657 which only cost me $62.81 to buy.
    Here is the we bsite we use to get it all from, http://bit.ly/AuctionPenny

  • knock knock

    is it me or does that cockpit look extremely dated?

  • Captain Fargon

    No, they’re glass screens on the dash, so they’re pretty up-to-date (circular dials are a quick giveaway to aging birds with older flight instruments or avionic suites)… 

    The beige cockpit is probably putting you off and that seat is getting a bit old. Those seats, especially their wool covers, get somewhat flat and manky after years of people sitting and sweating on them.

    When you’ve been there for hours on a longhaul, with the sun beating in from the outside, it can get a tad sweaty in there. You can get a nice breeze going on your face, but can’t do much for your back. 
    Real nice if its a QTA and you’re next in the ‘hot’ seat :)

  • lals83
  • John

    It was a pun. You have to be able to see them below 10,000 feet. That is the purpose of the device. Charts.

  • Karl Yeager

    Find an iPad that has an internal barometer to assist and verify altitude reading and I’ll agree…

About the author

Killian BellKillian Bell is a staff writer based in the U.K. He has an interest in all things tech and also covers Android over at CultofAndroid.com. You can follow him on Twitter via @killianbell.

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