Using an iPad on a plane during takeoff is one of the biggest sins in the galaxy. Just ask Alec Baldwin. There hasn’t been much proof that it’s bad, but no one wants to test fate. The Federal Avaiation Administration is finally starting to relax on their electronics rules though.
American Airlines just became the first commercial carrier to get FAA approval to kit their pilots’ flight bags with iPads, and they get to use them in “all phases of flight.” I bet the pilots are stoked that they get play Angry Birds In Space during takeoff.
American Airlines’s pilots will be using the iPad to replace their 35-lbs reference manuals. The switch to digital will save the company an estimated $1.2M of fuel across all of its planes annually because of the weight differential. Plus, they don’t have to go kill some trees to make their big flight books anymore.
“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,” said Captain John Hale, American’s Vice President of Flight. “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. We are equipping our people with the best resources and this will allow our pilots to fly more efficiently.”
The adoption of iPads is set to roll out this month, and distribution of all paper manuals will cease in 2013. American Airlines is also working on a program to get iPads in the hands of flight attendants so they have better information about passengers.
Hopefully the FAA will eventually approve iPad use in “all phases of flight” for passengers pretty soon too, because I really want to start trash talking my pilot over a mad game of Hero Academy.