Several dozen American Airlines flights were delayed overnight, after the pilots’ iPads — used for providing information to flight crews — failed prior to takeoff, leaving pilots without a flight plan.
— Bill Jacaruso (@bjacaruso) April 29, 2015
— pmcrell (@pmcrell) April 29, 2015
“The pilot came on and said that his first mate’s iPad powered down unexpectedly, and his had too, and that the entire 737 fleet on American had experienced the same behavior,” one passenger has been quoted as saying. “It seemed unprecedented and very unfamiliar to the pilots.”
American Airlines switched to giving pilots an iPad “electronic flight back” back in 2013, becoming the first major commercial carrier to do so in the process.
The move was attributed to time-saving measures, reducing pilots’ injuries from lugging around heavy flight backs containing the books, and (apparently) also fuel costs — with the decreased weight reportedly saving more than $1 million in fuel costs every year.
It’s not necessarily Apple’s fault, though, and chances are that it isn’t. The software and data used on the in-flight iPads is provided by Jeppesen, a unit of Boeing Digital Aviation, as opposed to any standard-issue fare.