The iPad is an artist’s canvas, a way for coaches to track stats and draw up plays and a replacement for the cash register at the local coffee shop.
It has also earned its wings flying in the cockpits of passenger jets.
Singapore Airlines recently assigned its pilots iPads with two proprietary apps to track important data and reduce the pre-flight paperwork.
Not long after the iPad’s debut, airlines began giving its pilots iPads as a replacement for expensive and heavy flight manuals. Now more airlines, including British Airways, are developing apps to help pilots with some of the more tedious tasks.
With these apps, pilots watch weather conditions, track flying hours, stay abreast of visa-related issues and other administrative duties normally the stuff of cumbersome paperwork.
Aloysius Low, writing for CNET, visited the cockpit of a Singapore Airlines jet and talked to pilots and airline officials about incorporating the iPad into the workflow.
Pilots make use of two apps that sync to the airline’s back servers. With an app called Roster, pilots look at upcoming flights, track flying house (no more than 100 hours per month allowed) and receive notifications on when a visa could expire.
The other app, FlyNow, tracks fuel load, weather forecasts, and routing information.
“Pilots are creatures of habit, and if you don’t have a standard operating procedure, it can be hard for them to learn,” Capt. Raj Kumar told Low. “Piloting is step-based and very regimental.”