iPads Approved for Use in Cockpits

That’s right. As of Dec. 15, 2011, the FAA approved pilots to use iPads to replace the paper-based flight bag on American Airlines. While some joke about the possibility of pilots playing Angry Birds or updating Facebook, nearly three weeks later, we haven’t heard of any dire consequences.

The iPad is replacing paper navigational charts and manuals for the operation of the aircraft. Weighing in at 38 pounds and 12,000 sheets of paper, the flight bag is a hefty item for pilots to tote around. However, the iPad only weighs 1.5 pounds. It seems like it would much easier to find answers in an intuitive iPad app rather than rifling through 12,000 sheets of paper.

American Airlines has additional plans in mind for the tablets. Flight attendants and pilots will also use the iPads in emergency situations to communicate with professionals on the ground through the InFlight911 Services.

Less paper, less weight, quicker access to manuals, better communication with the ground — iPads on planes seem like an obvious innovation. Perhaps the naysayers are just jealous that they still have to use their iPads in airplane mode during a flight?

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