iPads in the Cockpit

iPads have pretty much swept the skies. Sure, other tablets are working on apps and usability, but right now, most pilots choose to use iPads in their cockpits. And with good reason. iPads are known for being intuitive, and that is just as true in the skies as it is in the airport bar.

iPads offer serious advantages to pilots:

  • The FAA requires maps to be updated every 28 days; this is much faster with an iPad.
  • The mandatory flight bag containing paper maps and charts weighs 45 pounds; an iPad weighs 1.44 pounds.
  • Pilots have instant access to current, local weather and gate information as well as the flight data.

There are benefits for airlines and owners, too. After United Airlines adopted iPads in the cockpit, it saved 16 million sheets of paper a year and 326,000 gallons of fuel.

Flight students can get in on the goodness, too. If they’re in the U.S. Air Force, they will get on-the-job training: The USAF has purchased some 18,000 iPads to replace 200 pounds of paper on each flight in a six-month test of the technology.  Additionally, students should use FlightLink to record the audio of their lessons.

Yay, innovation! Of course, there are some concerns about adopting Electronic Flight Bag systems, mainly involving complying with FAA regulations. The agency just released an updated Advisory Circular about EFBs in June. Make sure you stay up to date.

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