Apple Claims The Friendly Skies as iPads Get FAA Authorization As Electronic Flight Bag
Apple's iPad has taken another gigantic step into bold new territory - the cockpit of your nearest airliner. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has approved the touchscreen tablet to serve as an electronic flight bag, effectively replacing the old pile of papers that would accompany the pilot into the friendly skies.
According to the FAA, the featherweight iPad will take the place of nearly forty pounds - yes, forty pounds - of papers. What's in the bag, you ask? For starters, there's the aircraft’s operating manual, safety checklists, logbooks for entering airplane performance data, navigation charts, weather information, airport diagrams and more. All those documents will now be compressed and neatly compiled within apps and other digital documents that can be accessed instantly and with little fuss. The only downside, of course, is that an actual pile of papers can't go dead because their battery isn't charged. Then again, I've never seen anyone jailbreak a stack of paper, so you have to take the good with the bad.
News of the approval hasn't come as a shock to many, however. The Federal Aviation Administration had previously sanctioned a small number of commercial and charter carriers to use the iPad as an electronic flight bag. “The iPad allows pilots to quickly and nimbly access information,” said Jim Freeman, a pilot and director of flight standards at Alaska Airlines. “When you need to a make a decision in the cockpit, three to four minutes fumbling with paper is an eternity.”
In addition to making flights safer, iPads as flight bags will also make pilots healthier - or at least a little less sore. According to the New York Times, the transition to the iPad is expected to reduce health care costs related to shoulder and back injuries caused or worsened by heavy flight bags. “Cockpits are small, and lifting that thing up and over your seat causes damage, particularly when you consider a lot of pilots are over 40,” says David Clark, pilot and manager of the connected aircraft program at American Airlines.
Source: New York Times