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American Airlines sees Apple's iPad preventing pilot back injuries

post #1 of 51
Thread Starter 
By switching from heavy 40-pound flight bags to Apple's iPad, American Airlines expects to address a relatively common issue among commercial airline pilots: back injuries.

Patrick O'Keeffe, vice president of Airline Operations Technology at American Airlines, spoke this week at the TabTimes Tablet Strategy conference in New York, where he revealed that iPads will become available to all of his company's 8,600 pilots by the end of May.

American Airlines iPad use
Credit: American Airlines


"We've reduced the single biggest source of pilot injuries: carrying those packs," O'Keeffe said during his keynote presentation. "And we are now able to save $1 million in fuel costs and stop printing all the page revisions."

American Airlines first began using Apple's iPad during all phases of flight last year, and is the only carrier in the world with permission to do so. The iPad is currently the only tablet approved by the Federal Aviation Administration as an electronic flight bag.

Typical flight bags can weigh up to 40 pounds with thousands of pages of charts and manuals. By switching to the iPad and going digital, American Airlines will cut printing costs and make it easier for pilots to carry those charts.

While only the iPad is allowed for use as an electronic flight bag, American Airlines has also embraced devices running Google Android for other aspects of flight. The company has distributed 16,000 Samsung Galaxy Notes to its crew members, and flight attendants reportedly use the devices to manage data related to food service, seating, and up-to-date gate information.
post #2 of 51

Because of iPad or tablet device?

post #3 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chandra69 View Post

Because of iPad or tablet device?

Sure looks like an iPad to me. What's your point?
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post #4 of 51
Let's do the math.
8.6 x 10^3 iPads x $6.0 x 10^2 = $5.2M
Save $2M/year in fuel.
Save $M/year in disability costs.
Bingo!
post #5 of 51
So... the people charged with safely flying us and landing us, can't figure out how to carry a heavy object without hurting themselves?
post #6 of 51

 

Quote:digitalclips
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chandra69 View Post

Because of iPad or tablet device?

Sure looks like an iPad to me. What's your point?
 

 

The device shown is iPad. Everyone is sure about it. 

But, at a broader level, its the tablet device that replaced bunches and bunches of papers.  

post #7 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chandra69 View Post

But, at a broader level, its the tablet device that replaced bunches and bunches of papers.  


I suppose I can see you point, it's a bit like an Apple enthusiast in the 1990's complaining the term 'PC' was used in an article instead of 'computer' as there were about 4% Macs out there being ignored (this when we all knew a PC meant Wintel beige box).

However, given this is an Apple enthusiast's web site and given the article is about a possible sale of 8,600 iPads, using the name 'iPad' in the article seems OK to me 1smoking.gif.
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post #8 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by ascii View Post

So... the people charged with safely flying us and landing us, can't figure out how to carry a heavy object without hurting themselves?

40 lbs over time, is going to be an issue even if handled 'correctly'. Look at school kids who sometimes carry that much or an equally damaging amount for their weight 5 days a week.

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post #9 of 51

Two year payoff is pretty good, especially in this industry.  Also factor in the costs of printing and distributing the changes to those 8,600 pilots, and it's probably closer to a year payoff.  Those iPads probably will have a 3 year lifetime, possibly more.  They don't need constant updates.  As long as the hardware itself holds up, they'll still be able to do their job.

post #10 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by digitalclips View Post


I suppose I can see you point, it's a bit like an Apple enthusiast in the 1990's complaining the term 'PC' was used in an article instead of 'computer' as there were about 4% Macs out there being ignored (this when we all knew a PC meant Wintel beige box).

However, given this is an Apple enthusiast's web site and given the article is about a possible sale of 8,600 iPads, using the name 'iPad' in the article seems OK to me 1smoking.gif.

As an Apple fanboy Its ok to me too :)  and very much happy that iPad is in cockpit.  But, if they have adapted an android tablet, it would be the same case, their backpain would be gone. :) :)  

 

I think I failed to express what I think. 1mad.gif

post #11 of 51
Didn't Alaska Airlines and British Airways already start giving iPads to pilots? how can American Airlines claim to be the first airline when others already do it?
post #12 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chandra69 View Post

As an Apple fanboy Its ok to me too 1smile.gif  and very much happy that iPad is in cockpit.  But, if they have adapted an android tablet, it would be the same case, their backpain would be gone. 1smile.gif1smile.gif  

I think I failed to express what I think. 1mad.gif

I would actually be worried if there were Androids in the cockpit of a plane was a passenger on! 1biggrin.gif
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post #13 of 51
As a pilot that uses an iPad in the cockpit, I can say that AFAIK the only consumer tablet approved by the FAA is the iPad. There are dedicated Windows based EFB's (Electronic Flight Bags) available but I'm not aware of any android tablet.

American is definitely not the first, United has had them for about a year already. And for us pilots, back problems are not the greatest benefit, it's not having to update the paper charts by hand which takes hours every month. Now it just take a couple of keystrokes!
post #14 of 51
It'll also save those pilots a lot of (probably uncompensated) time keeping what goes into that bag up to date. And that's likely to mean better-rested, more alert pilots.
post #15 of 51


Quote:
Originally Posted by davebarnes View Post

Let's do the math.
8.6 x 10^3 iPads x $6.0 x 10^2 = $5.2M
Save $2M/year in fuel.
Save $M/year in disability costs.
Bingo!

How often were the paper ones reprinted for everyone, then shipped out? That would also have some cost involved.

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post #16 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hans01 View Post

As a pilot that uses an iPad in the cockpit, I can say that AFAIK the only consumer tablet approved by the FAA is the iPad. There are dedicated Windows based EFB's (Electronic Flight Bags) available but I'm not aware of any android tablet.

American is definitely not the first, United has had them for about a year already. And for us pilots, back problems are not the greatest benefit, it's not having to update the paper charts by hand which takes hours every month. Now it just take a couple of keystrokes!

That is good news all around.... and you guys get more time for a few more whiskeys before the flight too 1wink.gif
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post #17 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by davebarnes View Post

Let's do the math.
8.6 x 10^3 iPads x $6.0 x 10^2 = $5.2M
Save $2M/year in fuel.
Save $M/year in disability costs.
Bingo!

 

You didn't include printing costs and satchel costs to carry 40Lb's worth of paper. How often are the existing maps updated? 

 

There is another benefit. Pilots will no longer get bored out of their minds flying and fall asleep (plane nosedives into everglades). Now they can play all sorts of fun games thus stay awake and alert!

post #18 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by digitalclips View Post

That is good news all around.... and you guys get more time for a few more whiskeys before the flight too 1wink.gif

Someone has seen pretty much every movie that involves a commercial airline pilot.

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post #19 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chandra69 View Post

As an Apple fanboy Its ok to me too 1smile.gif  and very much happy that iPad is in cockpit.  But, if they have adapted an android tablet, it would be the same case, their backpain would be gone. 1smile.gif1smile.gif  

I think I failed to express what I think. 1mad.gif
While this is theoretically true, it ignores the reality that airlines have only used iPads so far. This may be due to multiple reasons. Features which it make it more secure. Software development is far easier. Build quality and reliability is far higher.

Additionally, as pointed out above, the FAA has only approved the ipad to use in cockpits, so it is fair to say the ipad is currently fully responsible for this.
post #20 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

Someone has seen pretty much every movie that involves a commercial airline pilot.

Ah, it's so easy to see the humor while sitting safely on the ground! 1biggrin.gif
I once had a failed landing in Mexico city and everyone but me had taken off seat belts and were unloading overhead bins. As the plane had to abort due to another plane crossing the runway, and accelerate (which with the ring of mountains that close and little air at 6,000 feet, I mean really, really accelerate ...) I was all alone while about 150 people were seemingly glued the the rear wall. The 2nd attempt was interesting too, al lot of praying, beads and wailing I recall. Luckily I had a good book throughout all this.
Edited by digitalclips - 5/1/13 at 9:04am
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post #21 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by digitalclips View Post

Ah, it's so easy to see the humor while sitting safely on the ground! 1biggrin.gif
I once had a failed landing in Mexico city and everyone but me had taken off seat belts and were unloading overhead bins. As the plane had to abort due to another plane crossing the runway, and accelerate (which with the ring of mountains that close and little air at 6,000 feet, I mean really, really accelerate ...) I was all alone while about 150 people were seeming glued the the rear wall. The 2nd attempt was interesting too, al lot of praying, beads and wailing I recall. Luckily I had a good book throughout all this.

I've always wondered what kind of rules they have for media on flights since there is so much fear that goes along with it. I can't imagine Airplane, Flight, or any other movie that involves a terrorizing event in the sky to be shown in-flight. However, I also wonder if the in-flight music stations would also not include, say, The Big Bopper, Buddy Holly, or Richie Valens in a 50's music station because they all died in a plane crash? The latter obviously being less likely to make one uncomfortable, but I wouldn't be surprised if they want to be overly cautious.

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post #22 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

I've always wondered what kind of rules they have for media on flights since there is so much fear that goes along with it. I can't imagine Airplane, Flight, or any other movie that involves a terrorizing event in the sky to be shown in-flight. However, I also wonder if the in-flight music stations would also not include, say, The Big Bopper, Buddy Holly, or Richie Valens in a 50's music station because they all died in a plane crash? The latter obviously being less likely to make one uncomfortable, but I wouldn't be surprised if they want to be overly cautious.

As a fan of the oldies channel I can say for sure Buddy Holly is on there but you know, that thought never crossed my mind. I suspect a funny parody would be less of an issue than a pretty realistic airplane terror type movie.
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post #23 of 51

I know we have a few commercial pilots who are AI members. I'm curious do the pilots consult their 40 lbs. of charts or is that just back up in case the in-flight electronics fail? If it is just back up is the iPad just back up also? And finally: Do you think sitting in one position for several hours without being able to stretch could also cause stress on one's back? I fly quite a bit and I always feel a bit stiff after sitting for so long. At least it is not so cramped in business class although sometimes I do fly coach and that is pretty uncomfortable.

 

BTW I was in a private jet a few months ago and the co-pilot was using an Android tablet.

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post #24 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chandra69 View Post

But, at a broader level, its the tablet device that replaced bunches and bunches of papers.  

 

No no. Tablets are different things, they existed before the iPad, and they suck.

 

You are comparing a chariot or a cart to a Mercedes.

post #25 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by digitalclips View Post

As a fan of the oldies channel I can say for sure Buddy Holly is on there but you know, that thought never crossed my mind. I suspect a funny parody would be less of an issue than a pretty realistic airplane terror type movie.

Yeah, they died over 50 years ago and like you I doubt most would make that association when listening to their music, but imagine if there was an in-flght station that also included Aaliyah, Randy Rhoads, Otis Redding, Ricky Nelson, John Denver, Patsy Cline, Kim Croce, Stevie Ray Vaughn and was titled Musician who perished whilst flying. Clearly that's hyperbole but I can't imagine that being allowed which means there are likely some guidelines for such things. Perhaps not on music, but on the aforementioned in-flight movie choices. I doubt they only have criteria that makes sure they aren't MPAA rated R.

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post #26 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

Yeah, they died over 50 years ago and like you I doubt most would make that association when listening to their music, but imagine if there was an in-flght station that also included Aaliyah, Randy Rhoads, Otis Redding, Ricky Nelson, John Denver, Patsy Cline, Kim Croce, Stevie Ray Vaughn and was titled Musician who perished whilst flying. Clearly that's hyperbole but I can't imagine that being allowed which means there are likely some guidelines for such things. Perhaps not on music, but on the aforementioned in-flight movie choices. I doubt they only have criteria that makes sure they aren't MPAA rated R.

I agree there must be some guidelines somewhere you'd think. Having said that regarding musicians, how many of those artists perished in full sized airliners though? I do admit to turning down joy rides in rich friend's small planes as I always think of Buddy Holly then! John Denver convinced me to scrap plans for attaching wings and a prop to my lawnmower too ... (oh bad taste joke!)
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post #27 of 51
Maybe their flight crews should watch what they eat and visit a gym from time to time. Then their fat asses wouldn't have a problem carrying a 40lb bag and their health insurance costs would probably also decrease.

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post #28 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by kpluck View Post

Maybe their flight crews should watch what they eat and visit a gym from time to time. Then their fat asses wouldn't have a problem carrying a 40lb bag and their health insurance costs would probably also decrease.

Seriously?! 1oyvey.gif

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post #29 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chandra69 View Post

Because of iPad or tablet device?

Um, because of iPads, obviously.

 

The majority of people and especially businesses and companies are opting for iPads, and not inferior "tablet devices".

 

I would never get on a plane that used something like an Android tablet in the cockpit, because I'd rather live than die.

post #30 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post


Seriously?! 1oyvey.gif

Can't say i disagree, 40 lbs isnt that heavy at all, i deadlift 10x that amount easily. Hell i see people in their 60s in my gym who can easily do 95-135 lbs like its nothing (which is incredibly impressive for their age/size) 

 

I see the obvious bonus of space savings for having the ipad and not having to lug around 40 lbs for maybe a few minutes but if that throws your back out, you are most likely grossly out of shape...

post #31 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by ifail View Post

Can't say i disagree, 40 lbs isnt that heavy at all, i deadlift 10x that amount easily. Hell i see people in their 60s in my gym who can easily do 95-135 lbs like its nothing (which is incredibly impressive for their age/size) 

I see the obvious bonus of space savings for having the ipad and not having to lug around 40 lbs for maybe a few minutes but if that throws your back out, you are most likely grossly out of shape...

What a complete failure of logic. 1rolleyes.gif

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post #32 of 51
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post
What a complete failure of logic. 1rolleyes.gif

 

Can you fail at something you just outright avoided in the first place? lol.gif

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post #33 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by ascii View Post

So... the people charged with safely flying us and landing us, can't figure out how to carry a heavy object without hurting themselves?

Of course.

 

Wait. You're serious?

 

Have you ever worked in an airliner cockpit, particularly late at night after a series of long flights?

 

Injuries won't happen often, but they do, and when they do, they're expensive to deal with.

 

This isn't like moving something in your grandmother's basement.

post #34 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by ifail View Post

Can't say i disagree, 40 lbs isnt that heavy at all, i deadlift 10x that amount easily. Hell i see people in their 60s in my gym who can easily do 95-135 lbs like its nothing (which is incredibly impressive for their age/size) 

I see the obvious bonus of space savings for having the ipad and not having to lug around 40 lbs for maybe a few minutes but if that throws your back out, you are most likely grossly out of shape...

Deadlift is quite different than carrying weighs while walking between different terminals at an airport.

That said, you'd think they would use those wheeled bags.
post #35 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post
How often were the paper ones reprinted for everyone, then shipped out? That would also have some cost involved.
 
Flight charts themselves are most likely bought directly from a source like Jeppesen.  Instrument  flight paper charts are updated every 56 days, while visual flying Terminal and Sectional charts are updated every six months.
 
(Jepp updates their electronic nav info every 28 days.)
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Inkling View Post

It'll also save those pilots a lot of (probably uncompensated) time keeping what goes into that bag up to date. And that's likely to mean better-rested, more alert pilots.

 

Yeah, it's a real pain.  On the other hand, manually updating the charts can be a good thing for pilots going into smaller airports, as you often look to see what the changes are... and they can include something like a new obstruction in the flight path, which is important to know about.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by pedromartins View Post

No no. Tablets are different things, they existed before the iPad, and they suck. You are comparing a chariot or a cart to a Mercedes.

 

Windows based tablets (and WinCE PDAs) have been used in the cockpit since at least the turn of the century.  

 

I know, as I was using one back around 2000 with a GPS puck that allowed the map to follow my flight path. I don't believe that iPads are allowed to do that in the airline cockpits.

 

Heck, it's because of all the years (starting in the 1990s) of pilots using laptops and tablets, that the FAA regulations came about which later allowed the approval of the iPad for some uses.

 

The primary reason why the iPad is popular with the airlines, is because it's cheap.  They could've given their pilots EFBs well over a decade ago.   (Some did, especially cargo and charter lines.)

 

As a side note, one of the early problems with laptops was the hard disk.  Their heads float on a cushion of air, and most are externally vented.  At higher altitudes, or if there is cockpit decompression, the hard drives would crash from lack of air.  (Thus the 10,000 foot limit you often see.)  Sealed drives and SSDs (and Flash memory on an iPad) solve that.


Edited by KDarling - 5/1/13 at 12:23pm
post #36 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by ifail View Post

Can't say i disagree, 40 lbs isnt that heavy at all, i deadlift 10x that amount easily. Hell i see people in their 60s in my gym who can easily do 95-135 lbs like its nothing (which is incredibly impressive for their age/size) 

 

I see the obvious bonus of space savings for having the ipad and not having to lug around 40 lbs for maybe a few minutes but if that throws your back out, you are most likely grossly out of shape...

You just might consider that cockpit isn't the spacious equivalent to a gym. It's far too easy to end up in an awkward stance as you shift those 40 lbs around.

post #37 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by steveH View Post

You just might consider that cockpit isn't the spacious equivalent to a gym. It's far too easy to end up in an awkward stance as you shift those 40 lbs around.

Or that people don't typically carry around their gym weights when they go to work. Or that these pilots have to also bring other items with them.

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post #38 of 51
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post
Or that people don't typically carry around their gym weights when they go to work.

 

Pilots would have to pay extra for that, anyway. 

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post #39 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chandra69 View Post

Because of iPad or tablet device?
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chandra69 View Post

But, at a broader level, its the tablet device that replaced bunches and bunches of papers.  



From the article
Quote:
While only the iPad is allowed for use as an electronic flight bag,

That is worth note. The FAA has examined several if not every tablet released in the last 3-5 years and only approves the iPad for this use.

So it this case iPad, not tablet, is correct as they are not interchangeable at this point

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post #40 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by kpluck View Post

Maybe their flight crews should watch what they eat and visit a gym from time to time. Then their fat asses wouldn't have a problem carrying a 40lb bag and their health insurance costs would probably also decrease.

And is that what you are going to say to the parents of a 40lb kid when the school gives him a 1.5 lb iPad and not 10 pounds of textbooks etc to haul around all the time

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