American Airlines to save $1.2 million shifting paper flight charts to iPad

Posted:
in iPad edited January 2014
American Airlines has started a pilot program to test the use of Apple's iPad running a specialized app providing paperless flight navigation charts, a tool it says will save it over a million dollars a year in fuel costs.



Pilots' iPads will replace flight bags of paper charts that typically weigh 35 pounds or more, according to a report by MarketWatch.



The airline will be using iPads to test the new system on two flights between Los Angeles and Tokyo and Shanghai.



American Airlines joins Alaska Air in working to shift paper flight charts to the iPad; Alaska began the shift in May.



The US Federal Aviation Administration previously classified the iPad as a "class 1" electronic device, meaning it must be stowed during takeoff and landing, even by pilots. However, the FAA has since specifically approved the use of the iPad app providing tables and other information for use during all phases of flight, making it the first time a tablet has been usable during takeoff and landing.







American began offering some of its first class and business cabin customers Samsung-built Galaxy Tab devices running Android for in-flight entertainment, capable of tapping into the WiFi networks present on certain aircraft models.



In order to work suitably, Samsung said it would "customize the Galaxy Tab for American's in-flight entertainment needs, including the addition of expanded memory."



Samsung's tablets are not yet capable of working as electric flight charts however, because they can't run the FAA-approved flight charting app.

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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 106
    solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    So much for it only being a toy.
  • Reply 2 of 106
    robin huberrobin huber Posts: 3,457member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post


    American began offering some of its first class and business cabin customers Samsung-built Galaxy Tab devices running Android for in-flight entertainment, capable of tapping into the WiFi networks present on certain aircraft models.



    Irony alert. "American" airline gives customers Korean tablet.



    I wonder how much better our economy would be by the simple application of "buy local." Congress and the executive branches seem hobbled by a system that is locked in a permanent state of preparing for getting yourself re-elected and cannot work together on much of anything anymore.



    The president could unilaterally use his bully pulpit to create a national drive to urge, shame, cajole, and pressure American companies to 1) buy American made products, and if that is not possible at least 2) buy American owned company's products. Make that a part of a new definition of patriotism. Maybe we can't all fight on the front lines, but we can do this. Allow those who do (to a specified level) to label their products and ads with a special "We support America" symbol. Kind of like the star flags the families of service member can fly. The more American parts & supplies your company buys, the more stars. Those who approach 100% can display a gold star.



    I think many patriotic Americans would buy Gold Star products even if they cost a bit more. At least it would give flag-wavers not in the military an opportunity to act instead of just give lip service to their patriotism.
  • Reply 3 of 106
    jonamacjonamac Posts: 385member
    All very nice stuff for the iPad's credibility. These things do matter when aggregated. You can't call something a toy when it's used to navigate passenger airliners. It's lighter than charts and less unwieldy. Makes sense to me.
  • Reply 4 of 106
    apple ][apple ][ Posts: 9,233member
    I feel safer flying on airlines using iPads rather than Android tablets.



    Here are two scenarios:



    (1) The airline uses iPads for it's flight charts and everybody arrives safely at their destination. Everything just works.



    (2) The airline uses Android Tablets for it's flight charts and the pilot is too busy rooting his tablet and playing with widgets, so the whole plane goes off course, it ends up crashing and you eventually end up on an island like the one in "Lost".
  • Reply 5 of 106
    apple ][apple ][ Posts: 9,233member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Robin Huber View Post


    The president could unilaterally use his bully pulpit to create a national drive to urge, shame, cajole, and pressure American companies to 1) buy American made products, and if that is not possible at least 2) buy American owned company's products.



    Obama would be a terrible patriot, according to what you wrote. He uses a Blackberry.
  • Reply 6 of 106
    mex4ericmex4eric Posts: 48member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Apple ][ View Post


    Obama would be a terrible patriot, according to what you wrote. He uses a Blackberry.



    But he has recently been seen carrying an iPad!
  • Reply 7 of 106
    Angry Bird's....in the Big Bird's Cockpit?
  • Reply 8 of 106
    neiltc13neiltc13 Posts: 182member
    The real question is, if there truly is demand for flight charts delivered electronically then why is there not a dedicated device for them?



    It could be built into the cockpit and powered (with battery backup) from the plane itself and have a much larger and higher resolution screen than the frankly archaic 10" 1024x768 display in iPad.



    I'd worry about any airline that is so quick to jump on a consumer technology for an environment that needs the most reliable of technology. I've seen enough apps on iOS deciding to quit themselves to know that stability isn't its strongest point.
  • Reply 9 of 106
    jonamacjonamac Posts: 385member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by neiltc13 View Post


    The real question is, if there truly is demand for flight charts delivered electronically then why is there not a dedicated device for them?



    It could be built into the cockpit and powered (with battery backup) from the plane itself and have a much larger and higher resolution screen than the frankly archaic 10" 1024x768 display in iPad.



    I'd worry about any airline that is so quick to jump on a consumer technology for an environment that needs the most reliable of technology. I've seen enough apps on iOS deciding to quit themselves to know that stability isn't its strongest point.



    I don't think the relevant app would be FAA-approved if it weren't rock stable.



    As for the iPad's screen being archaic...I think that's more than a little over the top!
  • Reply 10 of 106
    brookstbrookst Posts: 62member
    A pilot program, indeed.
  • Reply 11 of 106
    The real question is, if there truly is demand for flight charts delivered electronically then why is there not a dedicated device for them?





    Why spend all that money to test out an idea. Charts are referred to on occasion. The don't fly with them in their laps.



    Hey tell the new Duchess hello for me.....she's hot.
  • Reply 12 of 106
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Robin Huber View Post


    Irony alert. "American" airline gives customers Korean tablet.



    I wonder how much better our economy would be by the simple application of "buy local." Congress and the executive branches seem hobbled by a system that is locked in a permanent state of preparing for getting yourself re-elected and cannot work together on much of anything anymore.



    The president could unilaterally use his bully pulpit to create a national drive to urge, shame, cajole, and pressure American companies to 1) buy American made products, and if that is not possible at least 2) buy American owned company's products. Make that a part of a new definition of patriotism. Maybe we can't all fight on the front lines, but we can do this. Allow those who do (to a specified level) to label their products and ads with a special "We support America" symbol. Kind of like the star flags the families of service member can fly. The more American parts & supplies your company buys, the more stars. Those who approach 100% can display a gold star.



    I think many patriotic Americans would buy Gold Star products even if they cost a bit more. At least it would give flag-wavers not in the military an opportunity to act instead of just give lip service to their patriotism.



    Buy what manufactured local ??
  • Reply 13 of 106
    It's a big worry. Consumer rubbish has no place in the cockpit.



    I'm a pilot - the cockpit is a place where everything is perfectly designed, perfectly reliable and responds immediately to commands, exactly as intended.



    The iPad is far from this. I can think of nothing worse than battling with a flaky consumer device (freezing, apps quitting, et al) while trying to fly the plane.



    One little "flake-out" and the plane (and people/structures on the ground) are at risk. I don't have time to battle with device resets or force-quitting or "Please verify your iTunes account password" when I'm trying to intercept the glide slope! Is this a joke?



    I won't take to the air without the paper! Sorry - no way. Thankfully, I don't work for American.



    I'm all for electronic maps, but they've got to be on a specialised device that is as reliable as the flight avionics. And the display quality has got to be capable of displaying the detail we need - something like a 4HD Barco display.
  • Reply 14 of 106
    aaarrrggghaaarrrgggh Posts: 1,608member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by neiltc13 View Post


    The real question is, if there truly is demand for flight charts delivered electronically then why is there not a dedicated device for them?



    It could be built into the cockpit and powered (with battery backup) from the plane itself



    Quite simply because making it integrated to the flight systems will increase the costs 10x minimum due to regulatory issues, it would not offer redundancy in the event of a display failure, and it would be a single-purpose device that would not add value.



    Quote:

    and have a much larger and higher resolution screen than the frankly archaic 10" 1024x768 display in iPad.



    I'd worry about any airline that is so quick to jump on a consumer technology for an environment that needs the most reliable of technology. I've seen enough apps on iOS deciding to quit themselves to know that stability isn't its strongest point.



    Aside from the obvious trolling... have you seen the quality of the displays on most flight decks? I don't think the Garmin G1000 is any better resolution... and compared to some of the older instruments it is a few orders of magnitude better.
  • Reply 15 of 106
    jetzjetz Posts: 1,293member
    I'd feel safer if they actually used a real Electronic Flight Bag.



    Other than that this app isn't that big a deal. It's just a giant PDF reader. It'll be on Android soon enough.



    Personally, when I used to fly, I felt safer carrying a cut out of my terminal map and my FLIPs. There's a reason pilots are still trained to do diversions with a paper chart on backup (mechanical) instruments.
  • Reply 16 of 106
    jetzjetz Posts: 1,293member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Xanthia01 View Post


    It's a big worry. Consumer rubbish has no place in the cockpit.



    I'm a pilot - the cockpit is a place where everything is perfectly designed, perfectly reliable and responds immediately to commands, exactly as intended.



    The iPad is far from this. I can think of nothing worse than battling with a flaky consumer device (freezing, apps quitting, et al) while trying to fly the plane.



    One little "flake-out" and the plane (and people/structures on the ground) are at risk. I don't have time to battle with device resets or force-quitting or "Please verify your iTunes account password" when I'm trying to intercept the glide slope! Is this a joke?



    I won't take to the air without the paper! Sorry - no way. Thankfully, I don't work for American.



    I'm all for electronic maps, but they've got to be on a specialised device that is as reliable as the flight avionics. And the display quality has got to be capable of displaying the detail we need - something like a 4HD Barco display.





    +1



    I don't care what the fanboys say.



    I'd be pissed if I worked for American and they gave me an iPad instead of a certified EFB. WTF?



    And what I really don't get is, why an iPad? That app is essentially a collection of PDFs. If they're going to hand out PDF readers, why not just give me people cheaper tablets.
  • Reply 17 of 106
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Xanthia01 View Post


    It's a big worry. Consumer rubbish has no place in the cockpit.



    I'm a pilot - the cockpit is a place where everything is perfectly designed, perfectly reliable and responds immediately to commands, exactly as intended.



    The iPad is far from this. I can think of nothing worse than battling with a flaky consumer device (freezing, apps quitting, et al) while trying to fly the plane.



    One little "flake-out" and the plane (and people/structures on the ground) are at risk. I don't have time to battle with device resets or force-quitting or "Please verify your iTunes account password" when I'm trying to intercept the glide slope! Is this a joke?



    I won't take to the air without the paper! Sorry - no way. Thankfully, I don't work for American.



    I'm all for electronic maps, but they've got to be on a specialised device that is as reliable as the flight avionics. And the display quality has got to be capable of displaying the detail we need - something like a 4HD Barco display.



    You obviously have no idea what you're talking about. I fly widebody jets to Asia on a regular basis or a major international carrier. Everything on the airplane has at least one backup, usually several. The implementation of the iPad on my airline will come after lots of testing. I have a personal iPad and have had NO problems with it. Each pilot will have an iPad with the necessary charts for navigation. That's four iPads on international flights!



    Plus, each cockpit will have one set of paper charts as an additional backup. iTunes account password on an approach? Seriously? They will not be connected to wi-fi in the air. I've seen the Jeppesen charts on the iPad and they look great.
  • Reply 18 of 106
    jetzjetz Posts: 1,293member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by aaarrrgggh View Post


    Aside from the obvious trolling... have you seen the quality of the displays on most flight decks? I don't think the Garmin G1000 is any better resolution... and compared to some of the older instruments it is a few orders of magnitude better.



    I don't know what cockpit the different AA jets have, but a big concern when certifying flight displays in readability in sunlight and such. They design cockpits with ergonomics in mind and avionics with usability and readability in mind.



    I wonder about the merits of having an iPad strapped to your lap instead of an integrated EFB with a proper moving map display capable of showing approach overlays.
  • Reply 19 of 106
    jetzjetz Posts: 1,293member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by John_Burdick View Post


    You obviously have no idea what you're talking about. I fly widebody jets to Asia on a regular basis or a major international carrier. Everything on the airplane has at least one backup, usually several. The implementation of the iPad on my airline will come after lots of testing. I have a personal iPad and have had NO problems with it. Each pilot will have an iPad with the necessary charts for navigation. That's four iPads on international flights!



    Plus, each cockpit will have one set of paper charts as an additional backup. iTunes account password on an approach? Seriously? They will not be connected to wi-fi in the air. I've seen the Jeppesen charts on the iPad and they look great.



    His anti-Apple comments aside, you have no idea what goes on in the cockpit either.



    And there is a huge difference between an iPad and an Electronic Flight Bag certified for the deck. I, sincerely hope this isn't AA cheaping out.



    What worries me is that it's getting quite dangerous when Apple portrays this device (like they did in the keynote) as something that's widely used in aviation. It's leading to situations where some morons are actually substituting authorized maps for iPads and getting into trouble (they've had ADIZ violations in DC from a guy using a map on an iPad).
  • Reply 20 of 106
    Does this mean that American will let me keep my ipad running during takeoff and landing?



    If so, I am all for the idea.
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