American Airlines pilots begin using Apple's iPad during all phases of flight

Posted:
in iPad edited January 2014
American Airlines this month is expanding its iPad Electronic Flight Bag program, as 777 aircraft pilots begin using Apple's tablet during all phases of flight, helping to save an estimated $1.2 million per year on fuel costs.

The iPad is currently the only tablet approved by the FAA as an Electronic Flight Bag, and American Airlines is the first commercial carrier with FAA approval to use the iPad in all phases of flight, the company highlighted this week in a press release (via The Next Web). An Electronic Flight bag reduces or replaces paper-based reference materials and manuals usually kept in a pilot's carry-on kitbag. When stuffed with paper, those bags can way as much as 35 pounds.

American Airlines estimates that replacing the 35 pound bags with an iPad will result in $1.2 million in annual savings based on current fuel prices.

The airline became the first commercial carrier to gain approval to use the iPad as an Electronic Flight Bag in June of 2011. And as of this month, American Airlines plans to use the iPad in all phases of flight.

American
Pilot training at American Airlines.


"This is a very exciting and important milestone for all of us at American Airlines as we work to modernize our processes and best meet the needs of our people," said Captain John Hale, American's vice president of flight. "With this approval from the FAA, we will be able to use iPad to fully realize the benefits of our Electronic Flight Bag program, including improving the work environment for our pilots, reducing our dependency on paper products and increasing fuel efficiency on our planes. We are equipping our people with the best resources and this will allow our pilots to fly more efficiently."

Pilots with American Airlines will use mobile software and data from Jeppesen, a unit of Boeing Flight Services. The FAA-approved Jeppesen application will replace paper operating manuals with real-time, up-to-date electronic information that will be easier for pilots to access.

iPad use will begin this month on the 777 fleet of American Airlines. The carrier aims to gain FAA approval for all of its fleet types by the end of this year.

American
The iPad will be used in all phases of flight on American's 777 fleet of aircraft.


Beginning in January of 2013, American Airlines plans to stop distributing paper revisions to its flight manuals and most navigation charts.

"We're focused on building a new American where technology and innovation are fundamental to the company's return to industry leadership and exceptional customer service," said Maya Leibman, American's chief information officer. "The Electronic Flight Bag program is just one more example of the progress we're making to provide the tools our employees need to deliver operational improvements and leading customer experience. In fact, our Flight Attendants have also been piloting an initiative on handheld tablets, which will give them better information about the customers on their flight and their travel needs. We'll have more to share on this and other industry-leading technologies in the weeks and months to come."
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 46
    I think it's safe to say that apple doesn't need to worry about competition from the Kindle Fire in markets like this.
  • Reply 2 of 46
    I'm sure they have taken into account all the various possibilities of failure etc.

    Seems great, the ability to search through the text may be a big bonus?
  • Reply 3 of 46
    Speaking of fire. In the past if these guys crash landed in the snow they could have used their paper manual to start a fire. Not so any more. And where do they even have room to mount the iPad in that cockpit!?
  • Reply 4 of 46
    Does anyone know if the GPS in an iPad will function, let alone keep up with the speed of a jet in flight?
  • Reply 5 of 46


    This must be special iPads if they can be used during takeoff and landing without adversely affecting the plane's operation.

  • Reply 6 of 46
    Well, am guessing they will not be required to turn off all electronic devices below 10,000 feet! And if not, perhaps the rest of us iPad owners can keep ours on as well!
  • Reply 7 of 46
    But ,,, wait a minute ... This is a toy ! Why don't they use a PC, instead, for such serious task ?
  • Reply 8 of 46
    muppetrymuppetry Posts: 3,328member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by TheShepherd View Post


    This must be special iPads if they can be used during takeoff and landing without adversely affecting the plane's operation.



     


    Why?

  • Reply 9 of 46
    The only reason why they have you turn off all devices is so that you are more likely to listen to the attendant as they give the general safety speech/demonstration or in case there are any other instructions. They can't tell if you are using your device or not unless they see you, especially if you have airplane mode on.
  • Reply 10 of 46
    wovelwovel Posts: 956member
    The only reason why they have you turn off all devices is so that you are more likely to listen to the attendant as they give the general safety speech/demonstration or in case there are any other instructions. They can't tell if you are using your device or not unless they see you, especially if you have airplane mode on.

    But i is ok to read, sleep, wear ear-plugs, wear blinders. It really was believed to be a technical problem. It just isn't one anymore (if it ever really was). It has nothing to do with paying attention.
  • Reply 11 of 46
    American fies antique MD80's and uses iPads , what a contrast. How's about retiring antiques.
  • Reply 12 of 46
    Speaking of fire. In the past if these guys crash landed in the snow they could have used their paper manual to start a fire. Not so any more. And where do they even have room to mount the iPad in that cockpit!?

    How many American Airline planes have crashed where 1) the people survived, and 2) the people who survived were all along for extended periods of time? Also, if I had to choose between 50 lbs of paper and an iPhone that will do the same thing I'll go for the iPad without once considering what I'll be using to wipe my ass in the woods or light a fire if I crash land in the middle of nowhere.

    Maybe they don't mount it. Maybe it's used just like the paper. It's too bad Siri isn't a local service or has app APIs or they could search for items quickly.

    wovel wrote: »
    But i is ok to read, sleep, wear ear-plugs, wear blinders. It really was believed to be a technical problem. It just isn't one anymore (if it ever really was). It has nothing to do with paying attention.

    From what I've read the sentence I bolded isn't accurate. I read that it wasn't known if it could be a problem. When it comes to cylinders full of people flying at 500mph I'm okay with erring on the side of caution.
  • Reply 13 of 46


    Then why make the change from only requiring people to put their device in airplane mode to require them to turn it off?  They actually tell you to stow away/secure everything before take off.  I assume that to mean all personal items, I could be wrong though, as they seem pretty lax about books and things of the like.

  • Reply 14 of 46

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by TheShepherd View Post


    This must be special iPads if they can be used during takeoff and landing without adversely affecting the plane's operation.



    http://www.livescience.com/5947-real-reason-cell-phone-banned-airlines.html

  • Reply 15 of 46

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by ExceptionHandler View Post



    The only reason why they have you turn off all devices is so that you are more likely to listen to the attendant as they give the general safety speech/demonstration or in case there are any other instructions. T



     


    Untrue.


     


    Quote:


    Originally Posted by ExceptionHandler View Post



    They can't tell if you are using your device or not unless they see you, especially if you have airplane mode on.


     


    True.

  • Reply 16 of 46


    I'll have to re-find the original source, but the FAA does not automatically ban electronic devices below 10,000 feet.  It bans uncertified devices below 10,000 feet.  It is up to the airlines to say that they want to allow a certain device to be certified.  Because of the expense and complexity (Especially with the naming conventions of most companies) of certifying each device, it is easier for them to just say none are allowed (Which a different FAA rule allows them to do.). 


     


    It is not a stretch however to believe that it was worth it to them to certify the model(s) of the iPads that they will be using.  The second rule is also what could allow them to say that the pilot's iPad is OK but your iPad even if it is the same model # is not OK.

  • Reply 17 of 46

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Blastdoor View Post



    I think it's safe to say that apple doesn't need to worry about competition from the Kindle Fire in markets like this.


    Or, Microsoft.... the notion of 'crash' has worse connotations....image

  • Reply 18 of 46

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Rodent View Post



    American fies antique MD80's and uses iPads , what a contrast. How's about retiring antiques.


    MD80s are far from the future: https://www.aa.com/i18n/amrcorp/newsroom/fp_amr_fleet_agreement.jsp

  • Reply 19 of 46
    misamisa Posts: 827member
    This is such old news.

    Basically interference runs from two categories:

    Small planes and cell phones side signalling, the 'tick-ticka-ticka-ticka-ticka' noise you hear from the headphones plugged into an amplified sound source. This is mostly a small plane issue since they usually don't travel at an altitude that would prevent their cell phones from picking up a signal, and aren't fast enough to lose a signal lock. Hence in a small airplane, it's better to turn off the devices for the sake of the pilot being able to hear.

    The other problem is the ground interference that used to be caused by the high singal power in analog and early second generation phones. Because a lot of the old systems weren't directional antennas, they were omnidirectional, and thus could pick up signals from airplanes. Nowadays the power level on a cell phone, tablet, etc are so low that bidirectional communication is impossible. It's still however possible for a plane full of powered-on cell phones to confuse ground networks due to the the same cellular device appearing in hundreds of cell sectors. There is a very easy solution to this, and that's to put GSM/LTE femtocells in the airplane so that the cell phones reduce their power levels once it loses contact with the ground network. Without this, the devices are still constantly broadcasting trying to find a connection unless you've put the device into airplane mode. Fortunately even the design of the iPad, it sets priority to the WiFi and doesn't try to use the Cellular network (if it's equipped) if it has a working WiFi connection. But unlike the early 2000's when power was a few watts and current models which are less than a tenth of the old ones.

    I remember that an AMPS cell phone in 1998 would get extremely hot, like so hot you couldn't hold it for more than about 10 minutes.
  • Reply 20 of 46
    MacProMacPro Posts: 17,868member
    blastdoor wrote: »
    I think it's safe to say that apple doesn't need to worry about competition from the Kindle Fire in markets like this.

    I just worry about the new Toy's-R-Us tablet, that's the best competition to the iPad so far ... / wink
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