JetBlue mechanics choose iPad mini 3 for digital aircraft maintenance toolbox

Posted:
in iPad edited September 2015
After putting iPad 4 into operation as an electronic flight bag in 2013, then iPad mini 3 for in-flight cabin services this year, U.S. airline JetBlue is turning to Apple's tablet platform to aid aircraft maintenance technicians.




In its new role at JetBlue, iPad will serve as a portable digital toolbox to help mechanics operate on sensitive aircraft systems safely and efficiently, Aviation Week reported last week. AppleInsider reader Timothy alerted us to the development.

The iPad mini initiative will allow mechanics to quickly identify and resolve technical issues without the need for desktops, thereby dramatically reducing or eliminating wait times caused by short-term technical delays, which are defined as mechanical problems that can be fixed in less than ten minutes.

"We look at mobile devices as a staple tool -- much like a wrench -- that a technician needs to do his job," said Tony Lowery, vice president of technical operations at JetBlue. "I believe our technicians will wonder how they did without mobile devices, just as we wonder how we did without cell phones for so many years."

Lowery said the decision to implement iPad mini 3 is the culmination of a comprehensive evaluation process that started in early 2014. A group of JetBlue technicians, and two quality control inspectors, vetted four comparable devices running iOS, Android, Windows and an unidentified open source operating system over a period of six months. After choosing iPad, JetBlue slowly rolled out test units to more technicians for further evaluation.

Testing took a number of potential issues into account, including ease of use, integration with JetBlue's existing IT backend, protection from viruses and device familiarity, among others. Interestingly, while some pundits were disappointed by Apple's latest iPad mini update, which comes down to Touch ID and a new gold color option, JetBlue's technicians said the inclusion of biometrics was a key factor in their final decision.

The airline's maintenance team officially switched over to iPad in August and currently has more than 500 technicians using iPad mini 3 toolboxes across the company's 11 line maintenance stations. The program picked up steam earlier this summer with some 300 mechanics receiving units in June and July. As a side note, Lowery said those who are issued iPads can take them home to "increase familiarity and instill a sense of ownership."

JetBlue first brought iPad into the cockpit in 2013 as a replacement for paper-based flight bags. As part of the program, pilots are trained to use three core apps providing real-time weather, pre-flight planning and airport and aircraft charts, all running on JetBlue's in-flight Wi-Fi backbone.

Earlier this year, the New York-based airline issued specialized iPad mini 3 hardware to cabin crewmembers for conducting point of sale transactions -- with Apple Pay support -- as well as viewing documents, manuals and forms, and accessing management software.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 9
    Apple’s enterprise strategy is brilliant.

    Instead of having to recruit many thousands of their own specialist salespeople, software engineers support staff etc., they are building very significant partnerships with more and more major enterprise IT technical and consultancy specialist organisations, who are providing hundreds of thousands of experienced sales people, software engineers and support experts - IBM, SalesForce, Good Technology and Cisco, to name just a few.

    Most airlines have adopted iPads for their pilots. Now this is spreading to engineers and the rest of the flight and ground crews, with huge costs savings because of productivity improvements.

    It is likely that most construction and maintenance engineers will also adopt iPads or other tablets.

    Many organisations have adopted Android tablets. However this is a shortsited economy which many will probably regret, because it entails significant risks and security problems because Android is so vulnerable to malware, viruses and to being hacked into and acting like a Trojan horse, which could cost an organisation a fortune and cause irreparable harm in the way of lost confidential data.

    Many in WS have written off iPads because of falling sales. However much of this is probably because of their very long lifecycle compared to an iPhone. The growth of iPads in enterprise, health, education and government will create a steady, ever growing market. The way they integrate so well with iPhones also acts as a spur to iPhone sales.
  • Reply 2 of 9
    OOPS Double Post???
  • Reply 3 of 9
    OOPS - Double post because of slow AppleInsider software glitch?
  • Reply 4 of 9

    Very Cool...

    Soon they will have augmented reallity mechanical data to overlay on the parts that they are working on.  (A la Metaio)

     

    image

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  • Reply 5 of 9

    This is very cool in my opinion.

     

    @AppleSauce007 The next step is to have a hands-free head-mounted system like Hololens. Thanks for the links and videos, very cool indeed. I just watched that Ferrari video 2 times in a row.

     

    I hope the rumors are true that Apple is working on a hands-free AR system like Hololens. While the Microsoft demo was very cool, I'll believe it when I see it for sale.

  • Reply 6 of 9
    brucemcbrucemc Posts: 1,528member

    But, but, but....nobody needs an iPad (says many on this forum)...they can just use a smartphone or a laptop.  Clearly Jetblue is in error in their conclusions.

  • Reply 7 of 9

    I can't fly on an airline that uses TOYS to fix it's planes! /s

  • Reply 8 of 9
    jbdragonjbdragon Posts: 2,135member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by studiomusic View Post

     

    I can't fly on an airline that uses TOYS to fix it's planes! /s


     

    The same old TOY argument.   I always have a good laugh at that one.  I use my iPad at work for a number of things that have nothing to do with gaming or Media streaming.  There really is a App for just about anything you can think of.  It kind of hard to go around carrying a Windows Laptop around with you.  There is the Surface, but then you have all the issues with a so called full OS like Windows is.  Whatever that means.  Now you're dealing with Firewalls, Anti-Virus software, a bunch of updates every month, most for security issues.  Once in a while, may have to go a complete Windows Re-Install, wiping your system just to get things working correctly once again.  Who wants that on a tablet?  I just want it to work.

     

    Having been a Professional Auto Mechanic in the past before completely changing what I do now, there's no Paper Auto Repair Manuals these days. No big large Section of books up on the shelf's for people to use.  There's just no way to know everything.  Cars & Trucks are ever changing.  Getting more and more complex.  So you need a Online Service instead.  We used AllData.  In fact you can get AllData for yourself, sign up for just the car you own.  Price is reasonable.  It's really the only way these days to have a hope in fixing your car yourself.  Not just be a parts replacer.  Being able to just carry a tablet to the location you're working at and accessing the Data on the spot that you need is so much easier.  So I'm sure it's the same with the Airlines.  You want something easy to use.  That just works.  Have everything in your hand for easy access.  A tablet is also much lighter then some big thick heavy manual of the past.   Also with it Online, the info  can get updated.  That does happen.  With added Service Bulletins of issues.  Probable causes of some problem to look at first can save a great deal of time and money.

  • Reply 9 of 9
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by brucemc View Post

     

    But, but, but....nobody needs an iPad (says many on this forum)...they can just use a smartphone or a laptop.  Clearly Jetblue is in error in their conclusions.


    Seriously, sometimes I work on my car or a Jet Ski with a manual on my iPhone 4S. Not easy on that small screen.

     

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by JBDragon View Post

     

    The same old TOY argument.   I always have a good laugh at that one.  I use my iPad at work for a number of things that have nothing to do with gaming or Media streaming.  There really is a App for just about anything you can think of.  It kind of hard to go around carrying a Windows Laptop around with you.  There is the Surface, but then you have all the issues with a so called full OS like Windows is.  Whatever that means.  Now you're dealing with Firewalls, Anti-Virus software, a bunch of updates every month, most for security issues.  Once in a while, may have to go a complete Windows Re-Install, wiping your system just to get things working correctly once again.  Who wants that on a tablet?  I just want it to work.


    We've tried Windows tablets, Android, and iPads at work. All except the iPads are either sitting in desk drawers somewhere or have been recycled already. Even the Surface Pro 3 was hated. I even tried it -- it attempts to be a laptop and tablet and fails at both. The iPads have been in constant use since they were deployed.

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