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American Airline pilots take iPads onboard

American Airlines (AA) has become the first airline approved by the FAA to use iPads throughout the duration of all flights. Ironic, after Alec Baldwin got kicked off for refusing to turn off his phone on an AA flight.

Talita Calitz
Talita studied Journalism and Visual Communication at the University of Pretoria. Travelled a bit, worked here and there and now resides in Cape Town where she’s the... More

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Since 2010, AA has been running tests using iPads as “electronic flight bags” and for all phases of flight. “During that period they have to show that it doesn’t interfere with crew duties and especially that it does not interfere with the communication and navigation systems of the aircraft,” said Les Dorr, a Federal Aviation Administration spokesman. Other carriers including United Airlines and Alaska Airlines have followed suit.

It has since been estimated that an iPad can replace 35 pounds of paper and save $1.2-million worth of fuel each year.

Instead of carrying paper manuals around, pilots will now carry around cost saving iPads that only weigh 1.5 pounds. According to American pilot David Clark “that’s a significant savings”.

Concerns over pilots who might be tempted to play Angry Birds instead of monitoring flight manuals have been raised, but Clark said “absolutely not — no Angry Birds in flight.”

Other airlines are expected to seek approval for the use of iPads on their flights in the near future.

The first AA flights that will be using iPads onboard will start Friday 16 December.