American Airlines has been approved to become the first commercial carrier to receive FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) to use the Apple iPad in the cockpit during “all phases of flight” the company said in its official press release — touting the expansion of their iPad Electronic Flight Bag program.
“This is a very exciting and important milestone for all of us at American Airlines,” said Captain John Hale, American's Vice President – 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.”
By using an iPad to replace paper-based reference materials and manuals, American Airline pilots will be able to remove a 35-pound kitbag — saving the airline an estimated $1.2 million of fuel annually based on current fuel prices.
The tablets will utilize mobile software and data from Jeppesen. The Jeppesen app is approved for gate-to-gate use throughout all phases of flight. Although the app is a free download, you must have a valid Jeppesen electronic charting serial number in order to activate coverage.
The airline is also pushing forward with an initiative to put iPads in the hands of Flight Attendants as well, which will ultimately “give them better information about the customers on their flight and their travel needs,” according to American Airlines.
Apple iPads will start rolling out to pilots this month on the airline's 777 fleet — with FAA approval for use in all fleet types expected by the end of 2012. All active pilots and instructors will be getting their own iPad device in order to ease the company-wide transition over to tablets.
While the iPad is “the first FAA-approved device to be tested” — other tablets will be evaluated for in-flight use if and when they receive FAA approval.