The Federal Aviation Administration has given American Airlines approval for pilots to use iPads at all times during a flight. Apple iPads will replace the pilots' kitbag, serving as their flying manual.
American Airlines pilots will be able to use iPads that contain regulation information, digital flight manuals and other paperwork at all times, including takeoff and landing. All pilots use a kitbag that contains flight information, navigation charts, reference materials and other things. The iPads will replace this and will be used as an "Electronic Flight Bag."
The regular kitbags weigh 35-pounds. Replacing the kitbag with the much light iPad will save the airline $1.2 million in fuel a year.
"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," American's vice president Captain John Hale said in a statement. "We are equipping our people with the best resources and this will allow our pilots to fly more efficiently."
Pilots on American's 777 fleet will be the first to start using the iPads starting this month. They airline hopes that they will receive approval to use the tablet on its entire fleet by the end of the year. American Airlines will completely discontinue the use of paper flight manuals and navigation charts in January 2013.
Although the iPads will only be used on the 777 fleet to start, all American Airlines pilots will receive an iPad to use in training and during flights.
The pilots' use of iPads is just one way that American Airlines is adapting new technologies.
"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 American's chief information officer, Maya Leibman.
They may be announcing other technology upgrades within the next few weeks and months.
"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," said Leibman.