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Wednesday December 14, 2011 9:41 pm
FAA gives American AIrlines approval to use iPads in cockpit
The Federal Aviation Administration has granted American Airlines pilots approval to use iPads during flights, without having to power them off during takeoff and landing.
"What we did was we gave them approval to use iPads as an 'electronic flight bag,'" FAA spokesman Les Dorr confirmed, noting that the official OK was given on Dec. 1.
An electronic flight bag is the paperless version of the traditional flight bag, which weighs about 38 pounds and is comprised of operating manuals, navigational charts, handbooks, checklists, logbooks, weather information, and just about anything a pilot needs to fly a plane. By contrast, the iPad-based flight bag weighs under a pound and a half and has all the necessary materials loaded in app form.
Apple iPads have been used in American's cockpits since June, but because they're considered a "Class 1" device, pilots have had to turn them off during takeoff and landing since then, absent FAA approval.
Dorr explained that American had been using iPads on flights on a trial basis.
"Typically what happens is we authorize an airline to do an operational evaluation of any sort of electronic flight bag and we've been doing that with iPads for a number of airlines. If no problems surfaced during the evaluation period, then we issue operational approval to use them and that's what we've done with American," Dorr said.
American is the first major airline to receive official approval to use iPads. Dorr said there are few smaller, on-demand airlines that have gotten the go-ahead, including N-Jets, Express Jet Management (EJM).
Other major airlines are currently going through the operational evaluation, including Alaska Airlines, United and Continental, and Delta.
Dorr said "it would not surprise [him]" if more airlines gained operational approval soon.
This article, written by Leslie Horn, originally appeared on PCMag.com and is republished on Gear Live with the permission of Ziff Davis, Inc.
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