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.
Passengers on American Airlines flights are about to get a new perk. Instead of craning their necks to catch reruns of "Monk" and excerpts from "The Tonight Show" on tiny aisle TV sets, they'll be able to wirelessly stream content to their personal devices from the comfort of their own seats.
American announced Tuesday that it will begin testing an inflight streaming service, created through a partnership with Aircell, that gives customers choices of movies and TV shows that they can stream to Wi-Fi-enabled devices in the air.
"American was the first North American airline to launch inflight Wi-Fi, and today we again set a new industry standard as the first domestic airline to test inflight streaming video content," American's vice president of marketing, Rob Friedman, said in a statement. "We know our customers want to be connected on the ground and in the sky, so we are working hard to stay on the leading edge of connectivity through technology enhancements like this."
Hmmmm….we’re secretly beginning to wonder if someone at American Airlines has been reading Gear Live. If so, maybe our stories on iPod connectivity on airplanes and the Archos 704 were the inspiration for their latest venture. Soon, the airline will offer the 704 to transcontinental passengers, filled with 12 feature films, over a dozen hours of TV and news shows, MP3s, music videos, and audio channels. The PMP will be a free rental for first class folks, but coach-dwellers must pay a small fee. Hmph! Domestic flyers get some PMP love too, as flyers from LA to Chicago will get to sample the Archos 605, loaded with the same content as the 704, but will also include fun stuff for the kids. The test runs began May 1, and will last 4 months.
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