March 10th in iPad 2, iPad News by

Apple iPad 2 may soon replace paper charts in airline cockpits

iPad Airplane Cockpit

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has granted preliminary approval for the use of iPads in airplane cockpits.

Major commercial airlines, Delta, American Airlines and others are now considering the possibility of employing the iPad to replace paper maps currently used by pilots.

Delta Air Lines, the world’s second largest airline in the world is, according to Bloomberg, attempting to gain approval to test the use of iPads and other tablets in the cockpits of its planes as soon as the next quarter according to a company spokesman.

The FAA has already granted approval for the use of  “electronic flight bags,” or computers for aviation purposes.  The move to allow iPads in cockpits stems from the current options bulk and weight, 18 pounds for today’s devices compared to the weight of 1.3 pounds for iPad 2.

On Feb. 1, the FAA granted the first approval for professional cockpit use of the iPad to Executive Jet Management. The company has made 250 flights as part of the certification process with maps and accessories created for the iPad by Boeing’s aeronautical and charting company Jeppesen, a company we’ve previously profiled.

Officials with Jeppesen began developing iPad flight navigation software partially because pilots themselves requested it.

Typically,  pilots have to carry a great many notebooks filled with paper versions of the thousands of instrument approaches throughout the United States. Thanks to their new app, Jeppesen can put all of the approaches throughout the entire world on an iPad without using much of the device’s memory.

What do you think of the idea to put iPads in airline cockpits?  What, if any, downside, do you see to adding the iPad to an airplane?

The author of this post is

Creator of Digital Deconstruction, write for The Next Web, iPadFan, and more. Animal, music, literature, history lover, law school graduate.

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  • Fishinbuddy1957

    Blow me… I do my best licks on approaches… 4R gets my creative juices flowing during the 8:30 push

  • Geoffvadar

    If the airline provides the device, they’ll have to manage the content, as the regs have already spelled out for EFBs–A061 of the ops specs.

  • Geoffvadar

    Thanks for the fatherly advise captain america–I bet you’re one of those guys that wears his raybans in the FBO for effect.

  • Pbnj429

    I’ve been using the Ipad in the cockpit for about a year now and ForeFlight is an amazing tool. The approach plates always being up to date is a huge money saver. I have shot well over 100 approaches with it. The moving map helps with situational awareness as well as the flight planing part. I have not tried the Ipad 2 yet but im sure it will work just as well. AirNav free is another fun training device to keep up with traditonal equipment for people with a glass cockpit. It has VOR and NDB tracking using the ground base GPS location for the radial location. Its not perfect but it helps with training new students. Over all I think it is a GREAT tool for pilots and students alike.

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  • dave

    We are trying to get approval for the Canadian version of an electronic flight bag as well. The new iPad2 appears to fit the bill.

  • Kon

    Or to play flight control :3

  • Capt Casey

    As a licensed captain, I advocate the use of electronic charts with a paper backup in case of failure of the device. Beware any electrical device including a cell phone can affect the magnetic pull of the flight compass, so in case of failure, make sure there is a checklist including the turning off of the ipad.

  • Clea_ver

    It’s about time that the cockpit became part of the 21st century. The old systems are outdated and silly in light of today’s technology. As a commercial rated pilot all I can say is let’s go, this is wonderful.

  • PC

    This is a MUST!!!!

  • Wlnuzzo1

    MY son is a commercial pilot. He has to carry all these approach charts everywhere he goes. Why can’t the charts be left in the planes as backup and allow the pilots yo use the ipad on the control yoke? great idea!!!

  • Terry

    I have been a private pilot for 25 years and already use eCharts in the cockpit but have to have printed charts as a back up. I plan to purchase an iPad2 as my backup in the future. It is much lighter than 20 lbs of paper charts/plates. It is also much easier and faster to locate the proper chart. You can imagine how much better it is for night flying. I am glad the FAA is being uncommonly proactive regarding the iPad.

  • T S Graham

    As long as the airline scrubs all the other software from the Ipads in use I think it’s a great use of the technology. It would be a comfort knowing my pilot isn’t laying down guitar licks on Garage Band during the approach into O’Hare.


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