“For all of the technology in the modern cockpit, which includes a tremendous amount of computer technology, paper continues to play a major role. There are navigational charts, airport runway maps and manuals on everything from company policies to reference works on each button, switches and circuit breakers on the flight deck,” Glenn Farley reports for KING 5 News.

“All of that paper info is dragged around by pilots in bags that can weigh more than 40 pounds. Captain Jim Freeman and Captain Brian Holm are Alaska Airlines pilots who have the job of trying to move that paper and put it on a 1.5 pound iPad,” Farley reports. “‘What we’ve set up is a 400 megabyte file which contains all of the essential manuals and information we feel the pilot needs,’ Freeman said.”

“Right now at Alaska Airlines, the Federal Aviation Administration has approved using the iPad for viewing manuals in flight. Pilots are also allowed to download weather map information, not normally available on paper, while they are still on the ground,” Farley reports. “Right now, Alaska pilots only use the iPad on the ground and above 10,000 feet. They’re already finding it easier to flip through electronic pages. ‘Your decision making is phenomenal with a device like this,’ said Freeman.”

Farley reports, “About three fourths of Alaska’s pilots have the iPad in their hands and the rest should come soon.”

More info, including a video of the iPad in use in an Alaska Airline cockpit, here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Art C.” for the heads up.]

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FAA authorizes use of Jeppesen app on iPad to replace paper aeronautical charts – February 16, 2011