United Continental pilots get 11,000 Apple iPads

United Continental Holdings, Inc. today announced that it is converting to paperless flight decks and deploying 11,000 iPads to all United and Continental pilots. The electronic flight bags (EFB) replace paper flight manuals, and as a first for major network carriers, provide pilots with paperless aeronautical navigational charts through an iPad app. Distribution of iPads began earlier this month, and all pilots will have them by year end.

“The paperless flight deck represents the next generation of flying,” said Captain Fred Abbott, United’s senior vice president of flight operations, in the press release. “The introduction of iPads ensures our pilots have essential and real-time information at their fingertips at all times throughout the flight.”

Navigational Charting App Breaks New Ground

The iPads are loaded with Jeppesen Mobile FliteDeck, the industry’s premier app featuring interactive, data-driven enroute navigation information and worldwide geo-referenced terminal charts. The enhanced full-color, high-quality information display ensures the right information is displayed at the right time.

“We are proud to partner with United Airlines on a project of this magnitude with Jeppesen Mobile FliteDeck,” said Mark Van Tine, president and CEO of Jeppesen, in the press release. “Jeppesen and United share a long and storied history that includes development of numerous innovations for the aviation industry. We look forward to continuing this partnership in integrating our digital mobile solutions that increase efficiency, reduce costs and optimize operations.”

Saving 16 Million Sheets of Paper and 326,000 Gallons of Jet Fuel a Year

Each iPad, which weighs less than 1.5 pounds, will replace approximately 38 pounds of paper operating manuals, navigation charts, reference handbooks, flight checklists, logbooks and weather information in a pilot’s flight bag. A conventional flight bag full of paper materials contains an average of 12,000 sheets of paper per pilot. The green benefits of moving to EFBs are two-fold–it significantly reduces paper use and printing, and, in turn, reduces fuel consumption. The airline projects EFBs will save nearly 16 million sheets of paper a year which is equivalent to more than 1,900 trees not cut down. Saving 326,000 gallons of jet fuel a year reduces greenhouse gas emissions by 3,208 metric tons.

iPad Improves Efficiency and Safety

With iPad, pilots are able to quickly and efficiently access reference material without having to thumb through thousands of sheets of paper and reduce clutter on the flight deck. United and Continental pilots’ work will be streamlined as they can immediately download updates on iPad to their electronic flight materials, rather than waiting for paper updates to be printed and distributed. In addition, by eliminating bulky flight bags loaded with paper, pilots will have less to lift and carry through airports and onboard the aircraft, reducing the risk of injury while on duty.

Source: United Continental Holdings, Inc.

MacDailyNews Take: Apple iPads truly rule the air!

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Fred Mertz” and “David E.” for the heads up.]

Related articles:
British Airways brings new dimension to customer service using Apple iPads – August 18, 2011
Delta gives Apple iPads to pilots as electronic flight bag replacements – August 17, 2011
Apple’s revolutionary iPad creates the paperless cockpit – July 5, 2011
Alaska Airlines pilots using Apple iPads in cockpit – May 23, 2011
Mission-critical Apple iPads in cockpits may hasten end of era for paper charts – March 7, 2011
FAA authorizes use of Jeppesen app on iPad to replace paper aeronautical charts – February 16, 2011
Fokker and Navtech introduces Electronic Flight Bag hardware for Apple’s revolutionary iPad – January 28, 2011


  1. Is that why you can’t find a TouchPad left on the shelves of Best Buy for love or money? United have bought them all to deploy on their flight simulators to show pilots the right way to fly, using an iPad, and the wrong way to fly, and crash, using a competitor’s product.

  2. But, But, But… The only tablet for professionals is the “PLAYbook”!!
    And, and, And.. Android runs FLASH!!!!
    Oh, and just to remember the good old monkey.. “It does not have plastic keyboard”

    1. Also with HP having self-jettisoned itself so prematurely out of the tablet market another casualty is creditability of being around for ANY Android or otherwise tablet. Red flags and alarms must be going off everywhere for any non-iPad temptation. Business doesn’t like flakiness and even Microsoft has proven itself untrustworthy in this regard (PlaysForSure, etc.). Apple is around for the long haul and that speaks volumes (in market share). No one ever will get fired for buying Apple.

  3. If each pilot lost 10 pounds, they would save over 89,000 gallons of jet fuel a year. If every passenger lost 10 pounds, … oh, never mind!
    BTW, would those iPads be locked in to airplane mode?

  4. actually, this is a big deal. only Apple has a mature tablet product ready for this life/safety mission-critical purpose – stable, secure, flexible, easy training, and ready for custom app deployment at scale. Android just ain’t ready. Honeycomb is essentially a public beta, soon to be obsolete. and it will take another year for Google to squash all the bugs in its Ice Cream Sandwich (want a bite?).

    the aviation market is huge.

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