FAA approves iPads in the cockpit; American Airlines to start Friday

“In June the Allied Pilots Association noted that American Airlines (AA) conducted the first tests of iPads for all phases of flight,” Jason D. O’Grady reports for ZDNet. “AA pilots received Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) approval to test iPads with electronic charts this summer and asked to take it to the next logical level: replacing most of their paper books and charts with digital documents on the iPad.”

“A source tells me that the FAA has granted the approval and that AA will be the first airline in the world to be fully approved to use iPads in all phases of flight,” O’Grady reports. “The first iPad-flights are set to take off on Friday.”

Read more in the full article here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Readers “Sarah” and “Dan K.” for the heads up.]

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21 Comments

      1. Yes, they get to turn them off for takeoff (or landing). This is normally when your chart is NOT in your lap (regardless of whether you are Pilot in Command or First Officer), so your iPad shouldn’t be either.

        There are kids out there who are trying to be smart and, when nobody is looking, they defiantly turn on their iPods or cellphones. Usually, nothing happens. On occasion, though something DOES happen, and there is a mini-emergency in the cockpit (when pilot is getting some inaccurate reading on his VSI, or EFIS). In most cases, this is after take-off, which is, under normal weather conditions, routine process that doesn’t heavily rely on navigational equipment, so pilots tend to fly under VFR. During landing, though, if flying in IMC (i.e. clouds), a smartass kid with an iPhone turned on could pose danger to the entire planeload of people.

        The risk is low, but it exists.

          1. Don’t you do it before take-off (while still on the ground), and before the final approach? I mean, I just fly small planes, but I was taught to focus on just flying the plane during the two, and navigate once I’m out of the Class D (or C, or B).

            1. The FAA needs to convince the NTSB – SIRI is an exception.

              OR ESLE — airplanes need remove all DSITRACTING electronic devices from flight like cars. HURRAY.

    1. No, they do not have to turn them off. They do put them through EMI (electromagnetic interference) tests to ensure that they will not interfere with navigation or communications. We have had to do that with several new pieces of equipment that our medical crews have put on our air ambulance aircraft. The reason that everybody else has to turn stuff off for takeoff and landing is that it’s not possible to test every item of electronic equipment that somebody might bring along. It’s easier just to make sure they’re all turned off.

  1. It’s always very hard to prove a negative. That’s why electronic devices are supposed to be turned off–because it’s difficult to prove that they don’t cause problems. And with hundreds of seats in the cabin the configurations of electronic devices of various types in various seats in all combinations is impractical to test. But in the cockpit, you have two devices in two seats, which is very practical to test. That’s why these can be used in the cockpit during takeoff and landing but not in the cabin.

    1. Well, if you can never be sure, then you should close all restrooms for the entire flight. You never know . . .

      If cell phones did cause crashes (even while waiting on the tarmac) then planes would be falling out of the sky. Passengers have been sneaking smart phone use on takeoff for years.

      Why, because they don’t have a real reason and therefore people don’t believe it. The “you never know” doesn’t cut it with the public.

      People hate stupid when it is being shoved down their throat.

      Nothing against you Chris, my anger is directed against the walking brain stems making the rules.

  2. Wait, the NTSB wants to ban all cell phones, iPhones, and the like from drivers in cars, but now pilots can use iPads.

    So let me see if I have this right. A driver crawling along at 5 mph in rush hour traffic cannot talk on his hands free cell phone, according to NTSB guidance, but a pilot crusing along at 500 mph can use his iPad.

    WTF! Who comes up with this stuff? Oh yeah, our government. Now I understand.

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