Friday, June 10, 2011

Alaska Airlines pilots get iPads

In a move to both enhance flight safety and reduce its impact on the environment, Alaska Airlines has begun distributing iPads to its pilots to replace up to 25 pounds of required paper flight manuals. The carrier said it has "been exploring the idea of an electronic flight bag for several years."

The 1.5-lb. iPads will be issued to all the carrier's pilots by mid-June, following a successful trial by 100 line and instructor pilots in conjunction with the Air Line Pilots Assn. this past winter and spring. "When the iPad hit the market, we took one look at it and said 'this is the perfect fit,'" said AS VP-Flight Ops Gary Beck.

The iPads will include the "GoodReader" app, loaded with PDF versions of 41 flight, systems and performance manuals, reference cards and other materials that can be updated with a tap of the screen. The iPad is stowed during takeoff and landing under US FAA regulations, as it is considered a Class 1 electronic device.

Along with the "GoodReader" App, the airline is also exploring the possibility of moving to electronic navigation charts on the iPad. Together, these two initiatives, which AS has dubbed, "Bye, Bye Flight Bag," could produce an estimated savings of 2.4 million pieces of paper. It expects project costs to be offset by “lower paper, printing and distribution expenses and reduced fuel consumption as some weight is removed from the aircraft."

(Christine Boynton - ATWOnline News)

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