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Alaska Airlines Jettisons Paper Manuals For iPads

timothy posted more than 3 years ago | from the why-kayakers-need-helmets dept.

Transportation 220

fullymodo writes "Alaska Airlines has become the first major US airline to hop on board the paperless bandwagon. While it's not quite ready to ditch paper navigation charts just yet (though that is under consideration), the airline has announced that it will be replacing its traditional flight manuals with iPads, which will be loaded up with the GoodReader app and PDFs of 41 different manuals and other materials.' So explain why I have to shut off my non-wi-fi-capable ebook reader during take-off and landing?"

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Alternative Headline (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36274400)

Alaska Airlines hands the exact global location and browsing habits of its employees and flight personnel to third party advertising company Apple Corporation who will exploit the information for financial gain

Re:Alternative Headline (3, Interesting)

CharlyFoxtrot (1607527) | more than 3 years ago | (#36274542)

I can see the ads now : "Meet local girls in Pacific Ocean, right now." (shamelessly ripped off from the ever relevant xkcd [xkcd.com] )

Anyway your argument is false for a couple of reasons:
- this is Apple, not Google. Apple isn't an advertising company and doesn't send home your browsing behavior AFAIK.
- they need not give the iPads access to the internet.
- they can block anything they don't want to leave the internal network using a firewall, which they should already be doing.

Re:Alternative Headline (1)

obarthelemy (160321) | more than 3 years ago | (#36274618)

Re:Alternative Headline (0)

murphtall (1979734) | more than 3 years ago | (#36275102)

article from january *2010* and this is May *2011*

Re:Alternative Headline (1)

Goaway (82658) | more than 3 years ago | (#36274870)

It is so alternative that it is completely untrue. Nice job, there.

Misunderstanding of intent (4, Informative)

iluvcapra (782887) | more than 3 years ago | (#36274406)

So explain why I have to shut off my non-wi-fi-capable ebook reader during take-off and landing?

If the plane has a bird strike and has to ditch in the Hudson, they don't want you to miss announcements because you're busy flinging Angry Birds. It's not about the electronics, it's about them having your attention during the two parts of flight where all the crashes happen.

Re:Misunderstanding of intent (5, Funny)

amicusNYCL (1538833) | more than 3 years ago | (#36274428)

If the plane has a bird strike and has to ditch in the Hudson, they don't want you to miss announcements because you're busy flinging Angry Birds.

And God help you if you fling a bird directly into the engine.

Re:Misunderstanding of intent (2)

gapagos (1264716) | more than 3 years ago | (#36274456)

If the plane has a bird strike and has to ditch in the Hudson, they don't want you to miss announcements because you're busy flinging Angry Birds. It's not about the electronics, it's about them having your attention during the two parts of flight where all the crashes happen.

Exactly. If we already have people foolish enough to text and email on their blackberrys WHILE they're driving and that don't see what the problem is, imagine how attentive they would be when they're sitting in an armchair in 1st business class.

Re:Misunderstanding of intent (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36274476)

Because your e-reader isn't flight-critical and theirs are.

Re:Misunderstanding of intent (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36274482)

then they're stupid. just read a book through the whole thing instead.

Why no computers on take off? [Re:Misunderstan...] (4, Insightful)

Geoffrey.landis (926948) | more than 3 years ago | (#36274506)

So explain why I have to shut off my non-wi-fi-capable ebook reader during take-off and landing?

Because computers have internal electronics that generate electric currents in the GHz range, and it is not impossible that these electrical currents could radiate enough energy to interfere with airplane electronic and navigation systems.

Presumably they have tested the particular devices that the pilots are using, and verified that these particular devices don't interfere. If they haven't tested your particular device, then they don't know that it won't interfere. Probably it won't. They don't know that for sure.

And, also, how do they know that it doesn't have wifi? Are they supposed to inspect all electronic devices on boarding? (Are you willing to be charged extra to pay for a person to do that?)

This is, undoubtably, absurdly over cautious. However, the penalties for failure are very large, and the cost for being overcautious (in the form of inconvenience) is paid by you, not by them.

Re:Why no computers on take off? [Re:Misunderstan. (5, Informative)

iluvcapra (782887) | more than 3 years ago | (#36274600)

The definition of the various electronics classes doesn't have much to do with electromagnetic radiation. They primarily are related to the physical design of the gear and how it's mechanically interfaced with the aircraft.

Class 1: Anything commercial off-the-shelf and not purpose-built for the plane is Class 1 and must be stowed during takeoff and landing, because they're loose equipment and can become a hazard in turbulence. (Even these iPads have to be put away during takeoff and landing.

Class 2: Can be off-the-shelf or purpose built, but it has to be bolted down using a certified mounting or a kneeboard. You don't have to stow a class 2 during takeoff and landing.

Class 3: Installed in the plane, subject to airworthiness certification and the hardware has to be designed for the purpose. Only class 3 EFB gear has to be tested for radio emissions.

Re:Why no computers on take off? [Re:Misunderstan. (4, Informative)

PRMan (959735) | more than 3 years ago | (#36274712)

My friend's Dad was an engineer at Boeing and tested exactly this. Beyond old planes (DC-9 and older), electronics were not a problem, as everything was shielded enough not to interfere. But people have a hard time understanding "you can do it on this plane, but not on that one" if they are used to a behavior.

Cell phones are a problem for the cell towers, not the planes. The number of handoffs that happen on calls from the air is pretty bad.

Re:Misunderstanding of intent (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36274580)

I don't buy it. There's very little that a passenger can do in the event of a crash other than ensure they've got their seatbelt fastened and head down. There's not a whole lot they can say that will help. In the event that they do say something, the general hysteria in the cabin will inform those who were reading an e-reader. If it were about having your attention, they wouldn't allow passengers to sleep during take off and landing. I can assure you that people are far more attentive while using an e-reader than they are while asleep. And I can also assure you that there's almost zero difference between the attention levels of someone reading an e-reader and someone reading a dead-tree edition, which is not only allowed but encouraged by all the reading material they provide you (newspapers, SkyMall, etc.)

I think it's more about a show of dominance. Just like you can do while training a dog, the more you assert your dominance, the more people will act submissively during the rest of the flight experience. And when people are disobedient, they tend to challenge the least sensible rules first, so having a rule against any electronic device means they'll attempt that rather than the cell phone rule, the seat backs and tray tables rule, the seatbelt rule or the bathroom usage rule.

Re:Misunderstanding of intent (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36274612)

You, sir, are a cynic. :-P

Re:Misunderstanding of intent (1)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 3 years ago | (#36274590)

And that is different from reading a book or napping, how?

Re:Misunderstanding of intent (0)

the_other_chewey (1119125) | more than 3 years ago | (#36274852)

And that is different from reading a book or napping, how?

Headphones.

Yes, the plane's own entertainment system uses headphones too,
but the PA system ties into those, so the crew can still get your attention.

Re:Misunderstanding of intent (1)

demonlapin (527802) | more than 3 years ago | (#36275010)

And yet headphones were OK on flights for a long, long time. The ban on electronics is only about 20 years old (except for radios, which have been forbidden for ages). Lots of flyers had Walkmans (Walkmen?) with them in the 80s.

Re:Misunderstanding of intent (1)

mwvdlee (775178) | more than 3 years ago | (#36275122)

It usually takes some time for rules to adapt to new technology, Portable mediaplayers with headphones was new technology.

Bullshit. (2, Insightful)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | more than 3 years ago | (#36274602)

They don't ban books, or conversations, or any number of other reasons we might ignore those announcements. Also, even if this were the case, it's a bit depressing that the only way they can make this happen is by lying to us on every single flight.

Re:Bullshit. (2)

iluvcapra (782887) | more than 3 years ago | (#36274702)

None of those things can entail headphones or bright colors -- they don't want to get into a whole litany about "you can use electronic devices without headphones, but only ebook readers and only if they don't play music, and no electronic games, but it IS okay to read a book or sleep because we have studies that show that it's easier to wake someone up than to get them to put down a videogame." Just easier to say "put away electronics."

Re:Bullshit. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36274896)

The depressing thing is that they need to do it, otherwise people wont listen.

Flying debris, not "distraction" (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36274656)

They actually tell you to stow it away not to pay attention, but to avoid flying debris. Same reason why you are suppose to put away your paper book too.

Getting hit by an iPad flying at 200mph is quite deadly.

Re:Misunderstanding of intent (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36274780)

So explain why I have to shut off my non-wi-fi-capable ebook reader during take-off and landing?

More importantly, the flight crew has better things to do than become experts in electronic devices. It's easiest to just say shut everything off.

Is your device in airplane mode?
Is your device simply an iPod with no radio?
Is this an Apple iPad or is this a Chinese knockoff that is spewing radio frequencies outside the expected range?
 

Re:Misunderstanding of intent (1)

phme (1501991) | more than 3 years ago | (#36274838)

But it's perfectly ok to read a newspaper?

Seriously? (2)

SuperBanana (662181) | more than 3 years ago | (#36274994)

If the plane has a bird strike and has to ditch in the Hudson, they don't want you to miss announcements because you're busy flinging Angry Birds. It's not about the electronics, it's about them having your attention during the two parts of flight where all the crashes happen.

As someone whose father was a pilot, that is the stupidest thing I've ever heard; if something happens that is important enough, trust me, you'll notice, big time. Foreign Object Damage, for example, if a blade lets loose from the jet engine, will sound like someone set off a bomb on the wing (don't worry, most jet engines these days are designed to contain several blades failing.) And trust me, your flight attendants will make it reaaaaaaally damn clear if they need you to do something, and you'll notice everyone around you, well, doing it.

They don't want your device interfering with instruments during takeoff and especially landing if ILS is in use (now high-accuracy GPS landing systems are becoming more prevalent), and the rule was the best solution they had to "do electronic devices interfere with plane instruments?" You can't test every device out there, even if you only had to test a dozen instruments, and there are thousands of different avionics packages in hundreds of different planes out there. So the easiest assumption is, when hundreds of lives are at stake: turn off the cell phones, keep the portable devices off, etc. Keep in mind that with GPS, the signal from the satellites is about fifty watts, making for incredibly low signal, so even modern gear could be affected what seems like very low leakage by your music player.

My father and I tried an experiment once - back in the late 90's, we fired up an ultraportable laptop with jeppesen data on it while we were on the ground. The damn thing was like an RF bomb. It caused noticeable interference with the radios, the VOR went a little wonky, and the stormscope interpreted some RF noise from the laptop as lightning strikes (noise on the stormscopes is actually fairly common, but the laptop had a clear effect.) Guess what? Being off-course (VOR) has fuel implications, traffic avoidance implications, etc. Yes, pilots are supposed to check and cross-reference stuff (in fact, much of the busy work a pilot or copilot did pre-GPS-everywhere...was checking one navigation system against another...ADF vs VOR vs GPS vs LORAN), but the rule in aviation is to minimize ANY problems, because they have a nasty habit of snowballing. Aviation disaster reports are full of "this little thing wasn't working, and so-and-so didn't repair ____ quite right, and..."

Re:Misunderstanding of intent (1)

demonlapin (527802) | more than 3 years ago | (#36275002)

Have you ever flown on a turbulent flight? When the plane starts dropping precipitously, you know it.

It's not as though anything you'll do prior to the crash is going to help you, except wearing a seatbelt (which you'd be doing anyway). Still, assuming that you've eclipsed that mark, humans are still cooperative enough that the person next to you might just poke you on the shoulder and notify you that, hey, didn't you notice the plane has lost a lot of altitude really fast? And the oxygen mask dropping in your face might be a good cue, too.

Re:Misunderstanding of intent (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36275180)

I always thought it was because a vast majority of the population is incredibly stupid with electronics meaning that just because you personally are aware enough to turn off the wifi (or have a non-wifi device), most people won't know how to do it. By just saying "Turn it off" they cover their bases.

Arguing with your flight attendants to have your device on for the short time from takeoff seems pointless to me. You've got three possibilities here. Either they're smart enough to understand and leave you be (which would cause other people to also start complaining meaning they have to explain exactly how the fuck wifi works to multiple people), stupid enough to just keep insisting that you turn it off since they don't know what you're saying, or they're just trying to follow the rules and tell you to turn it off anyhow.

So late? (1)

Michael_gr (1066324) | more than 3 years ago | (#36274408)

I was working for a company that developed a tablet-like device for airline pilots back in 1996! Sure, it didn't have touch and it was 486 based and it was thicker, but it's really nothing new. What do pilots from other countries use? I won't be surprised to hear that the US is very conservative in this area.

Re:So late? (1)

iluvcapra (782887) | more than 3 years ago | (#36274460)

I was working for a company that developed a tablet-like device for airline pilots back in 1996! Sure, it didn't have touch and it was 486 based and it was thicker, but it's really nothing new.

I think the innovative part is that an iPad can be had for $500 and the pilots can keep it updated without paying hundreds of dollars a year in subscription fees to Jeppesen or some service provider.

Re:So late? (1)

Frosty Piss (770223) | more than 3 years ago | (#36274816)

...and the pilots can keep it updated without paying hundreds of dollars a year in subscription fees to Jeppesen...

It is unlikely that any FAA requirement for flight pubs can be fulfilled by random downloads from the Interwebs. Alaska is almost certainly contracting with Jeppesen for a lot of their material, as Jeppesen is an accepted and RELIABLE source.

Misread (1)

professorflipwig (1420413) | more than 3 years ago | (#36274442)

Did anyone else read the title and think they were throwing iPad manuals out of planes?

Re:Misread (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36274450)

Did anyone else read the title and think they were throwing iPad manuals out of planes?

Chalk one.

Re:Misread (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36274466)

Did anyone else read the title and think they were throwing iPad manuals out of planes?

tout les francais

Re:Misread (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36274472)

Only way it can be read as far as I can tell. My guess is that someone really wanted to have jettison and iPad in the title.

Why PDF? (1, Interesting)

hackertourist (2202674) | more than 3 years ago | (#36274462)

OK, I know why. PDF is easy to create, and they probably already had the documents in PDF formats anyway.

But if they want to do it right, they'll need to at least create PDFs in an iPad-specific format (page size and font size optimized for easy reading, without having to scroll on the page).

Better yet, don't use PDF at all but a format more suited for digital documentation. Even HTML would be a step up.

Re:Why PDF? (3, Informative)

Fnordulicious (85996) | more than 3 years ago | (#36274848)

Navigation charts are bigger and more detailed than what could fit on a single screen, so scrolling is necessary anyway. The navigation plates (terminal procedures, approach, departure, etc.) can fit all on a screen and for the US all of them are already available as PDFs. Here’s an example iPad app that Googling produced: http://www.ipadappsdude.com/plates-chart-viewer-navigation/ [ipadappsdude.com]

Re:Why PDF? (1)

hackertourist (2202674) | more than 3 years ago | (#36274914)

Navigation charts are an example of information that can benefit from being put onto a computer. The computer can overlay the chart with all sorts of information that you need, but can't necessarily find on a navigation chart, like the navigation plates you mention.

The next step would be to provide a GPS input to the reader, so it can place a position marker on the chart, and e.g. automatically pull up the correct navigation plate for the airport you're currently on.

They are giving iPads to pilots? (-1, Troll)

dotonslash (2209002) | more than 3 years ago | (#36274478)

What? Now when things go wrong, pilots will have to fight with these things to get emergency engine restart checklist [thoughts.com] ? At emergency, the good old things work the best. I am not against iPads, but leaving out the paper manuals, its just too much...

Re:They are giving iPads to pilots? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36274496)

Our Emergency Procedures checklists will continue to be available in the cockpit in hardcopy.

Re:They are giving iPads to pilots? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36274522)

Emergency engine restart... lets see, oops.. when the plane lurched when the engine cutout, the iPad fell hard onto the floor and the screen cracked... crap, I can't read the instructions...

"This is the pilot speaking... we've lost and engine, and the digital manuals of the procedure to follow - we're resorting to the one procedure you all know... say your prayers and kiss your butt goodbye, we're going down!"

Re:They are giving iPads to pilots? (1)

CharlyFoxtrot (1607527) | more than 3 years ago | (#36274650)

I'm assuming they had at least 2 physical copies of the procedure manuals on board before in case someone spilled coffee on one or something. Now they can replace 1 with an easier to use digital version and keep the paper backup copy in the supply closet.

Re:They are giving iPads to pilots? (1)

ledow (319597) | more than 3 years ago | (#36274862)

Not sure I'd want to be a commercial airliner where the pilot didn't know such a procedure by heart and had practised it several hundred times in a simulator (or even for real).

If you're digging out bits of paper mid-crash, that's probably the reason you crash.

Caution (2)

jbengt (874751) | more than 3 years ago | (#36275086)

parent link is goatse

Why? (4, Informative)

pushing-robot (1037830) | more than 3 years ago | (#36274486)

So explain why I have to shut off my non-wi-fi-capable ebook reader during take-off and landing?

One, I'm sure they tested that model of iPad thoroughly in their cockpit to make sure it didn't interfere with anything. They also know they weren't modified an any way that could generate additional RF. They didn't test your gadget, and they don't want to take any chances.

Two, people are far more willing to accept small risks when there's a tangible benefit. Switching to iPads saves weight, and thus money. Letting you use your device during take-off and landing doesn't benefit them at all.

Re:Why? (1)

Bacon Bits (926911) | more than 3 years ago | (#36274988)

Letting you use your device during take-off and landing doesn't benefit them at all.

So the technical answer really is "they're assholes"? Good to know!

Re:Why? (1)

Jeremi (14640) | more than 3 years ago | (#36275164)

So the technical answer really is "they're assholes"? Good to know!

If by "assholes", you mean that they're prioritizing the safety of everyone on the plane over your desire to read an e-book during takeoff and landing, then yes, they're assholes.

Non-wifi devices (2)

jjohnson (62583) | more than 3 years ago | (#36274488)

You have to turn off your non-wifi ebook reader because when the flight attendants are getting things going, "turn off all portable electronic devices" is a lot easier and faster than learning to tell which are and which aren't, and checking that those passengers who are still poking a screen are using something non-wifi enabled.

And really, it's not that big a hardship to turn off your device for ten minutes during takeoff.

the iPad is stowed dring takeoff and landing (5, Informative)

YesIAmAScript (886271) | more than 3 years ago | (#36274494)

It's right there in the article, fullymodo.

'The iPad is considered a Class 1 electronic device, meaning it is stowed during takeoff and landing under Federal Aviation Administration regulations.'

So your book reader has to be stowed and this iPad is too.

Re:the iPad is stowed dring takeoff and landing (1, Interesting)

PRMan (959735) | more than 3 years ago | (#36274716)

Hope they don't need to reference the manuals in an emergency takeoff or landing situation...

Re:the iPad is stowed dring takeoff and landing (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 3 years ago | (#36274866)

Hope they don't need to reference the manuals in an emergency takeoff or landing situation...

Me too! If that's the case, then they should probably do something else for a living.

Re:the iPad is stowed dring takeoff and landing (0)

Noughmad (1044096) | more than 3 years ago | (#36274772)

It's right there in the article, fullymodo.

'The iPad is considered a Class 1 electronic device, meaning it is stowed during takeoff and landing under Federal Aviation Administration regulations.'

So your book reader has to be stowed and this iPad is too.

Then what's the point of having it on board, when the majority of accidents happen during takeoff or landing?

Re:the iPad is stowed dring takeoff and landing (1)

CrimsonAvenger (580665) | more than 3 years ago | (#36274806)

Then what's the point of having it on board, when the majority of accidents happen during takeoff or landing?

Well, as to that, if I'm ever in a plane-crashing-disaster-movie sort of situation on take-off or landing, I'm really hoping the pilot isn't up from flipping through the manual at the time....

Re:the iPad is stowed dring takeoff and landing (2)

Splab (574204) | more than 3 years ago | (#36274892)

Actually, during emergencies they are using a quick reference manual on how to get the plane down safely.

(Although quick is a relative term, they are meant for planes at altitude, take the one ditched on the Potomac, they only managed a few checkpoints before they had to ditch the plane.)

Having an iPad for looking up might be good, my personal experience with the iPad is it isn't doing what I want it to do - the advantage of a book with paper in it is you aren't risking a software crash.

Re:the iPad is stowed dring takeoff and landing (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36274944)

Then what's the point of having it on board, when the majority of accidents happen during takeoff or landing?

Well, as to that, if I'm ever in a plane-crashing-disaster-movie sort of situation on take-off or landing, I'm really hoping the pilot isn't up from flipping through the manual at the time....

It happens... go listen to the FDR audio from flight 1549.

Re:the iPad is stowed dring takeoff and landing (1)

Fnordulicious (85996) | more than 3 years ago | (#36274890)

You don’t need plates and charts during takeoff and landing. During those periods you should already know exactly where you are and what you’re doing, and tower will provide any extra advice you need. Paper would be stowed at the same time to keep it from bouncing around the cockpit, so stowing the iPad isn’t really any different. Also since it’s a class 1 electronic device it will be turned off during those two critical periods as well. It’s already legal for IFR general aviation to use things like iPads for navigation reference, it’s just that Alaska Airlines is the first commercial airline to do so.

Re:the iPad is stowed dring takeoff and landing (1)

gman003 (1693318) | more than 3 years ago | (#36274954)

In a takeoff or landing accident, you don't have time to look things up in the manual. An all-engines-out accident at 40,000 ft, you've got nearly a full minute, going straight down. Gliding, potentially a full hour. And that's in what's very close to a worst-case scenario. In a more common accident, such as a malfunction in one engine, you could theoretically continue without fixing it (redundant systems), but you still want to try to fix it, or at least make sure it's not a symptom of something else. So if, say, one engine's fuel pump stops, you can have the pilot continue flying the plane while the copilot looks it up on his iPad, tries a few things to fix it in-flight, and if all fails, makes sure that it isn't a sign of something else going wrong.

Plus, I imagine the manuals are used frequently on the ground. A pre-flight checklist might be on there, or even just maintenance procedures.

Pilots also turn off the iPad below 10,000 feet. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36274508)

In another version of the story ( http://www.king5.com/news/Alaska-Airlines-pilots-using-iPads-in-cockpit-122475984.html ) it says that the pilots also do not use the iPad during the same period that passengers are prohibited from using electronic devices.

a pad of paper isn't expensive if it breaks (0)

kd8our (1996830) | more than 3 years ago | (#36274510)

can't break a pad of paper and if you do it isn't going to set you back a few hundred. also people are not going to steal paper as much and if it is stolen see prior argument. ipads are nice, but they are a high end toy for people with money to blow. there are a handful of situations were a device like this is really useful. apple is better at marketing than any company i know in the tech world. they have people convinced that x86 intel hardware should sell for the prices of over a decade ago. unless the ipad is a stable and supported platform that isn't constantly updated while older versions go unsupported i don't see its use outside of a few areas. no since investing in ipads for the company when 2 years later you got to do it again and the old ones no longer get updates. most places i work for expect about 4-5 years of service out of a desktop or laptop. many of them have abandoned apple over the years because of the falling prices of intel and AMD hardware, once apple jumped to intel they saw little reason for the price. older systems are not supported by the new OS, i can still install XP or 32bit windows 7 on 10 year old PC's i built. the old macs have built up in my closet. i watched numerous graphic desgin departments abandon apple and pic up dell when apple dumped CRT. i don't see anything different with the ipad. it's a nice toy, but for work the market has many tools. i don't see it replacing solid and useful products from the likes of telxon/symbol. nor do i see apple offering long term support for products like those companies. if apple made an industrial version of the ipad that did have long term support, well then i think we might have a winner. it doesn't seem the same company i grew up with.

Re:a pad of paper isn't expensive if it breaks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36274584)

Memory can't be stolen and it weighs less. This shift to paper is a temporary fad.

Re:a pad of paper isn't expensive if it breaks (1)

obarthelemy (160321) | more than 3 years ago | (#36274688)

my guess would be each flight manual is 5 to 10 pads (I've found one @700 pages). might be a tad lighter, and a tad easier to search.

don't let that interrupt your rant, though.

I don't trust anyone (1)

Seven_Six_Two (1045228) | more than 3 years ago | (#36274514)

Is there a chance that wifi disrupts some critical system? Could it also be the case that nobody in their right mind would trust that you *know* it's disabled? Maybe you do, but how about the old lady sitting next to you that really wants to finish the chapter in her Sue Grafton book? Personally, I wouldn't trust anyone while sitting in a chair 30,000 feet in the air.

Re:I don't trust anyone (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36274770)

If wifi devices were really dangerous, then we have a huge security hole because it's terribly easy to leave it on even when stowed. Second, people leave these things on all the time. I've even done this when I didn't notice we were landing.

If this works out (0)

CTU (1844100) | more than 3 years ago | (#36274528)

Will other devices be allowed to be used? I hate Apple, and hope other device like the Kindle or Android based Tablets/ebook readers can be used like they are using the iPad now.

Re:If this works out (2)

Frosty Piss (770223) | more than 3 years ago | (#36274966)

Will other devices be allowed to be used? I hate Apple, and hope other device like the Kindle or Android based Tablets/ebook readers can be used like they are using the iPad now.

Are you a pilot for Alaska? The question might then be relevant, since this story is talking about company-issued flight pubs for Alaska pilots.

Remember, it's a device that replaces company issued / FAA required flight pubs, not a personal eReader for the flight crew. It is company equipment, not personal equipment.

So, my guess is "no", Alaska will not be making their flight pubs available on Kendle of random Android tablets. Why would they?

Speaking of which, a lot of our C17 pilots here at McChord AFB take iPads loaded with pubs and forms and other personal pilot-type apps, on the road with them.

I don't own *any* Apple hardware, I can't afford it. But our guys like the iPad.

what happens when the batteries die? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36274534)

what happens when the batteries die?

Re:what happens when the batteries die? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36274662)

Surely a Kindle DX would be better? (3, Insightful)

Aphrika (756248) | more than 3 years ago | (#36274538)

Easier to read in a cockpit (and they can get real glarey), search across books, longer battery life. I'd also go out on a limb and say they're more reliable...

anyway, as long as they don't start using Flight Control HD to land the damn things, I'll be happy.

Re:Surely a Kindle DX would be better? (1)

Tapewolf (1639955) | more than 3 years ago | (#36274604)

Ewww. I don't know what's in a flight manual, but I tried sticking a Studer A807 service manual on a Kindle once. It's unusable, at least for the circuit diagrams. No way to pan it properly when you're zoomed in, and the display is too small to read the component values when you aren't.

Re:Surely a Kindle DX would be better? (1)

HTMLSpinnr (531389) | more than 3 years ago | (#36275034)

Many private pilots use Kindle DX for their approach plates - the PDF forms are available for free from the FAA. Much better than printing them off or using the bag of thick books that have to be replaced every 56 days. The format of the approach plate is perfect for the DX, who's screen is only slightly bigger than the real plate.

Re:Surely a Kindle DX would be better? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36275116)

Paper manuals have a far longer "battery life" than even an iPad or a Kindle :-P

Oops! (0)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | more than 3 years ago | (#36274594)

Alaska Airlines extends its deepest sympathies and apologies to those affected by the latest plane crash. It is our corporate policy that all fancy electronic gadgets be fully charged at all times. Unfortunately, it appears that our low-wage pilots either disregarded or disobeyed our well-thought-out plan and as a result failed to keep the flight manual's battery charged, sending a fully-loaded passenger flight into the ocean at 600mph. We anticipate a fine by the FAA, but as we bribed the corrupt politician Sarah Palin we don't anticipate any legal problems. Sucks to be you. Sincerely, corporate America.

Great idea! (1)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 3 years ago | (#36274616)

Because as you know, paper books are always running out of battery at the worst possible moment.. and break every time they fall on the floor due to turbulence.

Re:Great idea! (1)

jklovanc (1603149) | more than 3 years ago | (#36274960)

And paper books are never out of date, missing pages and take up such a small volume.

As for batteries running out I bet there will be a charger installed in the cockpit. If that charger dies that probably means the pilot has no electricity at all and reading a manual is the least of his concerns.

So explain why I have to shut off my non-wi-fi ... (2)

Wrath0fb0b (302444) | more than 3 years ago | (#36274628)

Because if there is a crash, your handheld device is going to turn into a flying projectile and womp someone else in the back of the head. In fact, FAA regulations state that all items must be stowed at takeoff and landing for this precise reason -- just because it's handheld now doesn't mean you'll continue to hold on to it.

Re:So explain why I have to shut off my non-wi-fi (2)

John.P.Jones (601028) | more than 3 years ago | (#36274684)

hardcover books should be subject to the same regulations, I'd be willing to chance being whacked with a paperback though, trade paperbacks are a nebulous gray area.

Re:So explain why I have to shut off my non-wi-fi (1)

obarthelemy (160321) | more than 3 years ago | (#36274708)

yes, and the radio waves bounce of the floor and strike you at the back of the head, which is way you have to turn off gsm and wifi radios.

airlines (1)

fishermen7777 (2026898) | more than 3 years ago | (#36274634)

Recently airlines [sekret-znakomstva.ru] demand to switch off all electronics onboard.

Interesting priorities (1)

amanicdroid (1822516) | more than 3 years ago | (#36274642)

"So explain why I have to shut off my non-wi-fi-capable ebook reader during take-off and landing?"

If the pilot is reading a manual during take-off, you've got bigger concerns than what happens to Lennie Small.

iPads are expensive (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36274644)

iPads are expensive, and they will forever be tied up with Apple. Is it worth it?

interesting read... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36274660)

Cheers for that Timothy - I honestly don't know how you have the time to find all these gems, especially when you must be permanently busy sucking steve job's wood :) What will you do when the great evil one croaks...?

If they were a software company (2, Funny)

Cyberllama (113628) | more than 3 years ago | (#36274672)

They'd patent this idea and then sue anyone who tried to follow suit.

replace non-smoking signal (1)

naringas (733106) | more than 3 years ago | (#36274696)

Since all flights are always non-smoking the whole flight, it's about time they replace the (now) useless non-smoking signal with a no-electronics signal.

Re:replace non-smoking signal (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36274740)

I'd prefer they give us smoking back.

Re:replace non-smoking signal (2)

brusk (135896) | more than 3 years ago | (#36275052)

Some planes I've been on have done this.

Screen breaking? (1)

Hadlock (143607) | more than 3 years ago | (#36274706)

iPads have screens that can break. I hope this is a suppliment, rather than outright removal of the paper copies. I'm not *that* old, but I still feel that I could look up "stuck aileron" in the glossary and then find the correct page in the manual faster than I could type those words in on the touchscreen and wait for it to return the results. Especially when we're losing 5000ft of altitude per minute, everyone is panicing, and the whole plane is shaking.

Huston we have a problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36274710)

iPad crash=Airplane crash

Yes I know it isn't that simple I'm just trying to make the point that the technology may not be reliable enough. People have questioned for years why shuttle computers aren't as powerful as PDAs. With the radiation and other factors PDAs would have a potential for failure not to mention they are mass produced crap. Shuttle computers are hardened and they still fail. I'd be more interested in the technology for this use if it was designed for industrial use. Industrial laptops are extremely expensive and lack the power of most laptops but they still function when you run over them with a car and can run under flowing water. Make a professional hardened version of an iPad and I think it's an excellent idea. Otherwise I'd count on redundancy which is hard given the nature of the devices, no removable memory like thumb drives. You need redundant iPads and to have all the information including flight plans loaded into all devices. I'd make sure as well as the pilots and co-pilots that there's one in the cabin that has the updates remotely wifi'ed to it. Pilots are underpaid and over worked these days. Imagine the co-pilot forgets his on the desk and the pilot's goes down right after take off. They are cheap enough to have several back ups. The point is whether cost cutting airlines would bother or not.

eReader (1)

lucian1900 (1698922) | more than 3 years ago | (#36274726)

I would think an eReader would be more appropriate. There are plenty of cheap ones out there, too.

Is she really a pilot? (1)

antdude (79039) | more than 3 years ago | (#36274734)

Is that lady in the photograph/photo. really a pilot? ;)

Re:Is she really a pilot? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36275184)

Ummm...yes? (I don't understand the question... is there some reason to doubt that she's a pilot?)

ugh (2)

Osgeld (1900440) | more than 3 years ago | (#36274754)

You like apple? fine, but historically they are constantly breaking compatibility with themselves which makes it hard for serious people who want a bit more of a long term investment than a buzz-headline.

I see stories like this and think, hunh here is some tard tossing a pile of money down a proprietary hole for what? to look "cool"? Thanks I know where not to waste my money.

bad idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36274774)

this is a really bad idea.
Replacing paper that is durable has withstood the test of time with an electronic device that depends on a charge, cannot be dropped, contains dangerous materials, has an internal cavity, unknown workings, cannot get wet, and sometimes explodes?

Lets say you need to get to page 10 really fast, perhaps in an electrical storm. Paper books rarely fail that test. computer need working ram, disk, pointing device

Re:bad idea (1)

jbengt (874751) | more than 3 years ago | (#36275150)

Lets say you need to get to page 10 really fast,

Note that the pilot's flight kit is big and easily weighs over 50 lbs. You would be about as likely to "need to get to page 967" as to "need to get to page 10" "really fast".

Never had battery die (1)

Katchu (1036242) | more than 3 years ago | (#36274782)

I've never had the battery run down on a paper map.

huh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36274790)

Last flight I took, the plane did a takeoff roll past a megawatt microwave transmitter (the airport radar) and then turned by a megawatt AM broadcast tower.

If that can't get a signal into a poorly built amplifier, then my ipod probably can't either.

Air Canada has done this too. (1)

toby (759) | more than 3 years ago | (#36274822)

Toronto Star [thestar.com] report.

changes to procedures or updates are easily updated electronically, compared with paper. While some manuals remain on board, the move has eliminated about 50 pounds of paper

Fine, but considered for flight charts? iBrick? (1)

VortexCortex (1117377) | more than 3 years ago | (#36274832)

Seriously this is retarded. Doesn't anyone remember how some electronic devices occasionally lock up or outright refuse to boot, and features stop working (alarm clock, Zune brick for a day), due to stupid programming errors concerning time and dates?

IMHO, sure, have tablet PC for in-flight data -- but also have the critical stuff as a paper backup, just incase a retarded developer decides to write their own time/date algorithms instead of using the standard libs (or accidentally creates some other time-bomb)... If it happened before it can happen again.

The great thing about paper is that once you print it out you know the UI and display are going to work later (with a small margin of error). With electronic devices / documents: just because you verified the doc once, doesn't mean it will ever be displayed again (not with any amount of certainty approaching that of paper documents).

this may be redundant (1)

The Dawn Of Time (2115350) | more than 3 years ago | (#36274858)

So explain why I have to shut off my non-wi-fi-capable ebook reader during take-off and landing?

So that you're not fucking with what can very easily become a deadly projectile during the most dangerous parts of the flight.

Re:this may be redundant (1)

demonlapin (527802) | more than 3 years ago | (#36274972)

You're allowed to hold all sorts of non-electronic objects that fit that category. I think it's more about crew not having to determine which device you're actually using.

iPad not a proper EFB. (1)

Knightman (142928) | more than 3 years ago | (#36274992)

Buying iPad's isn't a substitute for proper EFB's (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electronic_flight_bag [wikipedia.org] ), but I guess it will help with the amount of documentation in dead-tree form the pilots have to lug around.

It's a cheap solution that will work in some situations, but if they buy a proper EFB-solution they will get a much better ROI.

Here's one manufacturer of EFB's if want to read up on some of the capabilites EFB's have: http://www.navaero.com/ [navaero.com]

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