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FAA Permits American Airlines To Use iPads In Cockpit "In All Phases of Flight"

timothy posted more than 2 years ago | from the especially-the-angry-birds-phase dept.

Transportation 372

hypnosec writes "American Airlines has announced that it has received permission from FAA to allow its pilots to use iPads in the cockpit during 'all phases of flight.' According to the airlines, the tablet will enable pilots to store documentation in electronic form on the iPad which otherwise weighs 15.876 kg (35 pounds) when in printed form. Use of the digital documentation will enable the airlines to save as much as U.S. $1.2 million of fuel each year." That number sounds both awfully low and awfully specific.

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How about just an iPhone and save even more? (2)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41300585)

What happens if the iPad battery fails, it's not charged, there's a bug in the software, the documentation gets hacked and changes, etc? Resilience Engineering dictates that if something can fail then it will and you'd better have a backup plan. Last time I checked paper didn't run out of power, doesn't get hacked, may have a typo, but certainly doesn't have the myriad of possible failure points that a piece of hardware has.

Re:How about just an iPhone and save even more? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41300769)

Even without power, the iPad is still shiny!

Re:How about just an iPhone and save even more? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41300783)

...you'd better have a backup plan.

because they'd NEVER carry a second, or maybe a third ipad?

Re:How about just an iPhone and save even more? (4, Insightful)

Desler (1608317) | more than 2 years ago | (#41300807)

If the iPad is not charged then obviously they... plug it into the outlet i the cockpit and charge it. And how exactly is their offline documentation going to get 'hacked'? And how would it be any more of a problem then someone maliciousy changing their printed documents?

Re:How about just an iPhone and save even more? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41300933)

Shut up, everyone knows all computers everywhere are completely vulnerable to the magical powers of "hackers"!

Re:How about just an iPhone and save even more? (1)

toriver (11308) | more than 2 years ago | (#41301059)

They hax0r our b0xorz!

Re:How about just an iPhone and save even more? (4, Interesting)

vlm (69642) | more than 2 years ago | (#41300995)

The backup plan is you ask the ATC. Ask a pilot. Even "couple hours training" noob like myself knows that. Its considered extremely bad form to tell the ATC "I'm too Fing lazy to look up the approach plate, whats the ILS freq again?" but if you have an equipment breakdown they have procedures and policies in place for generations now to help you out.

As for plane docs, it doesn't really matter as long as the ipad is highly reliable. You use the same checklist over and over to make sure you don't forget anything... its 99.999% good without a checklist (literally) so once or twice is no big deal.

There is some truth that the ipad will probably be more up to date and less likely to have a page torn out or coffee dumped on it than paper. It'll likely be more reliable as a system, even if it doesn't degrade smoothly.

Re:How about just an iPhone and save even more? (3, Interesting)

Razgorov Prikazka (1699498) | more than 2 years ago | (#41301053)

I totally agree... During an 8 month trip through India & central Asia you won't believe how many travellers I seen who had a nifty kindle/tablet with their travel-guides and maps. Oh the smug faces and hipster-glasses in those LP-reccomended espresso-bars...
Until the battery is empty or the device cant bear the heat/mechanical stress/dust/moist air any longer and all the sudden they have no clue where they are or how to get back.
They are handy, but I would advise everyone to keep a dead-tree-version at hand.
Drop that from >2 meters... it won't matter, just pick it up and dust it off
Submerge under water... it won't matter just dry it and the paper is wrinkly but the info is there for you
Read it for 50 years straight without recharging... it won't matter there are no batteries in there anyway
Keep it in a backpack on top of a bus travelling across pothole-filled jagged roads... it won't matter there is no lcd or e-ink screen to break or mallfunction
Let other people read it... it won't matter, that is not hacking, it is sharing
After learning how to read in primary school there are no additional software upgrades necessary.

So, any electronics to quickly and easily find info on is ok, as long as you DO have a paper-backup copy.
Besides, I always thought that air-planes had everything redundant and double redundant "just in case" anyway!?!

Re:How about just an iPhone and save even more? (2)

Sir_Sri (199544) | more than 2 years ago | (#41301215)

What happens if the iPad battery fails, it's not charged,

Presumably multiple members of the flight crew will each have an iPad or equivalent, and there will probably be a charging port available (regular power outlet).

there's a bug in the software, the documentation gets hacked and changes, etc?

Not net connected iPads likely. Pretty standard systems hardening for the machines you plug them into.

Last time I checked paper didn't run out of power, doesn't get hacked, may have a typo, but certainly doesn't have the myriad of possible failure points that a piece of hardware has.

I lol'd so hard I nearly spilled my afternoon coffee on the book in front of me. Paper fails all the time. It sticks, it tears, the ink fades, stuff gets spilled on it, it accrues crud from your hands on it, and it suffers the same problem of an iPad in being stolen or misplaced.

I'll grant you, the iPad itself doesn't seem like the only, or best, solution to this problem, at least not if you could have a waterproof one. But trying to navigate 16 kilos of paper comes with its own problems.

Open source airline? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41300591)

Is there an open source airline that I can fly on?

Re:Open source airline? (1)

smitty_one_each (243267) | more than 2 years ago | (#41300617)

It's called Air AC:
1. Get license, plane, hangar.
2. ???
3. Profit!

Specific? (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41300599)

Is it just the 15.875 kg that sounds "awfully specific"? Because this is American Airlines, so the actual number is the nice round 35 pounds.

Re:Specific? (1)

postbigbang (761081) | more than 2 years ago | (#41301043)

So the map kits they carry and distribute to thousands of pilots have to be weighted for UPS, and so forth. They know the weight, down to the sheet count, wrapper, etc.

If they know what it takes for a fleet average to carry x pounds, which is pretty easily determined, then the weight of the parcels times the pilots/copilots, and even extra pilots (ever notice that fat attache case they carry?) can be easily translated to projected carriage/fuel cost.

Ye gawds.

Re:Specific? (5, Insightful)

Joce640k (829181) | more than 2 years ago | (#41301109)

What I wanna know is: If saving a few pounds adds up to so much fuel then why aren't they weighing passengers and charging them accordingly? How come an extra bag costs me $50 but the 350lb guy pays the same fare as a 120lb guy?

Not too suprising (4, Informative)

Pikoro (844299) | more than 2 years ago | (#41300603)

Have you ever seen the reams and reams of paper in 3 ring binders that comprise the low and high route maps that a pilot must have on hand, as well as the approach plates needed to do a proper landing?

No reason this should be restricted to apple products as an android tablet would work just as well to view pdf files, but still, very reasonable savings estimate.

Re:Not too suprising (1)

Pikoro (844299) | more than 2 years ago | (#41300693)

Bad form to reply to yourself I know, but what about keeping approach plates and such on a kindle? No real battery issues that way.

Re:Not too suprising (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41300913)

I've searched high and low and there are no programs that I can find for android tablets and there are definitely none for the kindle. The kindle's screen is also less than optimal for some of the nice features that tablet's bring.

Foreflight, for instance, will follow you on the chart and approach plate with GPS. Very nice for SA.

Too bad the Navy says I have to continue to use paper in my helicopter...though there are some good reasons for that

As for the number being too low - it sounds way too high for me. I've never met a pilot that carries every chart with him int he aircraft - just the ones for the route of flight and possibly for adjacent areas for diverts.

Re:Not too suprising (1)

necro81 (917438) | more than 2 years ago | (#41300967)

No reason this should be restricted to apple products as an android tablet would work just as well to view pdf files, but still, very reasonable savings estimate.

Yes and no. I believe the holdup has been more on the hardware side - particularly electromagnetic compatibility - than on the software side. AA, Apple, and perhaps the aircraft mfgs have done the extra legwork in testing to demonstrate that 1) the iPad is reasonably immune to interference in an aircraft setting (because it is just a reader, and doesn't need WiFi or cellular to display charts makes this relatively easy) and 2) does not itself cause interference in the cockpit. The same cannot be said for just any old Android tablet, considering the wide variety of manufacturers out there.

While encouraging to see this becoming more mainstream, this is not the first instance of iPads replacing binders in the cockpit. Alaska Airlines has been doing this for years [slashdot.org] , and the FAA has allowed iPads for private aviators [nytimes.com] for a while, too.

So safety is no longer a factor (3, Interesting)

schwit1 (797399) | more than 2 years ago | (#41300605)

Unless safety never was an issue.

Re:So safety is no longer a factor (4, Funny)

ShieldW0lf (601553) | more than 2 years ago | (#41300733)

Unless safety never was an issue.

Ding ding ding ding ding!!!

We have a WINNER!!!

Re:So safety is no longer a factor (1, Insightful)

msauve (701917) | more than 2 years ago | (#41300833)

There's a difference between having 1 or 2 devices under direct control of the flight crew powered up, and having a hundred devices over which they have only marginal control. And, can you imagine the pissing and moaning which would follow if the FAA said "iPads are OK" for public use, but nothing else.

Re:So safety is no longer a factor (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41300847)

It's probably as much a factor as it was before... meaning that the paper will remain in the cockpit since iWhatevers have absolutely no certification of any kind nor airworthiness computation (number of failures by flight hours). So the savings are probably a lie.

Re:So safety is no longer a factor (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41300859)

safety hasn't been an issue for years. It maybe true that some electronic devices that used RF could affect systems, but that was decades ago before adequate shielding & technology that reduced interference was used introduced.

these days, any airline that says using an ipad or cell phone in a plane is either using an airplane that's way past it's use by date, or they are wanting you to pay them for their entertainment services. if an airplane can be affected by RF or electronic gadgets, then there is definitely something wrong & dangerous in it's design. airplanes even use Microwave ovens & they are an extremely powerful RF transmitter. as for RFI (radio frequency interference) that could possibly interfere with the pilots communications to the ATC, the technology & filtering in modern day equipment is far superior to decades ago & is likely not to cause any interference whatsoever.

it's the same with the notices that say you can't use cell phones in gas stations. not once has there ever been a petrol station forecourt explode due to someone using his phone whilst filling his tank up with petrol. the only incident I can ever recall was once over 20yrs ago a petrol pump ignited whilst someone was using a CB radio, they automatically jumped on the fact he was using a CB, but it is well known today that the CB radio wasn't the cause of the ignition, what most likely caused the ignition was the fact the man was wearing a nylon/polyester football shirt which are highly prone to static electricity, it is considered that a static discharge caused by the shirt was most likely cause of the ignition.

Re:So safety is no longer a factor (1)

Desler (1608317) | more than 2 years ago | (#41300919)

Except that the ban on electronic devices was mostly due to fear not facts.

Re:So safety is no longer a factor (1)

mdsharpe (1051460) | more than 2 years ago | (#41300923)

Exactly. What happens when a bug causes the iPad or the doc reader app to crash? You can't tell me the OS and app were designed as safety-critical systems.

Re:So safety is no longer a factor (1)

Desler (1608317) | more than 2 years ago | (#41300997)

Because clearly they will never actually do any testing before deploying this... No all these airlines and the FAA are just too dumb to have thought of something like testing.

Re:So safety is no longer a factor (1)

mdsharpe (1051460) | more than 2 years ago | (#41301125)

That's not really my point. To my knowledge, iOS is not intended as a safety-critical system, in the same way Windows isn't. Perhaps these documents are not safety critical, but as much as the airlines might do "testing", they cannot guarantee there's not a bug lurking in there.

Say what you like about printed books... (1, Troll)

QilessQi (2044624) | more than 2 years ago | (#41300607)

...but they won't become unusable if you accidentally smash their screens against something hard during unexpected turbulence.

Re:Say what you like about printed books... (1)

agentgonzo (1026204) | more than 2 years ago | (#41300857)

Same thing goes for the pilot's eyeballs. I'm pretty sure they're smart enough to think of taking a spare.

Re:Say what you like about printed books... (1, Troll)

vlm (69642) | more than 2 years ago | (#41301093)

If you prefer platform redundancy, install "Naviator" or any of the other competitors on the pilot's (and copilot's) android phone.

http://www.naviatorapp.com/ [naviatorapp.com]

Re:Say what you like about printed books... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41301173)

They do become unusable when you drop the stack of papers and they scatter... or if you set them on fire. Or if you spill your coffee on them.

Hope it's not IMPORTANT documentation (2, Insightful)

crazyjj (2598719) | more than 2 years ago | (#41300611)

According to the airlines, the tablet will enable pilots to store documentation in electronic form on the iPad which otherwise weighs 15.875 kg (35 pounds) when in printed form.

That's great, as long as the documentation in question isn't actually vital or particularly important. I'd hate to think of a pilot realizing his iPad is running low on power just when he needs critical info...or realizing that some things are still a lot better on a printed page (like a big fold-out schematic). "Mayday...I'm going down because the airline decided to save a buck by converting our fuel system diagram to a fucking app!...over."

Re:Hope it's not IMPORTANT documentation (5, Informative)

Coz (178857) | more than 2 years ago | (#41300687)

It's the rolling bags of charts they have to carry with them whenever they fly. There are regulations that specify what charts they have to carry; all in all, a "Jep Bag" is about 35 pounds, and both pilots carry one. If they're using a Electronic Flight Bag app for the iPad, that's a pretty straightforward conversion of mass and very specific savings.

Re:Hope it's not IMPORTANT documentation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41300837)

You missed everything the op was trying to make clear.

Are the charts they need to carry vital information? Cause there are a lot more scenarios where you can not retrieve the info from the pad while you still could from paper.

Also, theres restrictions on the passengers for their cellphones and computers during take off and landing. The pilots are now allowed to use electronics in the cockpit, which seems to be a more vulnerable location for electronic interference then the passenger seats, during all phases of the flight. That includes take off and landing.

Re:Hope it's not IMPORTANT documentation (1)

Githaron (2462596) | more than 2 years ago | (#41300959)

What documents could they even be carrying that are considered critical/vital for a safe landing?

Re:Hope it's not IMPORTANT documentation (1)

OzPeter (195038) | more than 2 years ago | (#41300887)

It's the rolling bags of charts they have to carry with them whenever they fly. There are regulations that specify what charts they have to carry;

I think the point the OP was trying to make could be summed up as:

You can rip the charts in two and you can still use them,
But if you break an iPad in two then it is unusable as a chart.

I know that planes have glass cockpits nowadays, but they still also have basic analog backup instruments as well, so this change is effectively transferring the charts from one class of tool to another (analog to digital). But as IANACP I don't know how this change affects flight safety. Presumably the FAA does know the answer to this.

Immediate updates, faster communication? (1)

acidradio (659704) | more than 2 years ago | (#41300911)

I'm assuming that AA has or will have Wi-Fi installed at the gates for this and that the pilots will sync the iPads as they get from station to station. I see a couple of neat possibilities:

- Immediate and instant update of flight charts and manual pages. Instead of the pilots (hundreds or even thousands!) having to update pages/plates in their Jepp books and other manuals - a very ardous and regular task that everyone has to be compliant on - you can send out updates instantly. The whole company can be instantly updated in a matter of hours or a day.
- E-mail! When I worked in the airlines I can't tell you how many pilots popped into our flight ops area to borrow a computer to check e-mail, connect with crew scheduling or check updates to schedules, etc. We of course were always glad to share our computer but this makes it a lot easier and quicker for the pilots to do so without having to go anywhere.
- Paperless workflow. Granted airplanes are required to carry a logbook for maintenance purposes (still on paper) but this could help facilitate maintenance writeups if they could find a different way to do this. The pages in the aircraft maintenance logbook are usually 5-ply carbonless copy papers and are difficult to read. The lines are tiny and just try writing in one while the plane is flying and you hit a bump here and there! If they could enter the maintenance writeups into an iPad and sync it when they get on the ground (or maybe even with the inflight Wi-Fi products?) that could get the wheels spinning faster for maintenance and reduce the need for actual physical paperwork.

Re:Hope it's not IMPORTANT documentation (1)

Big Hairy Ian (1155547) | more than 2 years ago | (#41300773)

Thats ok just wait for the new Airbus A390 that enables fly by USB :)

Re:Hope it's not IMPORTANT documentation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41300969)

Actually, Airbus continues to push for MS Windows in the cockpit. Scariest thing imaginably. Thankfully, even Gates laughed Airbus out of their office when he saw what was needed.

But that shows the difference between Airbus and other companies such as Boeing.

Re:Hope it's not IMPORTANT documentation (1)

Baloroth (2370816) | more than 2 years ago | (#41300867)

So you are assuming they put an iPad into the cockpit but didn't think of a charger? Besides, both pilot and co-pilot will almost certainly be carrying one, and they might even have a backup onboard just in case. Probably be a lot easier to find important information as well: 35 pounds is a few thousand pages at least, and flipping through that in the confines of a cockpit is probably a major PITA.

Re:Hope it's not IMPORTANT documentation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41301075)

To say nothing of staying up on the NOTAMS. In fact, several major accidents were caused because the pilots did not get the NOTAMs in time, so did not know that the normal runway was closed down.

Re:Hope it's not IMPORTANT documentation (5, Insightful)

multipartmixed (163409) | more than 2 years ago | (#41300905)

I'd hate to think of a pilot realizing his iPad is running low on power just when he needs critical info..

I'd hate to think of a pilot realizing his fuel tank is running low on fuel just when he needs to perform a critical maneuver (like not crash).

I wonder how the heck they solved that problem?!?!?!

Re:Hope it's not IMPORTANT documentation (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41301003)

The fuel system diagram - not all that useful in flight in most cases. If you are having a fuel emergency, good chance you won't have time to look up the diagram much less understand it. Regardless - the FAR's state you must have a copy of the POH in the aircraft. That's something rarely updated that isn't that big of a deal. But the High/Low enroutes, the WACs, sectionals, high/low approach plates, locally designed checklists and procedures. Yeah that stuff is constantly updated. Expensive. Heavy.

I'm sure they have back ups and procedures in place to ensure there are no low battery issues any ways.

Re:Hope it's not IMPORTANT documentation (2)

Desler (1608317) | more than 2 years ago | (#41301035)

You realize they've had power outlets in the cockpits for quite some time, right? Oh no! How will the pilot ever figure out how to plugin a power cable!

what about cost of charging iPad? (0)

AbhiTheOne (2717543) | more than 2 years ago | (#41300615)

I believe cost of charging iPad could be more than the fuel saved by decreasing the weight.

Re:what about cost of charging iPad? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41300639)

You would believe wrong.

Re:what about cost of charging iPad? (-1, Troll)

Dog-Cow (21281) | more than 2 years ago | (#41300735)

I believe you're an unimaginably stupid shit who should die painfully.

The difference between you and me is that you're wrong.

Re:what about cost of charging iPad? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41301141)

The difference between you and me is that you're wrong.

And that you, apparently, are an asshole -- thereby being a stupid shit who should also die painfully.

Grow up. If you've been around long enough to have a 5-digit id, surely you've learned not to be such a fucking douchebag.

Re:what about cost of charging iPad? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41300743)

Indeed! That's why the MPG of my car increases when I don't use my headlights!
 
[/sarc]

Re:what about cost of charging iPad? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41301051)

Cost to charge an iPad every other day for 1 year: $2 [softpedia.com]

Cost to carry 1 pound of payload 1000 miles on a 777 is : $0.04 [flyertalk.com]

Average number of miles a 777 flys in a year : 150,000 [tumblr.com]
In 1 year it takes the 150000/1000*0.04 $60 bucks to fly 1 pound of play load.

The weight of the iPad is 2 pounds [apple.com]
In 1 year it takes $120 to fly an iPad.

30 pounds of flight manuals takes 30*60=$1800

Replacing 30 pounds of flights manuals with an iPad saves $1680 every year. Of course this is just a rough back of the envelope calculation.

Gym (2)

Koyaanisqatsi (581196) | more than 2 years ago | (#41300637)

Get those pilots and flight attendants to the gym *now*!

Lets tackle global warming, a pound at a time ...

Re:Gym (1)

characterZer0 (138196) | more than 2 years ago | (#41300831)

The passengers too.

Re:Gym (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41301023)

The passengers too.

Yes, this is *american* airlines after all... /ducks

Re:Gym (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41300897)

This is why their should be a maximum seat width. Get all the fatties to pay for the extra flab they transport from one city to the next.

before you retards... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41300659)

before you retards go all apeshit. Note that this means that they completed EMI/EMC testing against a specific aircraft configuration, with the devices in specific configurations. That means specific hardware/software version of the ipad, and specific hardware/software versions of the aircraft. Their operating permit requires inspections, configuration audits, and continuous validation. TFA is a worthless piece of shit. They spent roughly a million dollars on the engineering and supporting testing for this.

Only now? unbelievable. (4, Informative)

Michael_gr (1066324) | more than 2 years ago | (#41300665)

I worked for a startup that designed a tablet-style device to hold flight manuals and maps for airliners. That was back in 1996. The device was bulkier than an ipad but did not weight 16Kg, and had a respectable 800X600 color display. I'm pretty sure tablets and/or laptops have been used since then in the cockpit - so the news here is proabably that the FAA approving yet another device.

The Sound of FUD (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41300675)

"Use of the digital documentation will enable the airlines to save as much as US $1.2 million of fuel each year."

Really? I think they mean removal of the paper manual will help save fuel each year.
I bet they are not allowed to just have just the digital documentation and must have the paper manual as backup.
So they will be spending more on fuel each year.

Re:The Sound of FUD (0, Troll)

Dog-Cow (21281) | more than 2 years ago | (#41300763)

You have no fucking idea what FUD is.

Please kill yourself.

Re:The Sound of FUD (1)

Desler (1608317) | more than 2 years ago | (#41300877)

How is that statement FUD? What fear, uncertainty or doubt is it spreading? Also, no, they won't have to have paper backups though the National Business Avaiation Association does recommend having paper backups for a transitional period. From [nbaa.org]

When transitioning to a paperless cockpit, FAA approval is not required, however it is recommend that operators carry paper backup materials during the initial transition period. The pilot in command of the aircraft is ultimately responsible for ensuring that the proper aeronautical charts are available for the flight, so it is important to validate the reliability of the iPad during the transition.

Re:The Sound of FUD (1)

Desler (1608317) | more than 2 years ago | (#41300889)

Link got fucked. It's here [nbaa.org] .

Online Charts Beat the Heck Out of Paper Ones (3, Informative)

buddhaunderthetree (318870) | more than 2 years ago | (#41300679)

If you've ever used any of the online chart apps, you understand what this is all about. They are simply phenomenal and beat the heck out of paper charts that may or may not be up to date. But to be honest they're probably of more use to private pilots who may not be in touch with ATC during every part of their flight.

Electronics (5, Insightful)

mfh (56) | more than 2 years ago | (#41300681)

See? I knew it was okay to use electronics during takeoff and landing! The pilots are using them!!! SEE??!?!!

Re:Electronics (2)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 2 years ago | (#41300811)

So is the aircraft, come to think of it.....

Re:Electronics (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41301061)

The cell phone rule is idiotic. That said, during take off and landing, it's a critical phase of flight. That's when things usually go wrong. I would prefer passengers be ready to evacuate and/or assume crash positions (actually very effective) and not listening to a podcast or metallica at full blast.

Re:Electronics (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41301185)

See? I knew it was okay to use electronics during takeoff and landing! The pilots are using them!!! SEE??!?!!

I'd like to be on that flight when you say that to the cocktail waitress/waiter.

They don't like it when you challenge their authoret-ay - even when pointing out the obvious inconsitencies and ridiculousness of so called FAA rules (Rember all the trouble with the iTouch "Airplane Mode"?). At least recently, they are stating it's an airline rule instead of the blanket "it's an FAA rule" - I guess to many people asked for the FAR number to back it up.

Next Question (4, Interesting)

Sparticus789 (2625955) | more than 2 years ago | (#41300701)

So when can I start using my iPad during "all phases of the flight"?

Re:Next Question (0)

davmoo (63521) | more than 2 years ago | (#41300827)

You can use your iPad when you are the pilot and are qualified to make flight-specific safety evaluations.

Re:Next Question (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41300875)

*pfft*

Re:Next Question (2)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 2 years ago | (#41300885)

So when can I start using my iPad during "all phases of the flight"?

The big issue is not the electronic part, but the 'it hurts if it hits you on the head' part. iPads, iPhones, Galaxy whatevers can be nice little missiles in the event of a crash. Of course, a hardback book is gonna hurt if tossed at you 50 mph so the current regs aren't all that logically consistent.

I read somewhere and too lazy to look it up, that the FAA is considering lowering the 'cabin electronics are OK' altitude to 5000 feet. Tell your kids, they might get to see it someday.

Re:Next Question (1)

Jeremi (14640) | more than 2 years ago | (#41301005)

So when can I start using my iPad during "all phases of the flight"?

Pretty soon [computerworld.com] .

Re:Next Question (1)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 2 years ago | (#41301037)

So when can I start using my iPad during "all phases of the flight"?

Probably never. The last time I flew I wasn't even allowed to have my iPad in the seat pocket during takeoff due to some unspecified fear it might burst into flames -- and I'm not kidding. They made me put it back into my luggage in the overhead bin.

That number sounds ... awfully specific (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41300707)

I presume the number in question is the weight of the manuals. The manuals weight about 35 pounds. Some innumerate idiot then converted that approximate weight to a metric version with five significant figures.

Re:That number sounds ... awfully specific (2)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 2 years ago | (#41300915)

I presume the number in question is the weight of the manuals. The manuals weight about 35 pounds. Some innumerate idiot then converted that approximate weight to a metric version with five significant figures.

Everybody knows that the metric system is more accurate.

So... (1)

Loki_666 (824073) | more than 2 years ago | (#41300713)

Does Microsoft Flight Simulator exist for the iPad now?

An iPad within inches of the instrument panel... (1)

Marble68 (746305) | more than 2 years ago | (#41300717)

I wonder if this means that someday soon us passengers will be able to listen to music on our iphone / droid or read on our ipad / nook / fire during take off and landing?

Re:An iPad within inches of the instrument panel.. (1)

agentgonzo (1026204) | more than 2 years ago | (#41300957)

Do what I do. Start it paused, but then put your phone/pad/musicy in your pocket and say to the stewards when they ask that the music is off but you're using your headphones as ear defenders to make the flight quieter. Then slip your hand in your pocket and start it playing again. I do this even if I'm not listening to music, just to make the takeoff quieter. If I'm not listening to music I'll have the other end of the headphones unplugged and in obvious view for their benefit.

Re:An iPad within inches of the instrument panel.. (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41300963)

The best argument I've heard for the "real" reason you aren't allowed to use electronics during takeoff and landing isn't EMI or any other "technical" reason. It is because the crew wants two things. 1) Less distractions for the passengers. If an emergency were to arise, they want your full, undivided attention. No one saying "what was that? I was listening to Beiber". 2) Less items flying around in the event of a bad landing/takeoff. Accidents happen and an iPod at 200 MPH can probably ding you pretty good.

Practice makes perfect (1, Funny)

rriegs (1540879) | more than 2 years ago | (#41300729)

Finally, all those hours playing Flight Control in the Apple Store are about to pay off!

Only pilots? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41300731)

How come pilots get to use a tablet when they're flying a plane but I don't get to use a tablet when I'm driving a car? It makes no sense!

Re:Only pilots? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41300921)

How come pilots get to use a tablet when they're flying a plane?

There are two pilots.
Commercial aircraft have collision avoidance systems
They aren't 20 feet away from someone going nuts and slamming on their brakes for no reason.

Now, turn off your fscking phone and pay attention to DRIVING.

Re:Only pilots? (1)

Githaron (2462596) | more than 2 years ago | (#41301045)

For the most part, the planes fly themselves.

You can be specific about fuel savings (2)

moonwatcher2001 (2710261) | more than 2 years ago | (#41300741)

I worked at Boeing on two new airplane projects. The aircraft manufacturers and the airlines know almost exactly how much fuel is consumed per pound of aircraft weight.

Electronic Subsitutions Not Suitable for Industry (2)

Arabian Nights (2597797) | more than 2 years ago | (#41300779)

As a professional researcher, it's much more reliable to use the paper version of manuals and hardware documentation.

I'm all for consolidating text and tasks to a convenient gizmo for personal use, but when it comes to work, you can't be at the mercy of a power outage, dead battery, virus, etc, when you need to reference something important. We keep paper logbooks for a reason, and I'm surprised to hear the airline industry is forsaken what works flawlessly for snappy, computer interfaces.

Re:Electronic Subsitutions Not Suitable for Indust (1)

Desler (1608317) | more than 2 years ago | (#41300965)

Except the sysytem of constantly updating printed books is not flawless at all in the airline industry. If it was they wouldn't be going electronic in the first place. It takes way more effort to constantly print and disperse new updates to charts than to push a new documentation update on the EFB app.

Re:Electronic Subsitutions Not Suitable for Indust (1)

agentgonzo (1026204) | more than 2 years ago | (#41300999)

As a researcher you probably have the benefit of large work-tables to spread the papers out on and the luxury of not having to pay a non-negligible sum of money for the weight of all your research papers and probably have the luxury of ample storage. Airline pilots don't have those.

Plus they can quite probably counteract the problems of power outages, dead batteries, viruses etc but taking a charger or indeed (gasp!) a second one (which I believe is the plan).

Re:Electronic Subsitutions Not Suitable for Indust (4, Interesting)

tlhIngan (30335) | more than 2 years ago | (#41301025)

As a professional researcher, it's much more reliable to use the paper version of manuals and hardware documentation.

I'm all for consolidating text and tasks to a convenient gizmo for personal use, but when it comes to work, you can't be at the mercy of a power outage, dead battery, virus, etc, when you need to reference something important. We keep paper logbooks for a reason, and I'm surprised to hear the airline industry is forsaken what works flawlessly for snappy, computer interfaces.

Power outage - well, if the plane's running on batteries, I think you have a bigger problem than worrying about following the approach plates in the iPad. And I'm sure the cockpit can have neat little things called 'charging ports' so your iPad can be charged from aircraft power.

Though, for the vast majority of flight, the ipad will sit in the flight bag unused so as long as it's reasonably charged (more than 10% battery - which would give roughly an hour's worth of usage, which is plenty for most flights).

Virus - well, ATC systems often use Windows, and those are a touch more vulnerable than say, an iPad. We are talking walled garden here after all (and "jailbreaking" is a pretty foreign term for them).

The *interesting* thing is the iPad, while there are a few aviation apps (ported from iOS) for Android, it seems the vast majority concentrate on iOS, and the iPad specifically (very little for the iPhone).

The aviation world has gone nuts for the iPad, primarily because an iPad with an AHRS system (total cost under $2000) can serve as a pretty good GPS system with a larger screen and better battery life. It beats having to retrofit a glass cockpit in your plane (if one's available - you're looking at easily $50k+ all in), a penel-mount GPS unit ($10k+), and cost-competitive with many handheld GPS units (around $2k). Except the iPad can also help you file your flight plan, do flight planning, and has a larger screen (and is more user (pilot) friendly). About the biggest complaint is the inability to use it with gloves.

You should check out the aviation mags from around 2010 or so - they all went ga-ga for the iPad and possibilities for pilots. These days, reading those mags you'd think every pilot uses one.

Re:Electronic Subsitutions Not Suitable for Indust (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41301133)

It might be more reliable, but when you can economically replace every single square inch of paper space with tablet space, there is a real incentive to do it. The ability to quickly search electronically through large documents can be a leap in productivity.

Really? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41300851)

So how can the pilots get iPads during all phases of the flight. Yet, Alec Baldwin can't play Words with Friends? Remember this is the same American Airlines...

http://www.nypost.com/p/news/national/alec_baldwin_thrown_off_flight_at_ikgro0tlAWEveH4IMoa4YK

Conversely (4, Funny)

codepigeon (1202896) | more than 2 years ago | (#41300883)

In related news Andriod devices are not allowed in the cockpit becuase Apple has a patent on "using handheld electronic devices in a cockpit".

I Wonder... (2)

FurtiveGlancer (1274746) | more than 2 years ago | (#41300955)

Do they have to be in "Airplane" mode?

Seriously, I haven't been able to find (in a lunch at my desk search) any clear direction on the mode of operation required. Anyone know?

Paper charts still needed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41301009)

While I can see the attraction of a tablet for some purposes, there are plenty of occasions where a STAR or SID chart needs to be in view during the approach.

Even on modern airliners with glass cockpits it's not unusual for a paper chart to be clipped to the control column or onto the glareshield or next to the DV window for reference, sometimes airlines fly into places where the FCMS doesn't have an approach chart or a recent update hasn't made it into the database.

Red herring (3, Informative)

ehud42 (314607) | more than 2 years ago | (#41301017)

For large airlines, that 35lb argument is such a red herring. $1.2 million in fuel savings when spread out per flight has to be so far below the noise floor as to be completely meaningless. Any change in fuel consumption over the year that small can be contributed to so many other factors.

I know I can sometimes flip through a large book that I am very familiar with to find what I'm looking for faster than I can type the words into a search engine - especially when I'm not 100% sure on what word I'm looking for, but I'll know it when I see it. How much fuel does a 747 burn idling while a pilot tries typing in different key words looking for that section he knows deals with the quirk at hand?

On a typical jet carrying 200+ passengers, there is going to be more than 35lbs of weight fluctuation in the level of water retention among the passengers.

Fuel burn is also related to temperature, humidity and wind speed. Will they see the fuel savings when factoring in all that entropy?

Maybe the weight makes a difference on a small 206 Caravan, but for these big birds, call a spade a spade - the pilots want their toys.

Angry Birds in the cockpit (0)

realsilly (186931) | more than 2 years ago | (#41301039)

My fear is some pilot will ignore warning lights or some important indicator because he/she is playing angry birds. All passengers would soon learn the proper trajectory for taking out a structure.

Re:Angry Birds in the cockpit (3, Interesting)

codepigeon (1202896) | more than 2 years ago | (#41301205)

I work in the aviation industry. I hate to break it to you but I have talked to pilots who admit to playing games on their laptops while flying. It gets boring sitting up there for hour on hours every day.

Geese (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41301069)

The geese(passengers) will sit down and STFU or the geese will get the hose.

Cost of making binders (1)

netdigger (847764) | more than 2 years ago | (#41301121)

Think of how much they are going to save now that they don't have to produce the binders. I'm sure that it costs a lot to produce 35 pounds of paper materials. And how often do they have to reproduce them. It will cost less then the price of the iPads in a few years.

Cloud! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41301123)

Store it in the Cloud!

not really any weight savings (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41301137)

as they'll still need the paper copies for use during take-off and landing...

ForeFlight (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41301203)

ForeFlight is an amazing piece of software, and definitely the reason pilots are lobbying for iPads in the cockpit.

- A pilot

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