FAA Approves Use of iPads
The newest devices in consumer technology are usually absorbed into the business community at some point and the better the devices the quicker they are absorbed. That has been especially true of the iPad as more and more people are seeing how many things the devices can do. Restaurants and bars have already handing out iPads as a way to both view the menu and browse around the company websites so their patrons get a better feel for where they are eating or drinking but the biggest step in integrating the iPad into everyday use might have come with the announcement that the FAA has approved the use of the iPad as an electronic flight manual.
The usual flight manual that is made of paper weighs in at a cumbersome 40 pounds and several thousand pages and can be a bit of a job to go through the thing. Using the iPad, all of these pages and pounds can be replaced by the iPad which weighs in at a less than hefty 1.5 pounds. Before this ruling, the airport cockpit had a ton of books that actually came together as the flight manual, but the iPad will be able to serve as the rules and regs packet as well as the flight log and everything else that makes up the 40 pounds of manual.
Technically, this is actually the second step in a multi-tiered approach to moving from totally paper manuals to digital. In May, Alaska Airlines was given permission by the FAA to use iPads to use for digital flight, performance and systems manuals that eventually cut 25 of the 40 pounds of paper that is used in the cockpit. Being able to reduce the amount of weight that is carried around is just part of the upside that is involved in using iPads. The digital flight manuals also allow the pilots to access whatever information they need quicker and easier. The iPad manuals have a ton of hyperlinks that allow the pilots to get even more information as well as full color, interactive graphics.