ipad flight bag cockpit

As most of you have probably heard by now, flight bags are going digital. This means that pilots are getting approval to replace their 30-40lb bags of paper company and flight manuals with a 1.5lb tablet—typically an iPad.

American Airlines is on the forefront of the movement, and it has just begun installing iPads in the cockpits of its MD-80 fleet. And the folks over at AOL’s Gadling travel blog were able to catch one of them in action…

American is loading up the new iPads with company and Jeppesen flight manuals, approach plates and more. In fact, as noted in the video, American is the first airline to receive approval for paperless Jeppesen manuals.

To get approval, the iPads were outfitted with Hypermac backup batteries—which can extend battery life up to 24 hours—as well RAM mounts to secure the tablets in the cockpit. They also underwent a range of testing.

“To get that approval, American had to have the iPad tested in a hypobaric chamber to simulate how the device would handle during a rapid decompression. They also had to arrange for mount testing with the FAA, which is ironic since our manuals weigh far more than the iPad and aren’t secured in place. Many takeoffs have resulted in a book or two sliding off the side table and onto the floor.”

Next up on the list, says Gadling’s Kent Wien, is replacing the “reams of dot matrix printed paperwork” that pilots are required to carry. Once that happens, and weather is added to the iPad, cockpits will be truly paperless.

  • Awesome

  • Kaptivator

    So I guess they can’t insist for others to turn off their electronic devices anymore? Even though I never do.

  • mattkin22

    Will they have to use Airplane Mode?

  • What App is that? 😛 I can use it with Flight Simulator

  • mhchehade

    Fasten your seat belt and turn off all of your electronic devices

  • wonderboydave

    and then the plane crashes cuz he was playing angry bird.

  • amagine him playing angry birds while controling the plane! -_-

  • Scott

    The company I fly with has been using iPads for some time. American has been using them for over a year and is one of the early adopters on the airline side but they’ve been in use on the corporate side for some time. There are a couple of different systems, but they are fantastic to use. They allow us to see our position overlaid on charts and, arguably the best feature, on taxiway diagrams. The increase in situational awareness is amazing and contributes to overall safety in a huge way, not to mention the weight savings of not having all the plates on board.