First commercial pilots started getting iPads, and now military pilots want in — the U.S. Air Mobility Command is planning to buy up to 18,000 iPad 2 tablets "or equal devices," replacing heavy flight bags that pilots use to stow their charts and other flight materials. The devices will apparently be used on the C-5 Galaxy and C-17 Globemaster. The Air Force Special Ops Command is also planning to buy 2,861 iPad 2s for its crews.
"Moving from a paper-based to an electronically-based flight publication system will not only enhance operational effectiveness, it can also save the Department of Defense time and money," Maj. Gen. Rick Martin, the director of operations for the Air Mobility Command, said in a statement.
The military is calling them "electronic flight bags," hoping the iPads could replace the heavy notebooks full of aviation charts, regulations and other material that pilots must carry. This is already catching on in the commercial sector, too — in December, the FAA granted approval for American Airlines to start using iPads, though they haven't started yet. United Airlines, Alaska Airlines and even UPS are also planning to use tablets in the cockpit.
It's primarily an issue of weight and simplicity, according to the military. The Mobility Command's flight charts are updated every 28 days, which equates to 70 pounds of paper per aircraft that must be sorted and updated. It's time-consuming to wade through it all, and the added weight could also be a problem, even on airplanes designed to carry enormously heavy cargo.
"With limited space in the cockpit and the amount of paper that each crew has to manage, it can quickly become controlled chaos," said Maj. Pete Birchenough, who has been testing the tablet program at Travis Air Force Base in California.
Though iPads are certainly lighter and sleeker than a binder full of Jeppesen charts, they are certainly not perfect. Not all pilots want them to replace their trustworthy paper charts. And imagine what could go wrong if the homescreen froze. Or if the pilots forgot to charge them ... would anyone have some spare Jepps showing Iranian airspace? There are clearly still a few backup plans and kinks to work out.
Pilots won't necessarily be able to use them as all-purpose tablets, either, potentially having limited access to game apps or other personal uses. Still, iPads in the civilian and military skies is definitely an interesting future. Co-contributor Clay wonders if AMC will rename a fighter squadron "The Angry Birds" in celebration of the event.
[via IB Times]
Pretty soon the Ipad will surpass the pilot too!!!
Great idea... Because iToys are so much more reliable than paper.
Hmm wasnt there something to do with pilots getting distracted by a laptop AND MISSING THE CITY THEY WERE FLYING TO
this seems like the opposite direction I would take things from that incident
I wish they weren't so bent on getting iPads. Not that I have anything against iPads, it's just that there have to be cheaper options to fulfill the intended use.
iPad is now mandatory for both pilots at Alaska Airlines and has been for weeks now, making Alaska the first major airline using iPads to replace paper manuals. iPad replaced Flight Operations Manual and Flight Handbook, making my flightbag about 10lbs lighter. 20lbs worth of Jeppesen charts to go.
Sounds smart for old plaines, but why would pilots not download everything from groundcontrol in the latest plains, including the latest forecasts and warnings and perhaps radarimages with militairy planes? This need to be checked offcourse by the pilots, but everyone alive should get better educated about the dangers of using networks or the internet. Next step is offcourse flying without co-pilot, after all you only need a pilot when all computers fail in a passengers UAV. Perhaps the old school pilots can have a kind of steward job with Easyjet. Maybe flights for USD 100.00 between the USA and Europe?
Or you could have a Hercules drop armored vehickles or artillary by a freight UAV in a hot zone. Offcourse 'getting hijacked' will get a new meaning. But then again it supposedly already happened above Iran.
99% of commercial aircraft use a device called an FMS - Flight Management System. The departure and approach procedures are programmed into them already. Pilots only use the paper charts in case of an aborted approach procedure. Keep up to date.
Major airline pilot - requests progressive taxi.
Tower - Don't you have your airport diagram?
Pilot - I had to turn it off from decent until the doers open.
§ 91.21 Portable electronic devices.
(a) Except as provided in paragraph (b) of this section, no person may operate, nor may any operator or pilot in command of an aircraft allow the operation of, any portable electronic device on any of the following U.S.-registered civil aircraft:
(1) Aircraft operated by a holder of an air carrier operating certificate or an operating certificate; or
(2) Any other aircraft while it is operated under IFR.
(b) Paragraph (a) of this section does not apply to—
(1) Portable voice recorders;
(2) Hearing aids;
(3) Heart pacemakers;
(4) Electric shavers;
Do they make a shaver attachment for the ipad I wonder. Hey I can use my laptop as a voice recorder!
This is good from a weight and ability to update standpoint, but my ipad2 is terrible in terms of doing what I want it to do when navigating documents. It will constantly close without warning, not go back, show a menu that I can't get rid of, do something weird when I touch some random part of the screen, etc. That's annoying when reading things and I'd hate to have to deal with it during a crisis.
Hope they make a decent interface for these documents and reference items.
Too easy to hack, too delicate, makes a dumb pilot.
One of the points of paper is that pilots have to manually update them. They are forced to review each change and in that way they continue to improve their understanding of the needed information. Under a crisis we can't rely on someone's ability to try to get their ipad working. We need safety and that comes from a pilot's ability to know what they know under stress.
I wonder if its possible to either re-design the cockpit control boards to accommodate an ipad dock, or just build a small touchscreen computer into the dashboard somewhere.
That would get around charging issues at least, plus they couldn't drop/lose the stupid thing.
At first glance at this title i thought it was a waste of money but as i read it kept convincing me more and more that this was a good idea but the knicks like homescreen freezing was a bad thing so im all for it just fix the kninks.