Print 28 comment(s) - last by kmmatney.. on Sep 12 at 12:46 PM

American also wants to equip stewardesses with their own iPads

In December of 2011, American Airlines won FAA approval to use the Apple iPad to replace paper manuals pilots carry onboard aircraft. American Airlines today announced that it has become the first carrier to get FAA approval to use the iPad in the cockpit during all phases of flight. 
Pilots for the airline will use the iPad to replace the paper-based reference manuals typically carried in flight bags that weigh 35 pounds. American Airlines figures that it will save $1.2 million on fuel across all of its planes each year based on current fuel prices by shaving that weight.
“This is a very exciting and important milestone for all of us at American Airlines as we work to modernize our processes and best meet the needs of our people,” said Captain John Hale, American’s Vice President of Flight.

 [Image Soure: The AirplaneNut]

“With this approval from the FAA, we will be able to use iPad to fully realize the benefits of our Electronic Flight Bag program, including improving the work environment for our pilots, reducing our dependency on paper products and increasing fuel efficiency on our planes. We are equipping our people with the best resources and this will allow our pilots to fly more efficiently.”
American Airlines also notes that it's working on a program that will allow it to provide flight attendants with tablets to allow them to retrieve more information about passengers.
They iPads will roll out across American’s fleet of 777 aircraft beginning this month. The commercial carrier expects to get approval for all aircraft in its fleet by the end of 2012.
American will stop distributing revisions to paper manuals in 2013. 

Sources: The Next Web, American Airlines

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Waste of money?
By LordSojar on 9/11/2012 10:34:11 AM , Rating: 0
Great, so instead of spending $199 (or less for large corporate purchases) on a simple Nexus7 tablet for the airline employees in question, they spend $499 per unit for no real increase in functionality. Nice. Yet another great decision by our financially burdened airlines. Why are we subsidizing this idiocy again? Oh right, because we keep electing morons, silly me.

Repeat after me: Apple products are overpriced and not needed for this type of application.

Now, repeat that over and over until it sinks in. Hell, not only would the Google Nexus7 be a cheaper, and better alternative, it also would come with Google's massive portfolio of air tracking technology (remember their buyouts of several companies focused on that tech?) and direct support from Google in developing application technology to increase functionality.

But... our pilots need their Infinity Blade II fix while they "fly" the plane. Oh wait...

RE: Waste of money?
By vapore0n on 9/11/2012 10:49:06 AM , Rating: 2
Your comment sounds very android fanboish.
Go read here for more details

Ipad got FAA approval because it is a consistent device. Unlike Android which has multiple manufacturers using different hardware configurations for each of their own devices.
Also because the application that was approved for the pilots was made for the Ipad. Making this piece of software + getting approval must have taken years. How old is the Nexus tablet again?

Im no apple fanboy, but this is the reality of how things work.

RE: Waste of money?
By LordSojar on 9/11/12, Rating: -1
RE: Waste of money?
By corduroygt on 9/11/2012 11:39:13 AM , Rating: 4
What features does the iPad have that the Nexus 7 does not have?

FAA approved Jeppesen app that pilots use is only on the iPad.

How do you know they're buying iPad3's? Maybe they're buying iPad2 to save money.

Or, are you suggesting that American Airlines, who is HEAVILY subsidized by taxpayer money, requires a retina display on their tablets?

How do you know they're not buying iPad 2's to save some money?


Do they require something iOS has that Jelly Bean does not?

Yes, the FAA certified app.

RE: Waste of money?
By Ringold on 9/11/2012 2:04:04 PM , Rating: 2
Exactly, guy doesn't know what he's talking about in the least. If he spends 10 minutes on any tarmac across the country, he'd see a sea of iPads, but nary an android in sight -- except for phones.

As others have pointed out, due to consistency, quality and market share, aviation app makers have focused almost entirely on iOS.

Also not sure how American is "heavily subsidized" by the tax payer. They pay fuel taxes every time they load up, and when they do manage to turn a little profit, they pay then too. There's some tax code tweaks that help a little in various ways but it's no Amtrac or even GM.

RE: Waste of money?
By kingmotley on 9/11/2012 11:59:08 AM , Rating: 3
What features does the iPad have that the Nexus 7 does not have?

Working software.

RE: Waste of money?
By vapore0n on 9/11/2012 12:10:51 PM , Rating: 2
Im sorry, you must be new here.

Go google up how long American Airlines has been researching using the Ipad instead of paper manuals.
Here, Ill help you.

This article was from last year. Way before the N7 came out. This may suggest they are not using the Ipad3.

What feature does the Ipad have that the Nexus does not? 10" display for a start. Second, the app itself, which was built for the IOS. Third (my guess), the docking connector which can add so many possibilities. Fourth day I say Closed Source OS.

You are right. This has to do with costs. And I bet their bean counters did their homework.

RE: Waste of money?
By Solandri on 9/11/2012 8:51:37 PM , Rating: 2
The price difference between an iPad and Nexus 7 is almost a non-factor for the airlines. I forget the exact stat, but a sugar packet lost in a commercial airliner's seat cushion will burn something like an extra 10 gallons of fuel over a year of flying. That's why one of the first places LCD TVs showed up was aboard planes. The purchase price of an item you put on a plane is usually minor, almost insignificant compared to the fuel costs incurred by extra weight.

FAA approval is also a long, drawn-out process. It's the reason computers aboard most commercial airliners are ~10 years behind the state of the art. So the iPad being first out with significant market share played a large part in this.

(NASA is even worse. On several of the early Shuttle flights, the most power computer on board was a handheld HP-41C calculator. The calculator didn't need to go through the QA and flightworthiness checks of all the equipment built into the shuttle.)

RE: Waste of money?
By Jeffk464 on 9/11/2012 12:34:04 PM , Rating: 2
By the way an iPad is infinitely cheaper then any device that would be built into the instrument panel. You should be excited about the price savings.

RE: Waste of money?
By danjw1 on 9/11/2012 11:54:14 AM , Rating: 2
FAA approval takes time, this was in process well before the Nexus 7 was released.

While it doesn't apply to this use case, there just aren't any consolidated aviation apps for Android. Believe me I have looked. There is a spattering of stuff out there, but nothing that is as integrated as is what is available for iOS. I wish it wasn't true, but it is. For the time being anyone wanting to use a tablet in the cockpit is likely going to be using an iPad, especially in the General Aviation space. Jeppensen and ForeFlight both have high quality aviation apps for iOS, but nothing for Andriod.

RE: Waste of money?
By danjw1 on 9/11/2012 12:18:19 PM , Rating: 2
I meant for the previous reply to be up a tier, opps. :-)

RE: Waste of money?
By SongEmu on 9/11/2012 1:05:03 PM , Rating: 2

RE: Waste of money?
By Trisped on 9/11/2012 4:03:30 PM , Rating: 2
The iPad recieved FAA approval because Apple promissed to give American Airlines as many iPads as they could use for FREE. This is a standard Apple practice, as it gets people using their devices. We saw this with Apple's desktops back in the 80s and 90s where they would give them away to schools or movie studios. We see this now in Aviation. They are currently the only digital reader allowed by the FAA in the cockpit. As a result, if another company (besides AA) decides they want to switch to digital readers they have the choice of buying iPads or searching for an alternative, convincing/paying the FAA to test it, waiting for the results, and buying the device.

Luckily for the free market, the FAA agreed to test a number of other devices after public backlash for testing iPads but not other devices, many of which are known to produce much less interference the the iPad.

RE: Waste of money?
By lowsidex2 on 9/11/2012 11:00:45 AM , Rating: 1
All AA did was expand upon authorization that was already there.

The inflight authorization and electronic interference testing and the decompression testing (so it will work and not bust the screen or fog over).. all the tesing is done and documented and available for any flight department(for a fee) to use when setting up their own ipad program. No one wants to go through that for another tablet that may for may not exist in another year.

BTW... the ipad is still cheaper than a one year subscription to Jeppesen.

RE: Waste of money?
By kattanna on 9/11/2012 11:43:48 AM , Rating: 1
I think today was the wrong day to stop sniffing glue my friend


RE: Waste of money?
By Jeffk464 on 9/11/2012 12:25:23 PM , Rating: 2
Of course you know this means your pilots will be watching movies right?

RE: Waste of money?
By Jeffk464 on 9/11/2012 12:29:27 PM , Rating: 2
Repeat after me: Apple products are overpriced and not needed for this type of application.

Do you know that for sure? There are a lot of extremely useful aviation apps and I'm not sure if they are on both platforms. Of course I agree they should certify both platforms(probably have to certify each and every specific model by the way) and then airlines can pick the one that fits their needs. By the way when you are talking avaition $500 doesn't go very far.

RE: Waste of money?
By johnsonx on 9/12/2012 1:47:39 AM , Rating: 2
I know a couple of private pilots; they tell me the iPad is pretty much ubiquitous for pilots. There are so many aviation-specific iPad apps that do everything any pilot can dream of, no one has any interest in any other device. For them other devices simply don't exist.

RE: Waste of money?
By kmmatney on 9/12/2012 12:46:13 PM , Rating: 2
I'd rather have them using a 9.7" screen, rather than a 7" screen...

“So far we have not seen a single Android device that does not infringe on our patents." -- Microsoft General Counsel Brad Smith

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