Print 19 comment(s) - last by DougF.. on Jun 26 at 12:46 AM

8,000 iPads now in use across AA's entire aircraft fleet

Apple's iPad brought about the tablet revolution when it was introduced in early 2010, and the Cupertino, California-based company has made great efforts to push the tablets onto regular consumers, businesses, and even into classrooms.
Lasts week, it was announced that Apple secured a $30M contract (an average of $678 per iPad) to provide iPads to the L.A. Unified School District. This week, we've learned that American Airlines (having completed its trial run) has become to the first major commercial airline to put iPads in the cockpits of its entire fleet of aircraft (currently consisting of the Boeing 777, 767, 757, 737 and MD-80).
For American Airlines, the move to digital documents viewable on the iPad was easy. Each 1.35-pound iPad replaces over 35 pounds of paper documents and reference manuals that pilots carry in their kitbag. The iPads also allow for quick and efficient updating of manuals in minutes without wasting paper.
"In fact, removing the kitbag from all of our planes saves a minimum of 400,000 gallons and $1.2 million of fuel annually based on current fuel prices," remarked said David Campbell, American Airlines' Vice President of Safety and Operations Performance. "Additionally, each of the more than 8,000 iPads we have deployed to date replaces more than 3,000 pages of paper previously carried by every active pilot and instructor. Altogether, 24 million pages of paper documents have been eliminated."

[Image Source: AINonline]
Interestingly enough, while American Airlines pilots have free reign over the use of their iPads in the cockpits, passengers still have to turn off and stow their devices during ascent and descent. However, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is looking to relax those rules a bit for e-readers, tablets, and other smart devices.

Source: American Airlines

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Do as we say?
By sorry dog on 6/24/2013 12:56:03 PM , Rating: 2
Since tablets have turned out to be a godsend for pilots, it seems to be harder and harder for the FAA to justify the electronics ban. I think the end result should be that devices are certified not to emit more frequencies than designed.

I imagine almost every flight has at least a cell phones left on by accident or purpose... it's actually more of a problem from wireless operators than any flight safety.

RE: Do as we say?
By GulWestfale on 6/24/2013 1:06:50 PM , Rating: 2
the pilots don't need wifi to be turned on to play angry birds during takeoff ;)

RE: Do as we say?
By Solandri on 6/24/2013 2:17:34 PM , Rating: 2
I imagine almost every flight has at least a cell phones left on by accident or purpose... it's actually more of a problem from wireless operators than any flight safety.

A cell phone left on by accident in a plane is transmitting a short data blip every few minutes, basically pinging the nearest tower saying "I am here if you need to ring me".

A cell phone being used during a flight is continuously broadcasting a lot of RF noise whenever you're talking.

The FAA (wisely) decided that rather than just allow them on flights and let the chips (planes) fall where they may, to err on the safe side and prohibit them. Then gradually scale in their use as we got years of real-world flight data. One can question the speed at which they're moving to revoke the in-flight electronics ban, but not their methodology.

I actually worry more about 110V AC mains being provided on aircraft for powering laptops. I very rarely notice RF interference in my stereo, radios, TVs, etc. But when I do, it's almost always been from an AC power brick. They're not particularly difficult to design, but it's really easy to design a bad (cheap) one.

RE: Do as we say?
By Dorkyman on 6/24/2013 9:23:12 PM , Rating: 2
No, completely disagree.

The FAA did a knee-jerk prohibition back when this was first decided. There was no evidence, then or now, of interference. Nada. None.

And as for the "RF noise" you claim from phones or power bricks: aircraft avionics have incredible shielding. The very fact that laptop bricks are allowed is testament to this.

RE: Do as we say?
By DougF on 6/25/2013 9:20:26 AM , Rating: 2
Actually, no. Aircraft avionics don't have "incredible" shielding, they have just enough to protect from known/probable sources of radiation. Adding shielding adds weight. For instance, civilian airliners aren't EMP protected, while some military aircraft (Air Force One, bombers, fighters, etc) are.

RF emitting devices in the aircraft add to the known sources impacting the wiring. Knee-jerk? Maybe, but I too would err on the side of caution when 100's of passenger's lives are at potential risk.

Prove there is no/little risk, THEN let them use their devices.

RE: Do as we say?
By Dorkyman on 6/25/2013 5:59:15 PM , Rating: 2
That's the point. It's been tested for many decades, THERE IS NO RISK.

Maybe we should slow down all freeway traffic to 10mph. That way, there's no risk.

And shielding for EMP is a far different situation than shielding against a misbehaving cellphone.

RE: Do as we say?
By DougF on 6/26/2013 12:46:20 AM , Rating: 2
And once again, no. Airframes have not been tested against cell phones and other internal emitters for decades. If so, show me the reports. The FAA and other agencies have conducted some tests over the past few years and are slowly and carefully proceeding to evaluate the danger. Yeah you complain now, but you'd be the first one in line to sue everyone and their dog if a relative of yours went down in a crash and the fault was determined to be the aircrew allowing everyone to run their transmitters.
There may be no risk, but I'm not taking YOUR word that anecdotal evidence is OK to proceed with.
Sigh...EMP is one example of radiation and no, it's not far different as the effect is the same on wiring (which is what the concern is, not the avionics themselves), inducing spurious signals to electronic components, or even masking signals with noise.
As for driving down the freeway at 10mph, go for it. This nation goes ballistic when 20 kids are gunned down, but sheds not one tear when 30,000 are killed on highways every year. The point is, I can change lanes, avoid obstacles like idiots driving at 10mph on the freeway, etc. I am locked into a seat in an aircraft at the hands of two individuals, ergo it's a LOT more important that I know what is protecting me or not. At 40Kft the aircrew have time and options to correct spurious or balky signals. When you are 150ft above the ground, you don't have that time to react.

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