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United scraps paper..gives pilots iPads
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United scraps paper..gives pilots iPads

What started as an experiment at Alaska Airlines has gone mainstream as United Airlines has decided to convert to paperless flight decks by deploying 11,000 iPads to all United and Continental pilots. United thus becomes the first network airline to go paperless. The iPads are loaded with Jeppesen Mobile FliteDeck, the industry’s premier app featuring interactive, data-driven enroute navigation information and worldwide geo-referenced terminal charts.

The next generation

“The paperless flight deck represents the next generation of flying,” said Captain Fred Abbott, United’s senior vice president of flight operations. “The introduction of iPads ensures our pilots have essential and real-time information at their fingertips at all times throughout the flight.”

Saving 16 Million Sheets of Paper and 326,000 Gallons of Jet Fuel a Year

Each iPad, which weighs less than 1.5 pounds, will replace approximately 38 pounds of paper operating manuals, navigation charts, reference handbooks, flight checklists, logbooks and weather information in a pilot’s flight bag. A conventional flight bag full of paper materials contains an average of 12,000 sheets of paper per pilot. There are environmental benefits attached to moving ot EFBs—it significantly reduces paper use and printing, and, in turn, reduces fuel consumption. The airline projects EFBs will save nearly 16 million sheets of paper a year which is equivalent to more than 1,900 trees not cut down. Saving 326,000 gallons of jet fuel a year reduces greenhouse gas emissions by 3,208 metric tons.

iPad Improves Efficiency and Safety

With iPad, pilots are able to quickly and efficiently access reference material without having to thumb through thousands of sheets of paper and reduce clutter on the flight deck. United and Continental pilots’ work will be streamlined as they can immediately download updates on iPad to their electronic flight materials, rather than waiting for paper updates to be printed and distributed. In addition, by eliminating bulky flight bags loaded with paper, pilots will have less to lift and carry through airports and onboard the aircraft.

I expect to see a parade of airlines replacing paper with tablets over the next year. It certainly underlines the reliability of Apple’s iconic device. What do you think of this trend?

 

Bob Benedetti

Former RCAF Fighter Pilot Bob worked for CTV Montreal as a Reporter, Producer and Executive producer for 35 years retiring in 2004. Bob started reporting on personal technology in 1995 at CTV and continues today at Home Technology Montreal

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