Alaska Airlines will be the first domestic airline to use iPads instead of paper flight manuals when the process is complete in mid-June. “We’ve been exploring the idea of an electronic flight bag for several years, but never found a device we really liked,” said Gary Beck, Alaska Airlines’ vice president of flight operations. “When the iPad hit the market, we took one look at it and said this is the perfect fit.”
The iPads use the GoodReader app with PDF versions of 41 flight, systems and performance manuals, reference cards, and other materials which will enable pilots to find information faster and easier. When new versions of the flight manuals are released, all pilots will have to do is tap a button on the iPad to get access to them instead of having to replace each physical page with new ones.
Alaska Airlines is also looking to replace paper aeronautical navigation charts with electronic versions on the iPad. The only possible downside to this is that iPads are considered a Class 1 electronic device and have to be stowed during takeoff and landing, thus preventing pilots from accessing any information during these often critical times.
The cost of giving every pilot an iPad is expected to be offset by lower paper, printing and distribution expenses and reduced fuel consumption since iPads only weigh 1.5 pounds instead of the 25 pounds the paper manuals weigh. There is also the possibility of fewer back and muscle injuries caused by pilots carrying heavy flight bags.
Via [Alaska Airlines]