Pilots cleared to use iPad during takeoff, landing

Dec 15, 2011 by Chris Lefkow
File photo shows an image of pilots using an iPad projected on a screen behind Apple CEO Tim Cook at the company's headquarters in October. Apple's iPad has been cleared for use by American Airlines pilots during takeoff and landing.

Apple's iPad has been cleared for use by American Airlines pilots during takeoff and landing in a move that could make bulky flight bags crammed with manuals and charts a thing of the past.

American began testing iPads as "electronic bags" last year and a number of other carriers, including United Airlines and Alaska Airlines, have followed suit.

But pilots were barred from using the touchscreen during "critical phases of flight" -- operations below 10,000 feet (3,048 meters) -- pending further evaluation.

Les Dorr, a spokesman, said received authorization from the FAA on December 1 to use the in the cockpit during all phases of flight, including takeoff and landing.

"American Airlines is the first major air carrier to get approval for operational use of the iPad as an electronic flight bag," Dorr told AFP, adding that the authorization followed an evaluation period of around six months.

"During that period they have to show that it doesn't interfere with crew duties and especially that it does not interfere with the communication and navigation systems of the aircraft," Dorr said.

For the moment, use of the iPad during all phases of flight is restricted to American Airlines pilots flying the twin-engine Boeing 777.

Hank Putek, an American Airlines captain who serves on the safety committee of the Allied Pilots Association, welcomed the FAA move and described the iPad as a "real safety enhancer" on the flight deck.

"There's a significant improvement in situational awareness," Putek told AFP.

"The ability to have a backlit screen with a map on it that can be panned and zoomed really significantly increases the safety aspect of taxiing an airliner on the ground," he said.

"The same goes for when you're flying an instrument approach in ," he said. "You have the approach chart on the iPad and you can zoom and pan and scroll to your exact location in the air while you're flying the approach."

Putek said replacing the hefty flight bags, which can weigh 35 pounds (15.9 kilograms) or more, with the 1.5 pound (0.7 kg) iPad would help save fuel but the "primary purpose is to improve safety on the flight deck."

Passengers on US airlines are required to turn off electronic devices during takeoff and landing -- a regulation which recently saw actor Alec Baldwin booted off an American Airlines flight for refusing to turn off his cellphone.

The requirement will not apply to iPads being used in the cockpit because Wi-Fi and cellular connectivity are turned off, eliminating the possibility of interference with aircraft navigation systems.

Dorr, the FAA spokesman, said he expects other major US airlines to seek approval for expanded use of the iPad on the flight deck.

"It's fair to say that you will probably see more major carriers asking for this," he said. "The iPad seems to be the hot device for an electronic flight bag at the moment."

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User comments : 6

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ziprar2
not rated yet Dec 15, 2011
bulky fligh bags dont freeze or run out of battery, ipads do
Grizzled
1 / 5 (1) Dec 27, 2011
So, can the passengers use their iPads now too? Provided they turn off the WiFi option. I just checked my Samsung Tablet and it too has what it calls "Flight Mode" meaning all RF activity including cellular, WiFi, Bluetooth are turned off.

Given that manufacturer (Samsung in this case) calls it "Flight Mode" and given that pilots can use the same in the cockpit...surely it's ok for the passengers to do the same in the cabin?
CHollman82
1 / 5 (2) Dec 28, 2011
So, can the passengers use their iPads now too? Provided they turn off the WiFi option. I just checked my Samsung Tablet and it too has what it calls "Flight Mode" meaning all RF activity including cellular, WiFi, Bluetooth are turned off.

Given that manufacturer (Samsung in this case) calls it "Flight Mode" and given that pilots can use the same in the cockpit...surely it's ok for the passengers to do the same in the cabin?


RF is not the problem, as was explained to you in the other discussion about this. One or two of these devices is not the same as a hundred or more at the same time and will not have the same potential impact.
Grizzled
5 / 5 (1) Dec 28, 2011
So what you are saying is that the impact of the two devicex in the cockpit is smaller...but it's still there, right? Since you insist on probabilities (several devices acting in unison by chance) - well, that means the risk is still there even with the two devices...ornis it?

And please, drop your patronising tone "as was explained to you". Yes, I saw your "explanation" and I profoundly disagree with it. The mere fact that you referenced Pediwikia as an authority speaks volumes. As does the fact that you clearly don't realise the basic difference (re: Maxwell laws in classical electrodynamics) between the induction currents which depend ultimately on magnetic flux and EM waves.
CHollman82
1 / 5 (3) Dec 28, 2011
And please, drop your patronising tone "as was explained to you". Yes, I saw your "explanation" and I profoundly disagree with it. The mere fact that you referenced Pediwikia


You're confusing me for Anti-Alias...

Also, Wikipedia was found to be more accurate than the Encyclopedia Britannica in several university studies.
Kafpauzo
1 / 5 (2) Dec 28, 2011
he mere fact that you referenced Pediwikia as an authority speaks volumes.


Antialias did not use Wikipedia as a reference to prove something. He recommended it as an introductory text for people who don't know the subject and want an introduction. (And so did I.)

Would you prefer that he recommend a paper intended for electronic engineering researchers? That would not make any sense. To read that kind of paper you must know the basics of the subject.

and I profoundly disagree with it.


Electromagnetic interference is not a matter of opinion, it's simple fact. Checking and verifying these facts is very easy.

Regarding my own explanations, it's possible that my explanations about the principles were a bit off in some of the details, since I'm no electronics engineer or scientist, but the overall information is certainly correct. This again is not opinion but fact, and is again very easy to check and verify.