United Airlines today announced that it is converting to paperless flight decks and sending out 11,000 iPads to all United and Continental pilots. The electronic flight bags (EFB) will replace paper flight manuals, and, in a first for a major network carrier, will provide pilots with paperless aeronautical navigational charts via an iPad app. Distribution of the iPads started this month, and all pilots will get them by the yearís end.
The iPads used by United and Continental are loaded with Jeppesen Mobile FliteDeck, the industryís premier app featuring interactive, data-driven enroute navigation information and worldwide geo-referenced terminal charts. The enhanced full-colour, high-quality information display ensures the right information is displayed at the right time."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."
United says that each iPad, which weighs under 1.5 pounds, will replace approximately 38 pounds of paper operating manuals, navigation charts, reference handbooks, flight checklists, logbooks and weather information in a pilotís flight bag, with a conventional flight bag full of paper materials containing an average of 12,000 sheets of paper per pilot. Using an EFB not only saves on paper use and printing costs, but also on fuel consumption. United has estimated that using iPads will save the equivalent of 1,900 trees, and 323,000 gallons of jet fuel.
In terms of safety issues, United says that the iPad enables pilots to quickly access reference material without having to thumb through thousands of sheets of paper. The pilotsí work will be streamlined now that they can immediately download updates on iPad to their electronic flight materials rather than wait for the paper updates to be printed and distributed. United has not said whether or not the iPads will come with Angry Birds pre-installed as well!
Source: United Airlines via AppleInsider