Boeing Co is trying to forgo paper manuals in favor of electronic versions on iPads, as the tablets could also help with navigation charts to airlines, a company official announced. “Everybody’s looking at it. Nobody’s yet pulled the trigger, they’re trying to understand the value, trying to close their business case,” said the vice president for flight services at Boeing, Sherry Carbary. Other airlines have already taken measures. United Continental Holdings have bought 11.000 iPads, while Alaska Airlines have stopped using paper manuals.
Tablet usage is beneficiary for pilots as they can browse through manuals faster and follow navigation charts while in the air, and also take the manuals home with them to continue their training. "We're trying to change from a paper-based training methodology in a classroom. For example the 787 was our first step into all digital. You can actually take it (training material) to your hotel room or home and do some of the training," Carbary said.
Airlines can also download applications useful for pilots, like instrument charts and airport diagrams from Jeppesen, a Boeing unit, directly on iPads. The apps update automatically and so, the paper usage is even more reduced. Boeing is more and more interested in this alternative due to the new generation of pilots that is more comfortable with modern gadgets. Boeing’s forecast that the global airline industry will need 460.000 pilots and 650.000 technical staff over the next 20 years and so they are seeking to reduce the impact of their training through paper usage-trimming.
By Radu Tyrsina