iPads Board American; Electronic Flight Bag Implementation Completed

June 25, 2013, By Sanjeev Ramachandran

Tablets have found a permanent place in all cockpits during all phases of flight at American Airlines. The Electronic Flight Bag program, kicked off some time ago, has now been successfully completed and thus has effectively begun utilizing tablets in all aircraft owned by the airline.

According to a spokesperson, American Airlines has “completed testing on its Boeing 757 and 767 aircraft and has secured FAA approval to use the Apple iPad on all of its current fleet types , namely Boeing 777, 767, 757, 737 and MD-80”.

With this, American’s Electronic Flight Bag has replaced more than 35 pounds of paper-based reference material and manuals carried by pilots. The initiative is said to be offering a slew of benefits for the airline and its pilots.

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It is a known fact that manual paper revisions take hours to complete every month. And now, with the heavy kit bags making way for 1.35-pound iPads, the digital format needs only less time to update each of the six or more paper manuals found in each pilot’s kitbag.  It in fact takes only a few minutes for the electronic updates to complete.

The airline, which has now become the first major commercial airline to successfully complete the Electronic Flight Bag transition across its fleet, will see pilots making use of mobile software and data from Jeppesen, a unit of Boeing Digital Aviation. “The FAA-approved Jeppesen Mobile Terminal Chart application is allowed for gate-to-gate use throughout all phases of flight and, with the exception of a few select documents, replaces paper operating manuals with up-to-date electronic information that is easier to access,” it has been stated.

According to David Campbell, American’s Vice President – Safety and Operations Performance, doing away with the pilots’ kitbag would save a minimum of 400,000 gallons and $1.2 million of fuel annually based on current fuel prices.  This apart, each of the 8,000-plus iPads would replace more than 3,000 pages of paper previously carried by every active pilot and instructor.” Altogether, 24 million pages of paper documents have been eliminated,”  he added.

You may remember that in June 2010, the American and the Allied Pilots Association (APA) started looking at using a tablet device as an Electronic Flight Bag  and  following that the airline became the first commercial airline to receive FAA approval to use a tablet during all phases of flight in December 2011 on its Boeing 777 fleet.

Would you also like to see the iPads in action at American now? Head here  to view the video.

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