The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has granted preliminary approval for the use of iPads in airplane cockpits.
Major commercial airlines, Delta, American Airlines and others are now considering the possibility of employing the iPad to replace paper maps currently used by pilots.
Delta Air Lines, the world’s second largest airline in the world is, according to Bloomberg, attempting to gain approval to test the use of iPads and other tablets in the cockpits of its planes as soon as the next quarter according to a company spokesman.
The FAA has already granted approval for the use of "electronic flight bags," or computers for aviation purposes. The move to allow iPads in cockpits stems from the current options bulk and weight, 18 pounds for today’s devices compared to the weight of 1.3 pounds for iPad 2.
On Feb. 1, the FAA granted the first approval for professional cockpit use of the iPad to Executive Jet Management. The company has made 250 flights as part of the certification process with maps and accessories created for the iPad by Boeing's aeronautical and charting company Jeppesen, a company we’ve previously profiled.
Officials with Jeppesen began developing iPad flight navigation software partially because pilots themselves requested it.
Typically, pilots have to carry a great many notebooks filled with paper versions of the thousands of instrument approaches throughout the United States. Thanks to their new app, Jeppesen can put all of the approaches throughout the entire world on an iPad without using much of the device’s memory.
What do you think of the idea to put iPads in airline cockpits? What, if any, downside, do you see to adding the iPad to an airplane?