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American Airlines completes tablets in the cockpit transition

Posting in Government

American Airlines has completely ditched traditional paper manuals, replacing heavy cargo with lightweight tablets.

The carrier announced the transition on Monday. AA's "Electronic Flight Bag program" has discontinued all paper versions of reference material, manuals and charts -- equating to over 35 pounds -- in order to "fully utilize tablets in all cockpits during all phases of flight."

The Federal Aviation Agency (FAA) has approved the use of Apple's iPad on all of the current fleet types in use -– the Boeing 777, 767, 757, 737 and MD-80 -- after trial completion on the Boeing 757 and 767 in April.

Each "Electronic Flight Bag" now weighs only 1.35 pounds. According to David Campbell, American's VP of Safety and Operations Performance, this means hundreds of thousands in annual savings.

"Our Electronic Flight Bag program has a significant positive environmental and cost-savings impact," Campbell says. "In fact, removing the kitbag from all of our planes saves a minimum of 400,000 gallons and $1.2 million of fuel annually based on current fuel prices. Additionally, each of the more than 8,000 iPads we have deployed to date replaces more than 3,000 pages of paper previously carried by every active pilot and instructor."

AA says that the program uses mobile software and data from Jeppesen, a unit of Boeing Digital Aviation, which allows for easier updates and a more organized system for pilots to exploit.

Beginning July 10, American Eagle Airlines pilots will have the option to use iPads instead of their manuals, making the carrier one of the first regional services to adopt Electronic Flight Bags.

Image credit: AA

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— By on June 24, 2013, 2:47 AM PST

Charlie Osborne

Contributing Editor

Charlie Osborne is a freelance journalist and photographer based in London. In addition to SmartPlanet, she also writes for business technology website ZDNet and consumer technology site CNET. She holds a degree in medical anthropology from the University of Kent. Follow her on Twitter. Disclosure