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iPads given OK for use on aircraft

Posting in Architecture

An airline has been given the Federal Aviation Administration's permission to use iPads in the cockpit.

The FAA recently gave American Airlines the go-ahead to use Apple's tablet device during "all phases of flight", the Register reports.

iPads will be used to replace the heavy, cumbersome flight manuals that every plane must have aboard. Collectively, these weigh roughly 35 pounds. Using iPads to store flight manual data -- minus the possibilities of device failure -- is expected to make the process more efficient, and save the airline $1.2 million in fuel annually.

The airline's pilots are now no longer restricted after the FAA found that iPads posed no danger to the safety of an aircraft. If the electromagnetic radiation emitted from a device is deemed safe amid the confines of the cockpit, questions may be raised over why devices at the back of the plane have to be turned off during take-off and landing. However, as pilot Patrick Smith noted, the current ban on devices is more a 'safe than sorry' approach -- to stop devices becoming missiles in the case of turbulence.

American Airlines will begin using iPads in its 777 aircraft immediately, with plans to eradicate paper manuals completely by 2013.

The airline is also considering tablets for its cabin crew, saying that "our Flight Attendants have also been piloting an initiative on handheld tablets, which will give them better information about the customers on their flight and their travel needs."

This isn't the only use iPads have in the aviation industry. Singapore Airline Scoot recently removed all of its aircraft entertainment systems, and instead is offering fliers the option of renting iPads on their trip for entertainment purposes. In addition, technology does have a less palatable side -- as some airlines use Google's search function to research their passenger list.

Image credit: Incase

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This post originally appeared on ZDNet.

— By on September 10, 2012, 8:40 PM 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