Saturday Morning – Cleared For Takeoff
Techno-News abounds these days for good reason, and since we have been chatting off and on recently about Tablets and e-readers, I thought I would pass this bit along this morning.
It makes sense if you stop and think about it, but it's easy to miss the obvious. Two months ago in December the Federal Aviation Agency (FAA) has given approval for major commercial airlines to issue single-purpose iPads to their pilots to replace their mountain of papers that include their flight charts, weather reports, and other flight-related material. This new "electronic flight bag" will replace those 30-lb. flight bags and also remove the tedious task of sorting out even more papers that are filed in the cockpit for references. Of course, there is the added feature of instant updating to the forms and charts that are filed in the tablet.
Alaska Airlines was the first major line to begin using the iPad and have already displaced their Flight Operations Manual and the Flight Handbook. They're working on the charts now. Coming on line as we write are United, Continental, American, and freight-hauler UPS, each in the process of switching over.
Now comes news that the U. S. Air Force is beginning the massive changeover to tablets also. International Business Times is reporting that the USAF is ordering 18,000 iPad 2's to go into use in cargo planes, primarily the C-5 Galaxy and the C-17 Globemaster.
"Moving from a paper-based to an electronically based flight publication system will not only enhance operational effectiveness, it can also save the Department of Defense time and money," said Maj. Gen. Rick Martin, the director of operations for the Air Mobility Command. "Electronic flight bags are becoming an industry standard due to their operational, environmental and cost savings benefits."
There are several benefits to using electronic flight bags instead of physical versions. For one, the iPad can instantly update charts electronically, while the AMC would require flying charts to be reprinted every 28 days to stay up to date.
"This equates to approximately 70 pounds of paper per aircraft each month that must be meticulously sorted, accounted for, and updated," said Maj. Pete Birchenough, who head's the AMC's electronic flight bag initiative.
United Airlines photo
The Air Force Special Operations Command will also be purchasing more than 2,800 iPad 2's. And the digital beat goes on. The next question that we have raised before is, whenever will a progressive fire department start doing the same thing for their equipment management?
Until they do, we will just have to grab our old 19th-century clipboards and get our own equipment checked out now. I will get the coffee started before we meet back in the day room.
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