American Airlines Tests A Paperless Cockpit

Jun 17, 2011

Here's a number that caught by surprise today: American Airlines told The Wall Street Journal's Marketwatch that it can save $1.2 million a year just by cutting the paper in the cockpit.

In a test on some of its flights, American began giving pilots iPads to replace paper-versions of navigational charts. That $1.2 million number doesn't come from printing costs, instead it comes from weight. Marketwatch reports pilots carry at least 35 pounds in paper flight materials and consolidating all of that on a tablet simply saves the airline in its gas bill.

Apple Insider reports that American isn't the first to explore the shift:

American Airlines joins Alaska Air in working to shift paper flight charts to the iPad; Alaska began the shift in May.

The US Federal Aviation Administration previously classified the iPad as a "class 1" electronic device, meaning it must be stowed during takeoff and landing, even by pilots. However, the FAA has since specifically approved the use of the iPad app providing tables and other information for use during all phases of flight, making it the first time a tablet has been usable during takeoff and landing.

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