Alaska Airlines is issuing computers to its pilots. The 1½-pound iPads replace up to 25 pounds of paper flight manuals are required to carry when they fly.

The iPads are being distributed to all Alaska Airlines pilots, a process that will be complete by mid-June. This follows a successful trial by 100 line and instructor and Air Line Pilots Association representatives, who evaluated the feasibility of using iPads as electronic flight bags this past winter and spring.
Alaska Airlines is the first major domestic airline to use the to replace paper manuals.

The iPads contain an app called GoodReader that is loaded with PDF versions of 41 flight, systems and performance manuals, reference cards, and other materials. The electronic manuals include hyperlinks and color graphics, enabling to find information faster and easier. Updating these reference materials can now be accomplished with one on the screen instead of the former, labor-intensive process of replacing individual pages with new ones. The iPad is considered a Class 1 electronic device, meaning it is stowed during takeoff and landing under regulations.

Alaska Airlines is exploring the replacement of paper aeronautical navigation charts with electronic versions on the iPad, eliminating the need for every pilot to carry their own copy.  And so the inexorable continues to impact aviation.

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