View Full Version : United swaps flight manuals/charts for iPads

Dr Mordrid
24th August 2011, 01:58
Link.... (http://www.breitbart.com/article.php?id=CNG.28a184296dda6208bfa99078cd9b334 d.f1&show_article=1)

United Airlines said Tuesday it was replacing the hefty flight manuals and chart books its pilots have long used with 11,000 iPads carrying the same data.

The 1.5 pound (0.7 kilogram) iPad will take the place of about 38 pounds (17 kilograms) of paper instructions, data and charts pilots have long used to help guide them, parent company United Continental Holdings said.

The popular tablet computer will carry the Mobile FliteDeck software app from Jeppesen, a Boeing subsidiary which provides navigation tools for air, sea and land.

"The paperless flight deck represents the next generation of flying," said Captain Fred Abbott, United's senior vice president of flight operations.

"The introduction of iPads ensures our pilots have essential and real-time information at their fingertips at all times throughout the flight."

It will be supplied to all pilots on United and Continental flights; the two carriers merged in 2010.

United is the second major US carrier to adopt the iPad as a key pilot flight aid.

In May Alaska Airlines also adopted it, after the Federal Aviation Administration okayed the iPad for cockpit use.

United estimates that using the iPad will save 16 million sheets of paper a year, and that the lighter load it represents will save 326,000 gallons (1.2 million liters) in fuel.

24th August 2011, 04:00
Super, no batteries, no charts etc...

Paper is a very 'safe' way to store data. Hope they keep at least one copy per plane as a backup.

24th August 2011, 04:54
Of course they won't, that would defeat the savings as the one copy would need to be updated as well. I assume they have only one copy per plane.

Dr Mordrid
24th August 2011, 08:20
Of course they won't.....I assume they have only one copy per plane.
They'll likely have more than one iPad.

24th August 2011, 09:54
But will they work when a terrorist causes an EMP?

24th August 2011, 10:19
Sounds like an Apple sales rep is going to get a huge bonus this year. I can sea a tablet or eReader in addition to a paper manual, but all digital is not a good, fool proof solution.

24th August 2011, 21:20
Definitely, there are a lot of industrial grade device that I would rather they use than some consumer device... but luckily its not an airline that I will be using anytime soon.

Dr Mordrid
24th August 2011, 21:35
There is already a lot of talk about using iOS and Android devices during manned space missions, sooo.....

25th August 2011, 08:04
I suppose my totally biased opinion just doesn't dig the idea of sending up competitor products ;) [I do work for the man these days]

Seriously though, technology is my life and I really dig cool gadgets, but sending up consumer devices as your lifeline on an commercial airline or a space mission. It just gives me the shivers. Software crashes (despite what certain people want you to believe, all software crashes), batteries fail, electronics fail, data can get lost, accidents happen and consumer devices can break very easily...there's just too many things that can go wrong in a critical situation.

Now, if they were implementing some super awesome custom industrial device with built-in redundancy, indestructible screen and shell, shock and vibration resistant, shielded electronics...then awesome. I'm all for it. But using consumer devices for critical roles where people's lives are on the line, not awesome. Very unawesome. Very hell-no unawesome.


People need to realize that consumerization should only go so far.

25th August 2011, 11:33
On the other hand...

People crash, fail, panic, err, hesititate, act hastily...

25th August 2011, 15:08
I see there a potential for a distraction. Usually on long flights they put everything on auto once they take off and go manual just before landing. Wifi is coming to some flights and well, you can see pilots surfing facebook on iPads in flight.

Not everything is so strict up there, I have a friend whose dad let him drive a plane when he was about 15-16 for a bit. :) I was only given a French commuter train to drive (few 100 m forward and backward on station) at about that age . :)

As for consumer devices in Space - Thinkpads A30p were onboard ISS, they then went to T61p as standard PC on ISS. Don't know whether they updated this. They were running Windows.

Dr Mordrid
25th August 2011, 16:56
Last I heard the ISS has 68 Thinkpad A31's, 32+ Lenovo Thinkpad T61p's and 7 Russian computers; RSS1, RSS2, RSK1, RSE1, RSE-Med, TP2, and Laptop3. There is also a VoIP phone which is wired into the stations LAN.

All laptops are WiFi'ed to the stations LAN, and the ISS's net connection to the ground is 3M up and 10M down by way of a Ku band link (10.95 - 14.5 ghz). This is only available when they're in contact with the major ground stations.

25th August 2011, 17:30
100 PC's ?
WTF are they downloading/uploading up there ?
They got a Warez/Pr0n server going or what ?

edit : Maybe they're waiting for more friends to come up and have the first Orbital LAN Party ?

25th August 2011, 17:34
they run the experiments, log , and analyze data, etc.

25th August 2011, 17:37
[QUOTE=UtwigMU;684782]I see there a potential for a distraction. Usually on long flights they put everything on auto once they take off and go manual just before landing. Wifi is coming to some flights and well, you can see pilots surfing facebook on iPads in flight.

Yeah, we already had the very public demonstration of ignoring ATC and overflying destination because of using laptops.


25th August 2011, 20:59
The switches on ISS are HP Procurve.

Here's a pic of Thinkpads in space. I'd like to have a setup like that. I only have 3 Thinkpads.


27th August 2011, 17:39
dont they know that electronic consumer devices has magical beams that disrupts flight electronics? :p

Dr Mordrid
27th August 2011, 20:04
Guess not since SpaceShipTwo, at the least, will have wifi ;)

2nd September 2011, 07:53
Here is a pilot's perspective:


The cockpit will never be entirely paperless -- flight plans, weather packets and whatnot are best served the old-fashioned way -- but the more cumbersome hard-copy material, now digitized, will be more quickly and easily accessible.
And quickly and easily revised. The move to electronic manuals is the best idea I've heard in years, if for no other reason than it frees the average pilot from the savagery and tedium of having to update and revise his books. Anybody who flies for a living is -- or was -- familiar with this numbing, biweekly rite of uncompensated labor. In that bag of mine I was lugging around four separate binders of approach, arrival and departure charts covering hundreds of airports around the world; five pounds of en route maps; plus three different company and aircraft manuals. Together these volumes were subject to hundreds of pages of revisions every month. The tiniest addendum, the slightest change to a routing or a tweaked procedure, and bang, 18 pages needed to be swapped out. (Did you know there are 57 pages of arrival and departure profiles just for Madrid, Spain?)
Installing a particularly fat set of revisions could take two hours or more. Common side effects might include dizziness, repetitive motion injuries and suicide.

You were wondering, meanwhile ...
Now that pilots can use their iPads in the cockpit, shouldn't passengers be allowed to use them in the cabin, whenever they want to? And doesn't this prove that the rules about electronic devices aren't really necessary?
Not quite. The main reason tablets and laptops are banned during takeoff and landing isn't because of concerns over interference, but because they might hinder an evacuation, and are potentially dangerous projectiles in the event of an impact or rapid deceleration. I suspect you don't want a Kindle or MacBook knocking you in the head at 180 miles per hour. The devices in the cockpit will need to be stowed or secured as well.
The other big question is about the prospect of these gadgets failing. What happens if the first officer spills a Coke Zero all over his new iPad, or drops it on the floor?
Well, nothing worth worrying about. These are reference materials, not do-or-die sets of instructions. Be wary of the way some in the media have been covering this. Responding to the United Airlines announcement, one headline spoke of pilots "navigating through their iPads." At best that's a caricature.
There always will be at least two devices on board. The important information is already in the plane's FMS database, and anything truly critical will also remain in hard copy. If need be, thanks to some bizarre worst-case scenario, there are other ways of getting this stuff to the pilots -- by radio, ACARS datalink, etc.
Fear not any iPad-related catastrophe.

Brian Ellis
2nd September 2011, 08:35
Presumably, there must be common access points and pre-shared keys to allow thousands of iPads to be updated simultaneously. This implies there is a high risk of in-flight hacking. If the 2 pilots have different data because of lack of simultaneity, problems could arise. (Runway 12 is closed for maintenance on one and runway 23 on the other, found out on approach, while the tower goes frantic!). You could not rely on the pilots updating manually before each flight.

One way round this problem is to issue an updated iPad to each pilot during pre-flight briefing.

2nd September 2011, 08:43
One way round this problem is to issue an updated iPad to each pilot during pre-flight briefing.

Wouldn't this cause them to lose their progress in Angry Birds? ;)