Today, in a press release United Airlines announced that it has committed a transition to using iPads as electronic flight bags and rolling out 11,000 iPads to United and Continental pilots. United said that their pilots will use the Jeppesen Mobile FliteDeck app for iPad, ”the industry’s premier app featuring interactive, data-driven enroute navigation information and worldwide geo-referenced terminal charts. The enhanced full-color, high-quality information display ensures the right information is displayed at the right time.”. The Jeppesen’s Mobile FliteDeck app is available for free via the App Store, but requires a paid subscription to use Jeppesen’s services.
Due to this transition, pilots will have less weight to carry in and out of the plane. In addition, the weight savings also saves fuel, while reducing the amount of unnecessary paper used and printed by airlines.
Each iPad, which weighs less than 1.5 pounds, will replace approximately 38 pounds of paper operating manuals, navigation charts, reference handbooks, flight checklists, logbooks and weather information in a pilot’s flight bag. A conventional flight bag full of paper materials contains an average of 12,000 sheets of paper per pilot. The green benefits of moving to EFBs are two-fold–it significantly reduces paper use and printing, and, in turn, reduces fuel consumption. The airline projects EFBs will save nearly 16 million sheets of paper a year which is equivalent to more than 1,900 trees not cut down. Saving 326,000 gallons of jet fuel a year reduces greenhouse gas emissions by 3,208 metric tons.
The U.S. Federal Aviation Adminstration approved the use of iPads to replace paper flight bags, with Alaska Air being the first airlines to adopt the iPad. Many other airlines have also started to quickly adopt the iPad as flight bags, including American Airlines and Delta.
Electronic manuals on iPads are becoming popular because they can reduce around 40 pounds of paper weight per pilot and are easier to navigate, read and keep up to date, color graphics, and automatically update rather than going through many papers. But remember, iPads are just for consuming content, not for real work!