This is not your usual pilot program: iPads are now standard issue for United Continental Holdings pilots.
The merged airlines began distributing the iPads to its pilots in August and plan on having 11,000 iPads in the hands of all its pilots by the end of 2011.
The iPad deployment is part of United Airline’s transition to paperless flight decks.
The iPads are loaded with the Jeppesen Mobile FlightDeck tabletÂ app, which provides navigation information and global “geo-referenced terminal charts,” the airline says.
United says use of the iPad and app provides efficiency and ecological benefits, as well.
The iPad and mobile app “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,” the airline says.
United figures the reduced load translates into 326,000 gallons of jet fuel annually and trims greenhouse gas emissions by 3,208 metric tons.
The pilots will be able to receive updates of electronic flight materials on their iPads, eliminating the need for paper updates to be handed out, the airline says.
United claims it is the first network carrier to debut “paperless aeronautical navigation charts.”
Other airlines, of course, are introducing iPads for flight crew use.
For example, British Airways recently began a trial of cabin crews handling certain passenger management functions on select flights.