American is the first US airline to replace all paper manuals with iPads in its cockpits

The Federal Aviation Administration said Monday that pilots on American Airlines flights would be allowed to use iPads for the “electronic flight bag,” replacing the last bit of paper that pilot deal with, such as when flying below 10,000 feet.

Until now, pilots were required to carrry 35 pounds of printed manuals, aviation regulations, and other paperwork to fly any jetliner.

Previous efforts in the past couple of years, such as Alaska Airlines’ move to replace paper flight manuals with iPads and United’s handing of pilots iPads to use as navigational tools, have been steps toward the complete replacement of paper.

Oddly, the FAA will continue to prevent passengers from using iPads (and similar electronic devices) during take-off and landing — precisely when the pilots will be using their iPads as flight manuals.

Money saver

American says it will issue customized versions of the Apple tablet computers to each of its pilots.

The lightweight iPads will save $1.2 million in jet fuel a year, says the announcement.

AA developed a 16g.-FAA-approved mount for the iPad.

The move may be followed by handing flight attendants tabletsthat can help them handle customer service, reports the Dallas Morning News’s Aviation blog.

Tnooz has written before about how pilots love iPads (and the related flight-planning apps like ForeFlight). AA’s move will be surely copied by other commercial airlines.

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Sean O'Neill

About the Writer :: Sean O'Neill

Sean O’Neill had roles as a reporter and editor-in-chief at Tnooz between July 2012 and January 2017.



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  1. Roger Brooks

    American Airlines is NOT the first airline to switch to using iPads. Alaska Air did so two years ago!

  2. Martin B

    That’s it the data is on the device, sync is only for update. Qantas has also done this in Australia including for cabin managers

  3. Mohamed

    All the charts and manuals are PDF files… losing what you call “All electronic/cellular communication” does not affect their charts…. also, it the city of destination is hit with tornados that affect thier Communcation, the airplane will divert to another city where there is Communictions 🙂

  4. Betty L Pettus

    I think technology is great but this reminds me of Huntsville, AL. The emergency response systems had all gone electronic and did away with all of their paper manuals. When the area was hit by tornados, and all electronic/cellular communication was interrupted, there was no way to communicate with each other. There was no way to triage assistance because there was no communication. Huntsville has since reinstated some manuals for backup for emergency situations. I hope the airlines have a plan “B.”

    • Dennis Schaal


      I agree. There really ought to be a Plan B, but I have to assume the FAA has thought that through. The government wouldn’t make a mistake, would it?


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