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Paperless cockpits: US pilots to pack iPads instead of manuals

Fort Worth, Texas - Airline pilots need to carry thousands of pages of technical material in the cockpit with them. Now one US airline has replaced the thick manuals with iPads.

Pilots with American Airlines can now bring the contents of their printed manuals on iPads instead, opening the way to the paperless cockpit and perhaps the end of conventional logbooks, checklists and paper maps. The goal is to save fuel.

It took several months of testing before the US Federal Aviation Administration gave approval for the Apple tablet to replace the bulky manuals. Each airline will have to receive separate permission to use the iPad because aircraft types, training programmes and procedures vary.

"American Airlines is the first company to receive this approval for all phases of flight," the airline said in a press release.

The airline believes it will save 1.2 million dollars (around 938,500 euros) annually in fuel costs by no longer carrying the physical documentation. The Electronic Flight Bag (EFB) of a single pilot in the United States can comprise some 12,000 pages and weigh 16 kilogrammes.

"This is a very exciting and important milestone for all of us," says John Hale, representative of the 8,500 pilots at American Airlines.

Flight attendants in the United States may also soon be equipped with iPads to give details about things such as connecting flights and the food preferences of passengers. In fact instead of the crew coming with a tablet, it may be that a tablet will come with the seat.//DPA




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