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JetBlue Airways (New York) has received Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) approval to give all pilots custom-equipped iPads that will add more real-time capabilities in the cockpit and save fuel by eliminating the heavy paper manuals that all pilots carry.
Copyright Photo: Apple.
Following a successful trial phase with approximately 60 pilots over several months, JetBlue already has begun giving all 2,500 pilots a fourth-generation 16 GB Wi-Fi capable Apple iPad. While JetBlue has been approved for a decade to use a PC-based laptop in the cockpit – called an Electronic Flight Bag (EFB) – the iPads will offer new capabilities and conveniences, especially as JetBlue implements Ka-Band satellite Wi-Fi.
“We are one step closer to a paperless cockpit,” said Jeff Martin, senior vice president of operations for JetBlue. “The iPads will have real-time weather capability and the ability to update safety and flight documents securely,” Martin said. “We expect to add digital chart capability, once it is approved.” With JetBlue’s coming Ka-band satellite capability enabled by LiveTV, pilots will be able to download weather imagery in seconds, while the same download might take several minutes with other systems.
“Our pilots will have the fastest real-time images in the air,” Martin said. JetBlue’s pilots will use WSI Optima application for weather briefings, the Comply365 app for digital documents and the AeroData DFP app for aircraft performance and weight and balance calculations. The Comply365 solution will be used throughout JetBlue. JetBlue is currently evaluating digital charting providers for implementation at a later date.
“Pilots will be able to make decisions to help improve the customer experience, such as having a more robust weather briefing that can be used to update customers during the flight about what to expect en route,” Martin said. JetBlue will implement iPad use during the next three months to ensure a safe transition.
Top Copyright Photo: Bruce Drum/AirlinersGallery.com. Airbus A320-232 N598JB (msn 2314) with the Plaid tailfin departs runway 27R at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport.
American Airlines (Dallas/Fort Worth) has completed the successful rollout of its industry-leading Electronic Flight Bag program with the discontinuation of paper revisions to terminal charts, making it the first majorcommercial airline to fully utilize tablets in all cockpits during all phases of flight. In April, American completed testing on its Boeing 757 and 767 aircraft and has secured FAA approval to use the Apple iPad on all of its current fleet types – Boeing 777, 767, 757, 737 and MD-80.
An Electronic Flight Bag, which replaces more than 35 pounds of paper-based reference material and manuals that pilots often carried in their carry-on kitbag, offers numerous benefits for American and its pilots.
“Our Electronic Flight Bag program has a significant positive environmental and cost-savings impact,” said David Campbell, American’s Vice President – Safety and Operations Performance. “In fact, removing the kitbag from all of our planes saves a minimum of 400,000 gallons and $1.2 million of fuel annually based on current fuel prices. Additionally, each of the more than 8,000 iPads we have deployed to date replaces more than 3,000 pages of paper previously carried by every active pilot and instructor. Altogether, 24 million pages of paper documents have been eliminated.”
All American pilots now enjoy the benefits associated with replacing their heavy kitbags – one of the airline’s biggest sources of pilot injuries – with a 1.35-pound iPad. The digital format also requires less time to update each of the six or more paper manuals found in each pilot’s kitbag, as manual paper revisions take hours to complete every month, compared to the minutes it takes for electronic updates.
“Our focus on technological improvement throughout our operation has never been stronger as we continue to build the new American,” said Patrick O’Keeffe, American’s Vice President – Airline Operations Technology. “As the first major commercial airline to successfully complete the Electronic Flight Bag transition across its fleet, we are proud to count this among our other successful programs that provide the tools our people need to perform their duties safely and efficiently.”
As part of the Electronic Flight Bag program, American’s pilots use mobile software and data from Jeppesen, a unit of Boeing Digital Aviation. The FAA-approved Jeppesen Mobile Terminal Chart application is allowed for gate-to-gate use throughout all phases of flight and, with the exception of a few select documents, replaces paper operating manuals with up-to-date electronic information that is easier to access.
“We congratulate American Airlines on the success of its Electronic Flight Bag program,” said Jeppesen President Thomas Wede. “Working closely together on this program over several years, we take pride in American’s achievements as it continues to eliminate paper-based materials in the flight deck, reducing pilot workload and increasing operational efficiency in a competitive business environment.”
American and the Allied Pilots Association (APA) began working on the feasibility of using a tablet device as an Electronic Flight Bag in June 2010, and American was the first commercial airline to receive FAA approval to use a tablet during all phases of flight in December 2011 on its Boeing 777 fleet. American has worked closely with its pilots throughout all phases of development that led to the program’s full integration.
Beginning July 10, American Eagle Airlines pilots will have the option to use Apple iPads to access reference material and manuals, making American Eagle one of the first regional carriers to adopt Electronic Flight Bags.
Top Copyright Photo: Brian Peters/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 777-223 ER N782AN (msn 30003) arrives at the Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport (DFW) hub.