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Alaska Airlines first major in US with iPad flight manuals

updated 01:25 pm EDT, Sat May 28, 2011

Alaska Airlines uses iPad in place of paper manual

Alaska Airlines on Friday had the distinction of being the first large US carrier to use iPads as flight manuals on all flights and routes. All pilots will be receiving the Apple tablet loaded with the GoodReader app and PDF copies of all the aircraft manuals, reference charts, and other content they would need for their flights. Moving to the iPad not only saves a large amount of weight, dropping from 25 pounds to 1.5 pounds, but has active links between documents and color that normally wouldn't reach the printed copies.

The switch is treated as a green move that would cut out 2.4 million sheets of paper. Alaska Airline did admit, however, that the cost reductions are also a factor. It hoped to offset the cost both by eliminating printing costs but also through incidental factors, such as the lighter load on the aircraft. Even pilots might have better health since they wouldn't strain to carry the frequently 50-pound-plus bags needed to carry the manuals.

As a piece of electronics, the iPad does have to be put away during takeoff and landing much as with passengers' own gear. The use of iPads for flight manuals was only recently cleared by the FAA. Earlier testing of iPads as Electronic Flight Bags (EFBs) and flight manuals was done in a limited capacity by other airlines as early as June of last year, involving Executive Jet, American Airlines, Delta and Alaska among others.

Every pilot should have the new manuals by mid-June. Alaska Airlines is considering expanding the plan to include navigation charts and thus almost completely replacing paper in the cabin.

by MacNN Staff



  1. facebook_Jeffrey

    Via Facebook

    Joined: May 2011


    Where are all the weenies....

    Who said the iPad is nothing but a toy, won't be useful for anything?

    Comment buried. Show
  1. facebook_Clarence

    Via Facebook

    Joined: May 2011


    Why iPad?

    While this is actually a useful purpose of a tablet, I don't see why they specifically need an iPad to do this. Was this not possible before the iPad? It's a manual... on a screen. The article says it "has active links between documents and color that normally wouldn't reach the printed copies."

    Sounds like something a laptop could have done 20 years ago, or any tablet could today... not just iPads. Furthermore, iPads are dickaround devices and I wouldn't want my pilot goofing off on an iPad when he's supposed to be flying a plane. Also when it comes to reliability, just wait until one of these iPads runs out of batteries or malfunctions because of a broken iOS update (very common) and they go back to bringing the paper copies on as a backup.

    - Droid does what iPhon't

  1. facebook_Alexander

    Via Facebook

    Joined: May 2011


    Lufthansa LIDO

    "There's an App for that":

    (But that of course that is not a US Airline)


  1. AllanCook

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Makes a lot of sense

    I use an iPad in my employment litigation practice. Just yesterday I was in court with a colleague. She schlepped in a 25-pound banker's box brimming with folders and documents. I had all of the same documents in Docs to Go on my iPad, plus my rulebooks, guides, etc.

    Comment buried. Show
  1. gmhafiz

    Joined: Dec 1969


    comment title

    they don't need expensive gadget like ipad for this. kindle or nook colour do the same job at less price.

  1. Arne_Saknussemm

    Joined: Dec 1969



    If all that cash Apple has floating around had anything to do with the device's selection by the airline?

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