iPad at Work: Replacing Flight Manuals for Alaska Airlines

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Alaska Airlines has announced that it is the first major domestic airline to use iPads to replace flight manuals.

I posted a few months back on the FAA’s decision to allow pilots to use iPads in place of paper charts, and now it looks like the iPad’s role in the cockpit is expanding and being put to very effective use by Alaska Airlines.

The airline is rolling out iPads to its pilots to replace up to 25 pounds of paper flight manuals. The app that is being used for this is the excellent GoodReader document viewer:

… that is loaded with PDF versions of 41 flight, systems and performance manuals, reference cards, and other materials. The electronic manuals include hyperlinks and color graphics, enabling pilots to find information faster and easier.

And the airline may soon be expanding the iPad’s role:

In conjunction with replacing paper manuals, Alaska Airlines is exploring the replacement of paper aeronautical navigation charts with electronic versions on the iPad, eliminating the need for every pilot to carry their own copy. The two initiatives, dubbed "Bye, Bye, Flight Bag," will save about 2.4 million pieces of paper.

Costs incurred by these projects are said to be offset by savings achieved in expenditure on paper, print, and distribution.

Fine work iPad – I guess we can say it’s flying high as a pilot’s new best friend. :)

Patrick Jordan

Founder and Editor in Chief of iPad Insight. Husband, father to a lovely daughter, Commander of the Armies of the North, dog lover (especially Labs), Austinite, former Londoner, IT consultant, huge sports nut, iPad and mobile tech blogger, mobile apps junkie.

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4 thoughts on “iPad at Work: Replacing Flight Manuals for Alaska Airlines”

  1. This is just too much. I worked on the original EFB (Electronic Flight Bag) for the 777 which was an installed screen to do the same thing, 2003-ish. Serious big bucks spent on that, (including automated content updates) and now it’s replaced by a $500 portable…

    1. Wow. How much did that cost roughly? How would you compare it to how the iPad is being used now?

      1. Don’t recall the cost. Definitely in the millions though (and that was just the software side). However, I know that Jeppessen is making an iPad app for it now, so maybe they recovered some of the investment by re-use.

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