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JetBlue and American Airlines Giving iPad Electronic Flight Bags to All Pilots

NewImageBoth JetBlue and American Airlines have announced they are issuing iPads to all pilots to replace the heavy paper manuals in flight phases.

American says it is the first major commercial carrier to deploy Electronic Flight Bags (EFB) throughout their entire fleet, and the airline has decided to discontinue paper revisions of pilot flight manuals.

The airline estimates it will save more than 400,000 gallons of fuel per year, worth $1.2 million at current prices.

JetBlue announced today that it has also received FAA approval to issue iPads to its pilots, with some added capabilities that are unique to the airline. Because JetBlue is introducing in-flight Wi-Fi across all its aircraft, its pilots will be able to receive real-time weather and document updates in-flight.
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.
JetBlue pilots will use WSI Optima for weather updates, Comply365 for digital documents, and a third app for aircraft performance, weight and balance calculations. JetBlue will roll out its electronic flight bags over the next three months.

Top Rated Comments

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11 months ago
help help is their an Apple Genius on board?

the Captain spilled Coffee on his iPad!!! :eek:
Rating: 6 Positives
11 months ago

I'm just curious how you know you're right, and why you're confident enough in your knowledge to possibly risk the safety of a plane full of people for your own convenience.

Common sense is just what it says: the sense of common people. This is not a substitute for the knowledge of experts. Thinking the gun is empty because you've spun the chamber 3 times and it hasn't gone off is what gets people killed.

This trend towards intuition over science, and "I don't understand it so it must be a conspiracy", is going to be the ruin of a nation.


Every time this subject comes up, I'm amazed at how many people feel that complete absence of technical understanding and education in such a deeply technical area is no barrier whatsoever to asserting an opinion (and in fact are willing to gamble other people's lives on their unfounded gut-feel).

I've spent 30 years designing electronic systems (including avionics and consumer electronics) and I'm still frequently surprised by the results we get in EMC test chambers.

As it happens, I do suspect that we will be able to relax the rules to some extent, once sufficient study has been done. The key, however, is the "sufficient study" bit - they certainly shouldn't be changed just because Joe Public's uninformed intuition says it's safe.

Rating: 4 Positives
11 months ago

Unauthorized wireless devices isn't a pilots vs. passenger thing. It's FAA vs. common sense. Since they want to cover themselves for possible lawsuits we all have to suffer. Meanwhile, there are thousands of flights daily with thousands of passengers (including me) using wireless during takeoff and landing.

I'm just curious how you know you're right, and why you're confident enough in your knowledge to possibly risk the safety of a plane full of people for your own convenience.

Common sense is just what it says: the sense of common people. This is not a substitute for the knowledge of experts. Thinking the gun is empty because you've spun the chamber 3 times and it hasn't gone off is what gets people killed.

This trend towards intuition over science, and "I don't understand it so it must be a conspiracy", is going to be the ruin of a nation.
Rating: 4 Positives
11 months ago
And yet I still have to turn my Kindle off when ascending/decending.
Rating: 4 Positives
11 months ago
Ha, at first, I read the title as "JetBlue and American Airlines Giving iPad Electronic Flight Bags to All Passengers" and I was like "HOLY $417"!
Rating: 3 Positives
11 months ago
Makes sense. What happens if the iPad fails in flight though?
Rating: 2 Positives
11 months ago

Not everybody agrees, apparently. There's general aviation pilot raging away on the Apple discussion forums about how his iPad supposedly overheated while he was in a landing pattern. He claims the iPad is a danger to all pilots and passengers. His point apparently is that small planes don't generally have air-conditioned cockpits and that it gets real hot sometimes. I'm not a pilot so I'm not competent to comment on that claim. What about it?

I'm a private pilot who makes extensive use of my iPad. I've had it overheat (not so much because of a lack of AC but because of the direct sunlight it was getting while strapped into a knee-board style case), and the failure was not a problem because I'm a competent pilot with backup systems and would never, ever rely totally on a consumer-grade device. It's FANTASTIC when it's working (and most pilots experience is that it's very reliable) but if it fails, so what? You're crazy if you're flying anywhere totally dependent on a GPS track to get you there.

Furthermore, what on earth was this guy doing using his iPad in the traffic pattern of an airport? That of all times is when he needs to have his eyes outside scanning for traffic and keeping the plane right side up. He sounds unsafe not because of an iPad failure but because he's flying around with his eyes inside or down instead of outside.
Rating: 2 Positives
11 months ago
I like the 10,000 feet rule simply due to possible emergency situations. Difficult to get a cabin under control when there is an emergency with everyone on their electronic devices.

There have been cases of electronic devices interfering with the aircraft systems. One is on an international flight in a 747. Someone turned on their laptop and the autopilot put the plane in a slight right bank. They took the laptop from the passenger, turned it off and the plane leveled out. They turned it back on, plane entered the right bank again. The FAA took another 747 out and tried it without success.

Another story told by one my professors who was a former airline pilot, she was taking off and a passenger had their cell phone on. Shortly after rotating, one of her instruments( I forgot which one) went inoperative. Again, took the phone turned it off and the instrument was operative again.

While these events are extremely rare and they may be caused due to the aircrafts age, there are instances of it.

But, again I like the rule simply from a perspective of preparing the cabin for an emergency.
Rating: 2 Positives
11 months ago

Please tell me you aren't referring to the FAA as experts. :rolleyes:

This suggests that you have an idealogical position rather than an informed one.

I also love how you bring up science -- because you'll also notice that throughout all the hubbub surrounding this issue, scientific evidence is precisely what has been absent in supporting the current policy and restrictions. The current policy is a function of overly conservative bureaucrats combined with a "Why risk it?" approach to policymaking. While that's not an inherently bad way to develop policy, when it's taken to the extreme -- i.e., when there is no evidence to support the probability of those risks -- it is.

No, there hasn't been any scientific evidence supporting the hubbub. There is plenty of empirical evidence supporting the restrictions. If you've ever designed and built sensitive navigation or communication devices, you've seen it most days of your career.

Rather than explain why this is a problem again, I'll link to an earlier post ( in an earlier thread.

i dont know how you could really argue that its intuition over science when there have been countless studies that indicate the risk of electronics use during takeoff and landing is so minimal that it's difficult to discern it from coincidence. but of course, being that no test, scientific or otherwise, ever concludes in a 100% confirmation, the old argument of "the odds of electronics causing a malfunction may be 1 in a million, but the odds of malfunction if its banned are zero!". and this is course is both hurtful to progress and a very naive mindset that surely there are no people leaving their phones on during takeoff and landing because everyone always does exactly as theyre told. you make an analogy of spinning the barrel of a gun 3 times for confirmation beyond doubt, but it would be more like spinning the barrel of a gun that may or may not have even been loaded in the first place, 1 million times, while recording the results meticulously each time.

You do realize that a one in a million chance would bring down something like 700 commercial aircraft a year in the US alone, right? The risk factor can be orders of magnitude smaller than that and still be significant.

And saying that making you turn off your electronics for 15 minutes during take off and landing is holding up progress is kind of over stating it, don't you think?

more on point - my uncle is a captain for United (originally Continental) and they were issued iPad's for flight book use when the ipad 2 was the most current model. i lived with him at the time and every month, he would receive a package in the mail with enough paper to print a JRR Tolkien novel, all of which would be equivalent to the amount of paper each month he would have to discard from his existing manual. this is one person in thousands, doing the same thing each month. regardless of the costs the companies save in paper and gas, the planet will surely benefit from the insanely antiquated wastefulness that is prevented by the marvels of technology. i would care to wager the "positive" (read: less terrible) impact on the environment far outweighs the potential for saving a plane full of hypothetical people that are taken down by a text message.

You're mixing the cockpit and the cabin. The cockpit is a controlled environment, with tested equipment, maintained by the airline and within easy reach of the pilot in the event of trouble. The cabin is chaos.
Rating: 2 Positives
11 months ago

I'm going to say this again: there is no quantitative basis for your 1:1,000,000 probability estimate. None at all. Blindly applying an expected value calculation using subjective probability estimates isn't science. It's a joke.

Stop and the read context of the comment. One in a million isn't my number, it was his. My point is that to many people, one in a million sounds like a small risk, but with 700 million passenger embarkments in a year and each person probably carrying something, his comment that one in a million causes a problem is an enormous risk. One in a billion is significant.

I didn't say anything of the kind. Perhaps you should re-read what people type, rather than clumping everyone who doesn't agree with you (and based on what I've read so far, there will be a LOT of us) into a single bucket.

Um, no? Yeah, no.

It would probably ease your mind about me lumping you in with other people if you looked to see that I wasn't responding to you...

You can't prove a negative. So you will never have the definitive proof you seek. There will never be 100% proof that electronic reading devices do NOT perhaps sometimes somewhere cause some type of glitch. I'm not worried about it. If you are -- don't fly then.

In fact, don't drive, as 40,000 people in the U.S. die each year from car accidents. Why risk it. Much riskier than flying.

Also, you should always wear a lightning rod attached to your head. Better safe than sorry.

Ok, so first: you can prove a negative. If you couldn't, then saying "you can't prove a negative" would be an unprovable statement anyway.:rolleyes:

Second, I agree that its infeasible to prove that every device made in every country in all states of repair pose no risk to the flight. That's why we're asked to turn them off. They don't strip them from us at security like a gun, they let us carry them on the flight and politely ask us to be responsible for 15 freakin' minutes.

Look at it this way. These are very complex systems that interact in ways that are impossible to fully predict. Let's say that that more lax rules cost us 1000 lives every 10 years. I travel once a month or so. The current regulations inconvenience me for about 30 minutes a flight, or maybe an hour round trip, for about 12 hours a year. 12 hours of inconvenience potentially saving 100 lives.

Pick what numbers you'd like, I don't know what they actually are (which is kind of the point of my argument), but this is what the calculation comes down to. What is the risk, and how much are we willing to sacrifice to mitigate that risk.

Or we could, as you suggest, make everything in the world as dangerous as driving and relax regulations until we lose 40,000 people a year in air travel.

However we chose to set our priorities, it should be knowingly, not because we just guess at an answer.
Rating: 2 Positives

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