110419 N MD252 111
Civilian and military flight crews are increasing looking to the iPad to replace bulky maps and flight manuals, saving weight and ensuring that crews always have the most up to date materials.

In the past month, both American Airlines and Alaska Airlines have begun distributing iPads to their pilots to reduce the number of paper maps flight crews must to carry around and fly with. The switch saves paper, and thus fuel, by reducing the weight of pilots' flight bags which can weigh several dozen pounds.

iPads are also seeing action in war zones. DVIDS reports how Marine Corps aviators are using iPads in Afghanistan:

"iPads allow close-air support aircrew several advantages," said Maj. Marc Blankenbicker, the lead fire control officer for the Marine Aerial Refueler Transport Squadron Harvest Hawk detachment at Camp Dwyer, Afghanistan. "First is the ability to carry 500 large charts, known as gridded reference graphics, on one electronic tablet."

Currently, a handful of 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing (Forward) squadrons use Apple's iPad in Afghanistan. This includes crewmembers for AH-1W and UH-1Y light attack helicopter squadrons, AV-8B Harrier pilots and the crew of the Harvest Hawk equipped KC-130J.

Each of these aircraft provides close-air support for Marines, Afghan forces and other combined team ground troops in Nimroz and Helmand provinces. Marine aviators said the electronic tablet helps them quickly access maps and other data they can use to ensure precision strikes are targeted at enemy positions.

The U.S. Navy is using iPads as well. The image at the top of this article shows U.S. Navy Information Systems Technician 2nd Class Michael Tolbert uploading "geographical data onto tactical Apple iPad tablets to be used for combat operations aboard the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson at sea April 19, 2011."

The secure tablet storage box the Navy is using in that picture appears to be a Pelican 1630 Transport Case, available on Amazon.com for $299.94 (with free shipping!).

(U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Christopher K. Hwang/Released)

Top Rated Comments

bradl Avatar
135 months ago
Wow, I wonder how many million that cost. More money down the defense budget rathole.

Compared to how much it takes to cut the tree, make the paper, print their documents on said paper a number of thousands of times, and destroy them when the new cycles come out? If following the normal AIRAC cycle, those charts get updated every 28 days. Let's use a round figure.. let's say 2000 times, and there are 50 pages per cycle. You're looking at 10000 pages every 28 days. And after that 28 days, they get thrown away.

That, vs. the cost of 2000 iPads, that only need to be bought once. That's a huge SAVINGS over that 28 day period that you're not realizing. That's why AAL and ASA went to iPads over paper charts, and why most Part 121 ops are drifting that way.

BL.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Amazing Iceman Avatar
135 months ago
This is cool, but what about the regulation that all electronic devices must be switched off during takeoff and landing??

I think the interference issue with airplanes is all BS, a panic inherited from many years ago.
Some flights now allow certain electronic devices to be used, even offer WiFi access.

Plus the whole world is saturated with RF interference. The plane itself generates RF.
The plane's sensors and antennas are external, such as Comm, Navigation, GPS, radio, etc.

In any case, all iOS devices and many others have what is called: "Airplane Mode".
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Mac.World Avatar
135 months ago
Having been in the military for over 2 decades, I'm glad to see troops getting equipment that is actually useful for once.

Assuming the iPad wireless connectivity is cut off and these can only use certified apps, I'm guessing they are also SCIF certified. It will be interesting to see these being used in the field. Looks like Navy/Marines with iPads and Army with Android.
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)
nutjob Avatar
135 months ago
Seems like an awful idea maps are wonderfully durable and don't require batteries.

I would hate to be a marine stuck in the middle of nowhere with a broken ipad and no idea how to read a map.

Technology is great but increased complexity comes with the potential for failure(s) always.

My god you're right. Thank god that planes don't use complex computers and electronics just to stay in the air at any given moment, and just about everything else.
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Kingsly Avatar
135 months ago
You still carry paper charts. This isn't much different than flying the charts on the Garmin 1000 glass cockpit. Even though it is highly reliable and convenient, it's still a bad habit to not have your paper charts in your bag and trace out your course with a pencil before your flight.

I used my iPhone with copilot and a tomtom dock on a long multi-waypoint flight last month and the combination performed flawlessly... that being said, if the app crashed or I lost power to the dock the day would have been very, very sad without backup charts. :(
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)
WestonHarvey1 Avatar
135 months ago
This is great, but let's hope they didn't forget to charge the iPad before take off... And also, let's hope they have another iPad handy in the cock pit in case the one they're using dies.... ;)

You still carry paper charts. This isn't much different than flying the charts on the Garmin 1000 glass cockpit. Even though it is highly reliable and convenient, it's still a bad habit to not have your paper charts in your bag and trace out your course with a pencil before your flight.
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Related Stories

studio buds family

Beats Studio Buds Debuting Today With Active Noise Cancellation, Stemless Design, and More for $150

Monday June 14, 2021 8:00 am PDT by
We've seen a lot of teasers about the Beats Studio Buds over the past month since they first showed up in Apple's beta software updates, and today they're finally official. The Beats Studio Buds are available to order today in red, white, and black ahead of a June 24 ship date, and they're priced at $149.99. The Studio Buds are the first Beats-branded earbuds to truly compete with AirPods...
youtube apple tv

YouTube Discontinuing 3rd-Generation Apple TV App, AirPlay Still Available

Wednesday February 3, 2021 3:09 pm PST by
YouTube is planning to stop supporting its YouTube app on the third-generation Apple TV models, where YouTube has long been available as a channel option. A 9to5Mac reader received a message about the upcoming app discontinuation, which is set to take place in March.Starting early March, the YouTube app will no longer be available on Apple TV (3rd generation). You can still watch YouTube on...
iPhone 13 Dummy Thumbnail 2

Kuo: iPhone 13 to Feature LEO Satellite Communications to Make Calls and Texts Without Cellular Coverage

Sunday August 29, 2021 7:39 am PDT by
The iPhone 13 will feature low earth orbit (LEO) satellite communication connectivity to allow users to make calls and send messages in areas without 4G or 5G coverage, according to the reliable analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. In a note to investors, seen by MacRumors, Kuo explained that the iPhone 13 lineup will feature hardware that is able to connect to LEO satellites. If enabled with the relevant...
YouTube Picture in Picture Feature

YouTube Premium Subscribers Can Now Use iOS Picture-in-Picture: Here's How

Wednesday August 25, 2021 3:55 am PDT by
Google has rolled out picture-in-picture support as an "experimental" feature for YouTube premium subscribers, allowing them to watch video in a small window when the app is closed. If you're a premium YouTube subscriber looking to try out picture-in-picture, follow these steps: Launch a web browser and sign into your YouTube account at YouTube.com. Navigate to www.youtube.com/new. Scroll...
os x mountain lion macs 16x9 2

Apple Makes OS X Lion and Mountain Lion Free to Download

Wednesday June 30, 2021 12:19 pm PDT by
Apple recently dropped the $19.99 fee for OS X Lion and Mountain Lion, making the older Mac updates free to download, reports Macworld. Apple has kept OS X 10.7 Lion and OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion available for customers who have machines limited to the older software, but until recently, Apple was charging $19.99 to get download codes for the updates. As of last week, these updates no...
tim cook spring loaded event

Gurman: Apple Planning Multiple Events for the Fall, M1X MacBook Pros to be Available by November

Sunday August 15, 2021 12:07 pm PDT by
Apple is planning to hold multiple events this fall, which will collectively include the launch of new iPhones, Apple Watches, updated AirPods, revamped iPad mini, and the redesigned MacBook Pros, according to respected Bloomberg journalist Mark Gurman. In his latest weekly Power On newsletter, Gurman says that much like last year, Apple will hold multiple events this coming fall, with the...
apple screen time screen icons

Persistent Kids Finding Loopholes in Apple's Screen Time Limits

Tuesday October 15, 2019 9:44 am PDT by
Apple is currently engaged in a cat-and-mouse game with persistent kids looking to circumvent Screen Time restrictions, but the company has been receiving some criticism for not moving quickly enough to lock down some of the loopholes, reports The Washington Post. A few of the loopholes and ways for parents to shut them down are documented on the site Protect Young Eyes, while these and...
anker lightning cable mfi

Unwrap a New Apple Device? Stock Up on Extra Certified Lightning Cables for as Little as $6

Monday December 25, 2017 5:45 am PST by
If you unwrapped an Apple product today it likely came with one of the company's first-party Lightning cables, but having an extra on hand is always a good idea, so you can place it in other rooms in your house, in your car, or in a bag when you travel. For that reason, now's a good time to shop for third-party Lightning cables that are cheaper than Apple's own accessory, but still Made For...
personal hotspot 1

Apple Acknowledges Personal Hotspot Issues Affecting Some iOS 13 and iPadOS 13 Users

Saturday March 21, 2020 10:04 am PDT by
In an internal document distributed to Apple Authorized Service Providers this week, obtained by MacRumors, Apple has acknowledged that some iOS 13 or iPadOS 13 users may experience issues with Personal Hotspot. Apple has told Authorized Service Providers to expect customers who are unable to connect to a Personal Hotspot or experience frequent disconnection from one. Customers may also...
macos monterey safari beta 3

macOS Monterey Beta 3: Apple Redesigns Safari Tab Interface Following Complaints

Wednesday July 14, 2021 11:39 am PDT by
In the third developer beta of macOS Monterey, which came out this morning, Apple has overhauled the design of Safari, making the tab bar more similar to the current tab bar in macOS Big Sur. The prior Safari design did away with the dedicated URL and search interface, instead allowing any individual tab to be used for navigation input. Tabs were also all arranged at the top of the display...