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iPads For Airlines: Reducing Fuel Use

Technology is a blessing.

According to Moore’s Law, our capabilities will increase exponentially over the course of human evolution. We’re steadily replacing traditional methods and lifestyles with more modern ones, such as electric vehicles and e-readers. More recently, airlines have begun to experiment with the idea of replacing their massive flight manuals with iPads.


Image source: www.boeing.com

Scoff all you want, but those thick, heavy books actually cost the airlines quite a bit of money in fuel costs, and weigh the plane down considerably more than a thin, lightweight iPad would. The general rule on airplanes is that electronics are bad, and non-electronics are good. That’s all about to change, if American Airlines has any say.

The U.S.-based airline has recently finished replacing their flight bags with iPads. The tablets have the exact same flight materials as their paper predecessor, it’s just easier to access and easier to read, with the iPad’s pinch-to-zoom feature, adjustable brightness levels, ability to hold it in a single hand, etc.


Image source: www.usatoday.com

Pilots began testing the new iPads months ago, to see if the program could be a viable replacement. It apparently worked, as American Airlines, as well as several other airlines including Alaska Airlines, switched to the new system. It’s estimated that ditching the giant manuals will save the airline 400,000 gallons of fuel annually; a financial savings of $1.2 million.

Over 8,000 iPads have been deployed across their fleet of planes. Each paper flight manual contained over 3,000 pages of information. With the new iPads, the airline has eliminated their dependency on 24 million pages of documentation. The trees thank you, American Airlines.


Image source: www.luxuo.com

So what’s next for all the other big players in the aviation industry? Noting the savings American Airlines has achieved, the others will no doubt follow suit and begin updating their flight system. And what about relaxing their super-tight restrictions on in-flight electronic usage? Let’s just take things one step at a time . . .

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