American Airlines has completed the successful rollout of its industry-leading Electronic Flight Bag program with the discontinuation of paper revisions to terminal charts, making it the first major commercial airline to fully utilise tablets in all cockpits during all phases of flight.
In April, American completed testing on its Boeing 757 and 767 aircraft and has secured FAA approval to use the Apple iPad on all of its current fleet types – Boeing 777, 767, 757, 737 and MD-80.
An Electronic Flight Bag, which replaces more than 35 pounds of paper-based reference material and manuals that pilots often carried in their carry-on kitbag, offers numerous benefits for American and its pilots.
“Our Electronic Flight Bag program has a significant positive environmental and cost-savings impact,” said David Campbell, American vice president, safety and operations performance.
“In fact, removing the kitbag from all of our planes saves a minimum of 400,000 gallons and $1.2 million of fuel annually based on current fuel prices.
“Additionally, each of the more than 8,000 iPads we have deployed to date replaces more than 3,000 pages of paper previously carried by every active pilot and instructor. Altogether, 24 million pages of paper documents have been eliminated.”
All American pilots now enjoy the benefits associated with replacing their heavy kitbags – one of the airline’s biggest sources of pilot injuries – with a 1.35-pound iPad.
The digital format also requires less time to update each of the six or more paper manuals found in each pilot’s kitbag, as manual paper revisions take hours to complete every month, compared to the minutes it takes for electronic updates.
As part of the Electronic Flight Bag program, American’s pilots use mobile software and data from Jeppesen, a unit of Boeing Digital Aviation.
The FAA-approved Jeppesen Mobile Terminal Chart application is allowed for gate-to-gate use throughout all phases of flight and, with the exception of a few select documents, replaces paper operating manuals with up-to-date electronic information that is easier to access.