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's 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.
American and the Allied Pilots Association (APA) began working on the feasibility of using a tablet device as an Electronic Flight Bag in June 2010, and American was the first commercial airline to receive FAA approval to use a tablet during all phases of flight in December 2011 on its Boeing 777 fleet. American has worked closely with its pilots throughout all phases of development that led to the program's full integration.
Beginning July 10, American Eagle Airlines pilots will have the option to use Apple iPads to access reference material and manuals, making American Eagle one of the first regional carriers to adopt Electronic Flight Bags.