Greener, lighter, cheaper and more efficient are the reasons why Alaska Airlines is giving Apple iPads to pilots to replace printed flight manuals on its aircraft.
Pilots on every aircraft on the network will have an iPad by the middle of June, the airline says, after a successful trial to see if the device could replace existing flight documentation.
Each device will have PDF versions of system and performance manuals, reference cards and other documentation for each aircraft. The airline says the manuals will be easier to use as each guide has hyperlinks and quick navigation between pages.
Replacing paper navigation charts with software on the iPad is also being considered, the airline says, claiming that it the latter also comes comes into force an estimated 2.4 million pieces of paper will be saved.
After the initial outlay of buying the devices, Alaska claims overall costs will be cheaper than producing paper manuals and the resources needed to update each on a regular basis.
Back and muscle issues are also a consideration, Alaska says, as pilots will no longer have to carry flight bags (incl manuals) which often each 50 pounds in weight.
Unfortunately, iPads will have to stowed away during take-off and landing as they still considered an electronic device by US Federal Aviation Administration officials.