Pilots love Apple iPads, flight-planning apps like ForeFlight, and air-streaming in-flight entertainmentNewsBy Sean O'Neil | August 15, 2012Share This article was originally published on Apple's iPad has created the biggest shift in the way pilots fly airplanes since the birth of the jet engine and the biggest change in in-flight entertainment since the first movie screens.Here are some key points about the related business opportunities:Check this stat: 160,000 US private and business pilots own iPads or similar tablet computers, says a member's survey by the Aircraft Owners and Pilot’s Association.Ownership of iPads is similarly high among Canadian pilots.There's been a boom in sales of flight-planning apps for iPads and other tabletsSales are hot for subscription-based applications for pilots, such as Foreflight, iTerps from Aircraft Merchants, and PilotE6B/WX from CoDeveloper. Says a report in the Toronto Star: “I used to fly to the Bahamas from Canada,” says the head of a Canadian pilots association, “and it would take me two days of preparation. I’d have maps sprawled from the kitchen to the back room. Now I can do the same thing in five minutes, before I’ve finished my coffee. That’s the revolution.”Share this quote Foreflight appears to be winning the race for dominance of the pilot flight-planning market, with the most sales overall.In July, the iPad application maker added storm tracking on its radar display and added a a bunch of features like Advisors, which auto-suggests routing, procedures, and altitude for pilots.Stratus is an optional portable receiver pilots put on their glare sheild that 's purchased separately and wirelessly streams NEXRAD radar, text weather, winds aloft info, and GPS position to an iPad without wires.Other popular apps include Garmin Pilot, FAR/AIM, and Control Vision Anywhere Map.iPads and other tablets help commercial aircraft lose weight and save on fuelYou've already heard that American Airlines aims to replace paper-based record keeping with tablet computers in its entire fleet by the end of 2012.But you may not know just how significant the weight savings is.Here are a few key stats: The iPad replaces approximately 40 pounds/18 kilograms of manuals, charts, and checklists per plane. United says it will save more than 263,000 gallons/1.2 million litres of fuel each year as a result of the lighter weight.iPads are (slowly) transforming in-flight entertainmentDebuting in earnest during the last few months of 2012, Qantas will provide passengers with iPad 2s to stay amused during selected long-haul flights, notes the Canberra Times.As a free service, business and coach classes will be able to use the tablets to watch more than 200 hours of info-tainment.Qantas is outfitting Boeing 767 aircraft with air-streaming routers, which work like password protected WiFi hotspots.Lufthansa Systems built the air-streaming platform BoardConnect being used by Qantas.UPDATE: August 18 But in a surprise, Qantas has instead signed a contract with Panasonic Avionics to use its wireless IFE solution, eXW, for all of its Boeing 767s, as Apex has reported.Here's a video of Qantas's in-flight wireless iPad system as tested by Australia Business Traveller.N.B. Images courtesy of Foreflight and Qantas.