American Airlines goes paperless in the cockpit
By Jay Keller
American Airlines has become the first major commercial carrier to complete the process of going paperless in the cockpit as pilots throughout the entire fleet will use iPads to access gate-to-gate and pre-flight data.
Pilots will now use an Electronic Flight Bag in lieu of paper revisions to terminal charts, reference material and manuals, American announced on Monday.
The Electronic Flight Bag, which uses mobile software and data from Jeppesen, a unit of Boeing Digital Aviation, replaces more than 35 pounds of paper-based reference material and manuals that pilots often carried in their carry-on kitbag.
David Campbell, Vice President of Safety and Operations Performance, told reporters on Monday that going paperless allows American Airlines said to cut costs while having a positive impact on the environment.
“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,” Campbell said.
The digital format allows for instant updates versus the hours required for staff to produce paper updates to each of the six (or more) paper manuals found in each pilot’s kitbag daily.
“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,” according to Campbell.
Jeppesen’s FAA-approved 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.
Campbell estimates that 24 million pages of paper documents have been eliminated in the rollout of the new program.
American and the Allied Pilots Association began working on the feasibility of using a tablet device as an Electronic Flight Bag in June 2010.
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.
“Working closely together on this program over several years, we take pride in American’s achievements as it continues to eliminate paper-based materials in the flight deck, reducing pilot workload and increasing operational efficiency in a competitive business environment,” Jeppesen President Thomas Wede remarked on the successful rollout of the Electronic Flight Bag program.
Jeppesen has worked with other major airlines like United to deploy the paperless software but American Airlines remains the first to make the full switchover on this product.