United Airlines to Deploy 11K iPads – and First to Replace Paper Maps

[ Jeppesen's Mobile FlightDeck iPad app -- as shown in the App Store. ]

United Continental is the first major airline to replace the 38 pounds of paper maps, data and charts pilots carry with iPads that include the FliteDeck iPad app.

Pilots will only be able to use the iPads when they are above 10K feet (just like passengers).

United plans to deploy 11K iPads, which it began distributing earlier this month, and expects all its pilots to have them by the end of the year. The airline says the change will save 16M sheets of paper and 326K gallons of jet fuel a year.

Produced by Jeppesen, a Boeing company, the FliteDeck app features data-driven and interactive digital enroute navigation information -- things that help pilots better understand where they are. It builds on Jeppesen's Mobile TC for iPad app, released in mid-2010, which aviation reviews said was good for viewing maps but lacked the ability to set up departure/arrival airports and did not offer quick access to terminal procedures.

Reviews of Jeppesen's Mobile FlightDeck in the App Store -- which appear to come from pilots -- so far are mixed, with most complaints focused on downloading issues and frequent app crashes. Pilots must already have a subscription to Jeppesen's electronic flight charts to use the app.

A Jeppesen product manager for the earlier product, Mobile TC, told Wired in February that their app was extremely stable but would recover quickly if it crashed during flight.

Soon after the Federal Aviation Administration decided in February to allow a private jet company to use iPads as an alternative to paper maps, Alaska Airlines and Delta Airlines began testing the Mobile TC app.

Last week, British Airways started rolling out iPads to its in-flight team to enhance customer service.

 Challenge Post - Solving problems for everyone.
 Datastax - Big Data. Big Smarts. Big Fun.
 Thumbtack - America's marketplace for local services.
 RecoEngine - Tech Buying. Made Simple.
 Rapportive - Let's make email a better place