Jet Blue has joined the Mile-High Club. No, not that one. The airline has joined the likes of American Airlines, United, and British Airways in issuing iPads to its pilots to replace the heavy flight bags they traditionally carry. However, they are taking the idea one step further than the other airlines.
The New York-based budget airline has been given approval from the Federal Aviation Administration, which will see its pilots receive custom-equipped iPads that serve up real-time information related to the flight.
Each JetBlue pilot will be trained to use three apps that are pivotal to their job – real-time weather, pre-flight planning and digital airport and aircraft charts – and the iPads will replace laptops and a “mound of paper manuals and charts” …
The FAA certified the iPad for use on flight-decks back in 2011, and other aviation regulatory agencies are taking the same approach, the British CAA also approved iPads for use by cabin crew.
Jet Blue is taking things a step further than most airlines, as it plans to allow pilots to connect to the airline’s on-board Wi-Fi, to allow pilots to receive updated weather reports and company documents during flights.
More airlines are expected to follow suit, and the FAA is also expected to approve gate-to-gate usage of electronic devices such as iPads by passengers.
UPDATE 6/26/13 - The original post listed Delta as a member of the “pilots have iPads on the flight deck” club, it has been corrected to “United.” Our source for the correction, who wished to remain anonymous, also tells us that United will be implementing a program similar to Jet Blue’s, but will be installing a separate Wi-Fi network for use only by the flight crew, to avoid connection issues.