United Flight Decks Going Paperless

The conversion to paperless flight decks is under way at United Contintental Holdings, Inc. The holding company for United Airlines and Continental Airlines announced Aug. 23 that it has begun deploying 11,000 iPads to all of their pilots, with electronic flight bags replacing replacing paper flight manuals. In a first for major network carriers, pilots will have paperless aeronautical navigational charts through an iPad app.

All of the pilots will have them by the end of 2011.

The iPads weigh less than 1.5 pounds and are replacing about 38 pounds of paper operating manuals, navigation charts, reference handbooks, flight checklists, logbooks, and weather information in a pilot's flight bag -- an average of 12,000 sheets of paper per pilot. The company predicts this switch will save nearly 16 million sheets of paper and 326,000 gallons of jet fuel per year.

"The paperless flight deck represents the next generation of flying," said Capt. Fred Abbott, United's senior vice president of flight operations. "The introduction of iPads ensures our pilots have essential and real-time information at their fingertips at all times throughout the flight." The iPads are loaded with Jeppesen Mobile FliteDeck, an app featuring interactive en-route navigation information and worldwide geo-referenced terminal charts.

"We are proud to partner with United Airlines on a project of this magnitude with Jeppesen Mobile FliteDeck," said Mark Van Tine, president and CEO of Jeppesen. "Jeppesen and United share a long and storied history that includes development of numerous innovations for the aviation industry. We look forward to continuing this partnership in integrating our digital mobile solutions that increase efficiency, reduce costs, and optimize operations."

Three other advantages: The work process for pilots will be streamlined thanks to the elimination of paper; flight decks will be less cluttered; and "by eliminating bulky flight bags loaded with paper, pilots will have less to lift and carry through airports and onboard the aircraft, reducing the risk of injury while on duty," the company's announcement said.

United, Continental, United Express, Continental Express, and Continental Connection airlines operate an average of 5,765 daily flights to 377 airports and have more than 80,000 employees.

Posted by Jerry Laws on Aug 25, 2011