Apple's iPad may soon find its way onto your next commercial flight, and not just in the cabin as an entertainment device. Major airlines and a charter jet company are considering using the tablet as a way to replace both paper navigation charts and laptops on the ground and during flight.
So far, no U.S. airline has adopted iPads exclusively, but Delta Airlines and Alaska Airlines are testing the device for navigational purposes. Alaska spokeswoman Marianne Lindsey told the Seattle Times that the carrier is running a trial program with a select group of pilots. Calls made by CNET to the Alaska Airlines press office were not returned at the time of this writing.
Switching to iPads or other tablet devices would cut down on paper, and on the equipment pilots have to carry. While some specially designed laptops, or "electronic flight bags," can weigh up to 18 pounds, the current iPad weighs just just 1.5 pounds (the recently announced iPad 2 is a tad lighter). What's more, instead of receiving new paper charts every few weeks, pilots could receive updates electronically. … Read more