Your Pilot May Soon Be Navigating By iPad

You’d think that by now, pilots and airlines would have figured out a really sophisticated browser for flight paths, charts, regulations, and stuff like that, but as it turns out, a lot of that information is still on paper. After all, when the lives of hundreds of thousands depend on such things, you can’t risk a system crash or low battery. But it looks like the stable, long-lived iPad has overcome some of these limitations, and may just be coming to a commercial flight near you.

Executive Jet Management is a charter plane company that recently went through an extensive approval process for relying solely (if the pilot chooses) on iPads for browsing all the charts that used to be paper-only. They used an app called Mobile TC, developed by Jeppesen, a company that has made aviation charts for years. After showing that the app was safe, comprehensive, and wouldn’t croak due to battery, pressure, or other causes, they got FAA approval to use it instead of paper charts.

Now, that’s just for that charter flight company, but Alaska Airlines too is in the process of evaluating iPads for use, and 100 pilots are currently testing them out.

I wonder, though, will the new generation of high-tech planes rely on external devices like the iPad? Or will they include interfaces that can be loaded with something, perhaps, more proprietary, or even… Google-flavored?

[image: Flight Control HD, obviously)