Pilots Go Paperless

Published: August 24, 2011

Pilots Go Paperless, United Continental Holdings (UAL) announced Tuesday that its flight decks go paperless, with drivers using tablets Apple iPad (AAPL) instead of books and paintings.

Eleven thousand iPads will be distributed to pilot United and Continental, a process that began earlier this month. All drivers are provided for “electronic flight bags (EFB)” by the end of the year. IPads come loaded with a navigation application by Jeppesen, a subsidiary of Boeing (BA).

U.S. Continental estimates that the change will save 16 million sheets of paper and 326.000 gallons of kerosene per year, from the IPAD, with a weight of less than 1.5 kilos, “will replace about 38 pounds of operating manuals paper, navigation charts, reference manuals, flight checklists, Newspapers and weather information in a flight bag for a driver “, which contains an average of” 12,000 sheets of paper. “A saving of 326,000 liters of kerosene per year would reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 3208 metric tons per year.

“With the iPad,” the company said in a press release “, the drivers are able to quickly and effectively documents without having to browse through thousands of sheets of paper and reduce clutter on the flight deck. “The statement did not address the question of backup, must somehow devices fail.

Continental U.S. is not the first carrier to pass the iPad: Earlier this year, Alaska Airlines (ALK) and American Airlines (AA) began giving their drivers the tablets from Apple, and British Airways has launched a pilot program to test the use of the iPad 2 by cabin crew instead of the passenger manifest of the paper. But the program sounds like Continental United’s most comprehensive and far.

Upgrades will not be limited to the cockpit: The company plans to spend over half a billion dollars installing various cabin amenities, including flat on a seat 62 additional long-haul aircraft, additional savings on legs 300 aircraft, and extended overhead storage space on more than 150 jets. Boeing 747-400s will feature wireless video streaming. CEO Jeff Smisek said the improvements, on Monday in Denver. In a statement, Smisek said, “We expect many improvements to other products, both on the ground and in the air, we will announce in the future.”

Continental United, the holding company for United and Continental Airlines (which merged in October), is the largest carrier in the world.

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