The United States Marine Corps aviators are in love with their iPads:

Since November last year, marine pilots have been using iPads and more recently iPad 2s with digital maps, which allow the crews to search out locations in the region at the tap of the screen rather than flicking through map packs that are heavy and take up room in the cramped cockpits of aircraft such as the AH-1W Cobra and the F/A-18 Hornet.

Sensor operators aboard the KC-130J Harvest Hawk are also field-testing iPad and so far have deemed the device “a game-changer” for its ability to obsolete paper charts and the grid reference drawings with pretty graphics and interactive multitouch interface. The Marines are also rolling out iPads on US-based aircrafts used for training. Their take?

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Captain John Belsha, one of the sensor operators on the KC-130J Harvest Hawk, says the magical device beats a paper chart in sharing situational awareness. “It takes five minutes to teach someone how to use the thing – it’s so intuitive and easy, you don’t really have to think about it”. Bravo – Apple can now add Marines on its list of professions that value iPad’s ease of use. If it’s good for the Army, it’s certainly good enough for us ordinary folks. We also know that American Airlines pilots are field-testing iPads in cockpits. Kinda makes you wonder whether they have to turn it off during takeoffs and landings.

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