First Officer Kelly Caglia with an iPad in a Boeing 777. Credit: The New York Times

The Federal Aviation Administration has certified Apple’s iPad for use in pilot cabins. Pilots won’t be playing Angry Birds: The approval paves the way to replacing some forty pounds worth of dead trees in pilot bags with shiny apps. Printed manuals, safety checklists, logbooks, navigation charts, weather information, airport diagrams – iPad will obsolete all of this paperwork with elegant apps, a true paperless cockpit, reports The New York Times:

The Federal Aviation Administration has authorized a handful of commercial and charter carriers to use the tablet computer as a so-called electronic flight bag. Private pilots, too, are now carrying iPads, which support hundreds of general aviation apps that simplify preflight planning and assist with in-flight operations.

We take it the FAA approval means iPad has been cleared as a device that doesn’t interfere with airplane electronics. Battery life? The iPad has a ten-hour rated battery so pilots should be able to use the device on long flights without hooking it to a power socket in the cabin. Steve Jobs kinda thought about that. He remarked at the iPad unveiling on January 27 of last year how Apple’s engineers had been able to achieve ten hours of battery life, illustrating that “I can take a flight from San Francisco to Tokyo and watch video the whole way”. If it’s good enough for US Marine Corps and Singaporean enlistees, it should do the trick for commercial airliners.

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