Jet Blue has followed the example of American Airlines, United and British Airways in issuing its pilots with iPads to replace some of the masses of paperwork traditionally carried by pilots, reports TNW.

The New York-based budget airline has been given approval from the Federal Aviation Administration, which will see its pilots receive custom-equipped iPads that serve up real-time information related to the flight.

Each JetBlue pilot will be trained to use three apps that are pivotal to their job – real-time weather, pre-flight planning and digital airport and aircraft charts – and the iPads will replace laptops and a “mound of paper manuals and charts” … 

The FAA certified the iPad for flight-deck use back in 2011 (and is expected to allow passengers to use them during all phases of the flight, including take-off and landing). Other aviation regulatory bodies are taking the same approach, the British CAA approving iPads for use by cabin crew

Jet Blue is, however, taking things a step further than American. As the airline is introducing on-board wifi, it plans to allow pilots to connect their iPads to it to receive updated weather reports and company documents during the flight. With all the glass-panel instruments on board a modern airliner, there’s something faintly bizarre about the idea of weather updates arriving on an iPad.

United is planning the same thing, though with a separate crew-only wifi network to ensure the pilots don’t have to compete with passengers for bandwidth. United is also installing wifi at each jetway for use by flight crew.

We expect most of the world’s airlines to follow suit, so we won’t report all of them, but using on-board wifi struck as as interesting expansion of the concept.

Thanks, Adam, for the additional info.

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Ben Lovejoy

Ben Lovejoy is a British technology writer and EU Editor for 9to5Mac. He’s known for his op-eds and diary pieces, exploring his experience of Apple products over time, for a more rounded review. He also writes fiction, with two technothriller novels, a couple of SF shorts and a rom-com!

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