Update: American Airlines has confirmed that the problem was with a bad update to the Jepson app that added Ronald Reagan Airport map. The app provides maps of runways and more information to pilots. Until the app can be fixed, the airline has informed pilots of a workaround to prevent future delays.
Two years ago, American Airlines replaced the paper versions of its cockpit documents with iPad flight bags on all planes. At the time, the airline touted that the switch would both save money for the company and make the lives of pilots easier. This evening, however, more than several dozen American Airlines flights have been affected by an outage related to the app used by American Airlines pilots. Many flights have been delayed and passengers forced to exit the planes.
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“Some flights are experiencing an issue with a software application on pilot iPads,” American Airlines wrote on Twitter. According to various user reports, iPads went blank for both captains and copilots. In order to resolve the issues, pilots had to return to the gate and connect to the WiFi. American Airlines says that the outage is not limited to just 737s like initially thought, but rather is random and affecting a variety of flights.
It’s unclear how many flights are still being affected by this iPad outage, but some users have reported on Twitter that they’ve been able to take off. The issue was centered around an update that was pushed 4 days ago, according to one pilot.
American Airlines deployed some 8,000 iPads in 2013 to replace paper in the cockpit. The switch allowed pilots to ditch more than 35 pounds of paper documents. Now, all documents are stored on iPads for captains and copilots.