Alaska Airlines Starts Using iPads as Flight Manuals

Apple’s iPad tablet is not only popular among the hip kids, schools, university and business execs chasing the next fun way to set up a client presentation. Alaska Airlines has also opted for the trendy gadget that will now replace their flight manuals, helping them go partially paperless.

The air carrier recently announced they intended to replace the current pilots’ flight manual, a large and heavy item, with iPads. The operation will be completed by mid-June and Alaska Airlines expects it the switch will enhance flight safety, lead to greater efficiency and also protect the environment.

“We’ve been exploring the idea of an electronic flight bag for several years, but never found a device we really liked,” said Gary Beck, Alaska Airlines’ vice president of flight operations. “When the iPad hit the market, we took one look at it and said this is the perfect fit.”

Alaska Airlines is the first major US airline to ditch its old-school flight manuals and replace them with iPads. The tablets will be preloaded with GoogleReader, a PDF reader application that will display the flight documents, which have been upgraded with color graphics and hyperlinks to easy navigation within the manual and make references painless.


While supplying iPads to all pilots is not a cheap endeavor, Alaska Airlines stated that the price of the paperless flight manual will be compensated by lower paper, printing and distribution costs. Also, the weight being removed from the aircraft will result in reduced fuel consumption.

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