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United Shows How Pilots Use the iPad In the Air



The iPad is an essential business tool in many professions, including pilots. United pilots use the iPad to keep 5,700 departures a day on time and on track.

The iPad has replaced a 45 pound flight bag, stuffed with manuals and charts, allowing pilots to streamline flight prep and cut down on the gear they carry.

ipad in cockpit

United Airlines Pilots using iPads in the cockpit.

United Pilots use a content locker, eReader and the Jeppesen mobile flight deck app for flight prep an in-cockpit use. The iPad’s connectivity allows pilots to sync up when then arrive at the airport and check the weather.

United and Apple show off the iPad in the cockpit in the video below.

“Captains are only as good as the information they have in front of them.” says, Captain David Sambrano of United Airlines. This information impacts the decisions pilots make, in the air.

The flight bag shown below can weigh up to 45 pounds, adding weight to the flight and paper costs for printed manuals. United pilots are replacing the large bags with a 2 pound iPad, something that’s hard to ignore. Some airlines still require pilots to keep paper copies onboard, but Alaska Airlines and United seem to have moved past this requirement.

The iPad replaces this 45 pound flight bag.

The iPad replaces this 45 pound flight bag.

Pilots of small planes are also leading the way in iPad use in flight. Kevin Purcell caught up with a pilot who is using a $9.99 iPad app to plan flights, track weather and view airports. The pilot showed off a knee-strap iPad case, which is just one of the many iPad cases available for pilots.



  1. Guest

    04/06/2012 at 3:06 pm

     I think this is a great idea! So will the pilots have to power down their iPads during takeoff and landing the way the passengers do? ;-) 

    • Job77381

      04/07/2012 at 9:46 am

      currently yes.  Because of that now instead of carrying a 45 pound flight kit, I will have to carry a 45 pound flight kit with a 2 pound ipad with it.

  2. Joe Rossy

    04/07/2012 at 10:13 pm

    What Ipad?  I’m a UA pilot and they have been promising these things to us for 9 months now.  Apparently there are 10,000 sitting in a warehouse in CLE awaiting approval of technical issues from the FAA. A few A320 pilots in Chicago and some of the check pilots have gotten them.  Amazing all of the hype this is getting when so far it has been a huge non-story.  What’s worse?  Once we get them we’re still going to have to lug our 50 lb. flight kits around because the FAA has not signed off as using them to replace the flight kits.  

  3. Staxgarvey

    04/25/2012 at 5:47 am

    Hey, that cute red head is our neighbor and she is the best!!  I’d fly with her any day!!

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