American Airlines Pilots to Use iPads in Cockpits

Device usage may decrease fuel consumption

By Brian Curtis
|  Tuesday, Dec 13, 2011  |  Updated 11:00 PM CDT
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American Airlines pilots will be able to use iPads as

Brian Curtis, NBC 5 News

American Airlines pilots will be able to use iPads as "kit bags" starting Friday.

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American Airlines is getting more attention over iPads -- but this time it has nothing to do with Alec Baldwin being kicked off a flight for playing "Words With Friends."

AA Pilots will now be using iPads in the cockpit to help them do their jobs.

"It's the electronic version of the kit bag you see us dragging through the terminals every day," said Capt. David Clark.

Pilots are used to traveling with up to 50 pounds of paperwork, including flight manuals, navigation charts, and other reference materials. Pilots will use the iPads to replace that paper material into just a pound-and-a-half device that's easier for pilots to carry and maybe even easier on the environment.

AA officials say the decrease in weight will help lower the amount of fuel needed for each flight.

"Over millions of miles," Clark suggests, "that's a lot of fuel savings."

Pilots say they have no concerns of the iPads failing during the flight, with crew members testing the device for six months, according to Clark.

Passengers don't need to worry about distracted flying, as pilots will have no Internet access at any time during the flight.

"They should rest assured ours are turned off as well," says Clark.

American is the first airline to receive government approval to use iPads in the cockpit. Alaska Airlines also uses the devices in their planes. Pilots can start using them on Friday.

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