Alaska Airlines Invests in Flight Safety With New iPad Flight Manuals

Chalk up Alaska Airlines as the next major adopter of the iPad.

According to the powers that be at Alaska Airlines, iPads will be used to help the transportation provider better use technology to enhance flight safety, improve efficiency and protect the environment.

“Alaska Airlines is issuing iPad tablet computers to its pilots,” executives for the company announced. The tablets effectively replace 25 pounds of paper flight manuals that pilots are required to carry when they fly.

By mid-June, all pilots will be equipped with the Apple tablet. This follows a successful trial by 100 line and instructor pilots and Air Line Pilots Association representatives, who evaluated the feasibility of using iPads as electronic flight bags this past winter and spring.

Alaska Airlines is the first major domestic airline to use the iPad to replace paper manuals.

“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.”

In addition to iPads replacing paper manuals, Alaska Airlines is exploring the replacement of paper aeronautical navigation charts with electronic versions on the iPad, eliminating the need for every pilot to carry their own copy. The two initiatives, dubbed “Bye, Bye, Flight Bag,” will save about 2.4 million pieces of paper.