iPad use by American Airlines pilots has reduced injuries on the job


Airline pilots may be masters of efficient packing, being on-the-go practically every day of the year, but that doesn’t mean their carry-ons are light. For years, they’ve had to lug around with them 40 pound flight bags, which carry a massive collection of manuals and navigation charts, in the event pilots need to reference them mid-flight.

But last year, the FAA agreed to allow pilots to carry iPads equipped with all of the same information in lieu of the paper-heavy bag. In other words, instead of carrying around a 40 pound sack of paper, they need only carry a slim, 1.5 pound device. And, according to Forbes, American Airlines reports that, as a result, pilot injuries are down.

Say, what?

Patrick O’Keefe, vice president of airline technology at American Airlines explained at the recent TabTimes Tablet Strategy conference, saying that the switch “reduced the single biggest source of pilot injuries, carrying those packs.” In other words, the heavy, compact bags were causing tremendous strain on multiple pilots’ backs. The insanely lighter load is a relief to pilot backs all around the world.

To boot, the switch has allowed American Airlines to save a ton of money. How much? According to O’Keefe AA is “able to save a million dollars worth of fuel.” Plus, there’s no longer a need to reprint manuals every time a revision is made. A simple digital update is all it takes. (Go green!)

The airline also revealed that it is carrying the digital move over to its flight attendants. While they don’t have nearly as much documentation to tote around, they do have some. As such, they are now being given Samsung Galaxy Notes with the necessary information preloaded.

Is this the beginning of a new trend in air travel? It certainly makes sense. We just hope they don’t forget to charge them before taking off.