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F.A.A. Approves iPads in Cockpits, but Not for Passengers
The Federal Aviation Administration said Tuesday that pilots on American Airlines flights would be allowed to use iPads instead of paper flight manuals in the cockpit starting Friday, as reported by ZDNet, even during takeoff and landing. But passengers are still required to shut down anything with the slightest electronic pulse from the moment a plane leaves the gate until it reaches an altitude of 10,000 feet.
The rule barring passengers from using a Kindle, an iPad or even a calculator were originally made to protect the electronics of an aircraft from interference. Yet pilots with iPads will be enclosed in the cockpit just a few inches from critical aviation equipment....
Jim Lincoln wrote: Neil, just because pilots weren't paying attention to their autopilots doesn't mean they aren't still using them, and what you said has really nothing to do with the argument. In fact they will have more time to pay attention to what the plane is doing...So, the IPads are actually an added safety feature.
You said the autopilot flies the plane, implying no worries about distractions need apply. That is false, as Eastern 401 proved.
Now if iPads have only flight-relevant material on them, as TB suggests, then you have a point.
I can pay more attention to flying with tech such as moving map gps than I can trying to flip through paper nav charts... That said, if the gps or ipad charts go down you better have some "old tech" (paper) back-up at your disposal!
Neil, just because pilots weren't paying attention to their autopilots doesn't mean they aren't still using them, and what you said has really nothing to do with the argument. In fact they will have more time to pay attention to what the plane is doing (This is not to say the will, ) because they aren't going through 35 lbs of books, which are now on the IPads. So, the IPads are actually an added safety feature.
Jim Lincoln wrote: Neil, they aren't flying the plane, the automatic pilot flies the plane except during takeoffs and landings.
Ignorant oversimplification, & a quibble besides. Distracted crews have caused crashes (e.g., Eastern 401, & its autopilot was in use). And I have news for you: autopilots, like any system, can fail, & so can sensors which feed them, like pitot tubes (e.g., Air France 447, which crashed mid-Atlantic). Even with autopilots & the rest, crews must attend to the aircraft.
I'm not so worried about the double-standard as I am about this: now we'll have bored flight crews fooling about while the plane flies into the ground. Reminds me of an old pilot's proverb: "Fly the plane, not the radio." Crashes have really occurred because of such distractions. Same problem as with people who drive their cell phones instead of their cars. People forget that with transportation, getting there in one piece is top priority.
Here's a solution: disable the autopilot while the iPad is in use. This will force one of the crew to pay attention to the plane.
Last words from a flight crew: "What's that mountain goat doing up here in these clouds?"