The FAA approved the airline's use of iPads to equip pilots with three important apps that provide real-time weather, pre-flight planning, and digital airport and aircraft charts.
JetBlue has previously embarked on a trial phase with around 60 pilots over a number of months, and is now in the process of dishing out a fourth-generation 16GB WiFi iPad to all 2,500 pilots. The airline says it has been approved for many years already to use a PC-based laptop in the cockpit – called an Electronic Flight Bag (EFB). But the iPads will bring in new capabilities, especially as it’s about to roll out Ka-Band satellite Wi-Fi in its planes. Indeed, online access means pilots can download weather imagery, and also access updated flight documents much more quickly.
“We are one step closer to a paperless cockpit,” says Jeff Martin, senior vice president of operations for JetBlue. “The iPads will have real-time weather capability and the ability to update safety and flight documents securely. We expect to add digital chart capability, once it is approved.”
Numerous other airlines have embraced the iPad for use during flight; however, in September of last year, American Airlines announced that it was the first commercial carrier to obtain FAA approval to use Electronic Flight Bags in all phases of flight.