The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is reported to be preparing to approve the widespread use of Apple iPads in the cockpits of commercial aircraft to take the place of pilots’ electronic flight bags (EFB).
The new rule will take effect December 16, according to a report from the New York Times. The FAA began testing iPads earlier this year in cooperation with Apple and Jeppeson and found no interference with flight controls, granting approval to American Airlines for use on its Boeing 777.
The FAA requires operators to apply for permission based on specific devices and aircraft.
The FAA added that it had conducts ”rigorous testing of any electronic device proposed for use in the cockpit as an electronic flight bag, in lieu of paper navigation charts and manuals.”
Captain David Clark, manager of American Airlines’s connected aircraft program told the newspaper in a phone interview that the airline has spent extensive months testing the iPad in the cockpit to ensure that it would not interfere with a plane’s avionics.
“We conducted some very extensive testing with the Apple iPad; the device’s 3G, WiFi, and Bluetooth have all been turned off, and with that, we didn’t have any interference issues,” he said.
Only two iPads are to be allowed in the cockpit, one for each pilot.
American Airlines will begin iPad operations on B-777 aircraft, and then implement across all other fleets. Other airlines such as United, Alaska, and UPS are also reviewing this potential, but none have been approved to conduct flight operations in all phases of flight except American.