Apple's iPad tablet computer looks to be destined for the cockpits of commercial airliners after a test run at Executive Jet Management, a charter company, earned FAA approval.
Bloomberg reports that the iPads in the test were used to display navigational charts using software developed by Jeppesen, a subsidiary of Boeing. Pilots normally carry paper charts, or specialty electronic devices weighing much more than the iPad.
A number of airlines are investigating the idea of adopting the iPad for use in the cockpit. The Seattle Times reports that Alaska Airlines is running a test with a small group of pilots to see if the company wants to pursue its wider use.
The Seattle Times story notes that each company's iPad implementation is potentially different and has to be approved by the FAA:
Executive Jet has its iPads strapped to a "kneeboard" secured on the pilot's upper leg with an elastic band, while "Alaska is looking to mount it in the airplane itself," Ellerbrock says. Due to possible electronic interference, the FAA must approve exactly how the device is used in the cabin.