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All Aboard! iPad To Fly Qantas Planes?

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Beginning with Qantas’ Boeing 737 fleet, Qantas pilots will be able to access operational information including flight plans, manuals via the 9.7″ iPad tablet.

Qantas are partnering with Telstra to deliver over 2200 tablets to be rolled out to domestic and international Qantas fleets.

The iPads will be used to keep pilots up-to-date with critical flight data and each equipped with two native apps “for cockpit use” – a specially developed Qantas app and one for Boeing charts.

On the ground in Australia, Telstra will connect pilots to NextG network, while international pilots will use the telco’s global Wi-Fi partner network.

Qantas hopes to begin introducing iPads for pilots by September subject to regulatory approval. Implementation is expected to take three to four weeks per fleet type, as pilots familiarise themselves with the new systems.

But its not just pilots that will be using iPads onboard. In March, Qantas launch in-flight Internet service trials on A380 flights to the US.

And troubled Qantas reckon it will also save on printing costs – currently it prints off 18,000 pages of paper for flight operations every day – and say the full introduction of iPads will see this reduced to 3,000.

The weight of the paper flight library carried on board will drop by 20 kg.

Qantas Technical Pilot, Captain Alex Passerini, said the “revolutionary capabilities of iPad technology, combined with the powerful customized apps, give our pilots the ability to replace cumbersome hard copies – saving time, resources and costs.”

The initiative is a response to strong demand from pilots for a simpler system, and follows extensive testing and  close consultation with the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA), said Passerini.

“Qantas has always strived to lead the way in flight operations technology, be it our pioneering of the Future Air Navigation System in the 1990s or our work with on-board satellite navigation today.”