Marine Corps and Civilian Aircrews Replacing Maps With iPads

Discussion in 'iOS Blog Discussion' started by MacRumors, Jun 21, 2011.

  1. macrumors bot


    Apr 12, 2001


    Civilian and military flight crews are increasing looking to the iPad to replace bulky maps and flight manuals, saving weight and ensuring that crews always have the most up to date materials.

    In the past month, both American Airlines and Alaska Airlines have begun distributing iPads to their pilots to reduce the number of paper maps flight crews must to carry around and fly with. The switch saves paper, and thus fuel, by reducing the weight of pilots' flight bags which can weigh several dozen pounds.

    iPads are also seeing action in war zones. DVIDS reports how Marine Corps aviators are using iPads in Afghanistan:
    The U.S. Navy is using iPads as well. The image at the top of this article shows U.S. Navy Information Systems Technician 2nd Class Michael Tolbert uploading "geographical data onto tactical Apple iPad tablets to be used for combat operations aboard the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson at sea April 19, 2011."

    The secure tablet storage box the Navy is using in that picture appears to be a Pelican 1630 Transport Case, available on for $299.94 (with free shipping!).

    (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Christopher K. Hwang/Released)

    Article Link: Marine Corps and Civilian Aircrews Replacing Maps With iPads
  2. macrumors member

    May 17, 2010
    too awesome! The way the iPad has changed the world has been subtle yet still profound
  3. macrumors regular

    Aug 25, 2006
    Elgin, IL
    I've got a Pelican 1600 for my photo equipment. Love it!
  4. macrumors newbie


    Oct 11, 2010
    This is cool, but what about the regulation that all electronic devices must be switched off during takeoff and landing??
  5. macrumors 65816


    Jul 19, 2006
    The Alaska Airlines article covered that:

    This sounds like a bit of a disconnect. Based on the vast amount of plane info and maps in the device, it seems that the flight crew might need to consult them close to takeoff or landing.
  6. macrumors 68040


    Jun 16, 2008
    That regulation is only applicable to Part 121 (commercial) operations. It does not apply to Part 91 (general aviation), Part 135 (chartered/fractional), or military operations.. Though the Congress/FAA wants to change that..

  7. macrumors 68000


    Jan 11, 2010
    These are neat applications of the ipad. The planes should start being equipped with solar panels built in for charging devices like this.

    The ipad will continue to be the dominant tablet. Sure some other tablets will take some of the marketplace. But the ipad will remain at 75% for some time.

    Apparently the mobile carriers are looking at dropping the subsidies on tablets as well. The ipad doesn't need it (people want it) and the sales of the competition just aren't enough to warrant it.
  8. macrumors 68030

    Amazing Iceman

    Nov 8, 2008
    Florida, U.S.A.
    I think the interference issue with airplanes is all BS, a panic inherited from many years ago.
    Some flights now allow certain electronic devices to be used, even offer WiFi access.

    Plus the whole world is saturated with RF interference. The plane itself generates RF.
    The plane's sensors and antennas are external, such as Comm, Navigation, GPS, radio, etc.

    In any case, all iOS devices and many others have what is called: "Airplane Mode".
  9. Moderator


    Staff Member

    Apr 2, 2008
    Its also good for killing them damn angry birds.
  10. macrumors 6502

    Oct 26, 2007
    Fascinating development since the 2nd M.A.W. is the unit doing large scale Air Assault war games from Quantico, VA to the Pinecastle Bombing Range in Ocala, FL starting yesterday and running through Friday. I imagine they'll be using iPads and iPhones.
  11. macrumors 68040


    I make calls, download updated charts, text people, and check mail on my iPhone all the time in small planes and helicopters. Bearing in mind that GA instruments are not nearly as well designed or shielded as the stuff found in airliners, the fact that I've never had an instrument failure or even the slightest hiccup while circling downtown with a phone shoved underneath my headset makes me think that the FAR's are outdated and unfounded.

    That being said, if the aircrew tells you to do something, listen. Their job is to keep you safe!
  12. macrumors 68000


    Jan 11, 2010
    I think most of the time it is Ok really. But once I had a crew announce that people needed to check because the instruments weren't behaving properly and someone's device was interfering.
  13. macrumors 6502a

    May 2, 2008
    This is great, but let's hope they didn't forget to charge the iPad before take off... And also, let's hope they have another iPad handy in the cock pit in case the one they're using dies.... ;)
  14. macrumors 6502

    Jul 9, 2008
  15. macrumors 6502

    Oct 26, 2007
    Allegedly they (Military) use closed apps developed just for them. Rumor has it that they (ground troops) can take out an iPhone and use it's GPS to add what we know as a Red Pin (Google Maps) onto where they believe to be enemy troops. They then text that to an aircraft, which locks onto the coords with a GPS guided bomb. It's speculation and nothing is ever said officially, but it's kinda the obvious thing.
  16. macrumors 68020

    Jan 9, 2007
    You still carry paper charts. This isn't much different than flying the charts on the Garmin 1000 glass cockpit. Even though it is highly reliable and convenient, it's still a bad habit to not have your paper charts in your bag and trace out your course with a pencil before your flight.
  17. macrumors 68040


    I used my iPhone with copilot and a tomtom dock on a long multi-waypoint flight last month and the combination performed flawlessly... that being said, if the app crashed or I lost power to the dock the day would have been very, very sad without backup charts. :(
  18. macrumors member

    Jun 28, 2007
    Battery life

    Just curious, what is the battery life on these binders that they used to carry?
  19. macrumors newbie

    Jun 21, 2011
    The regulations allow an operator to use or allow any electronic device as long as the operator determines that it will not cause interference.

    (a) Except as provided in paragraph (b) of this section, no person may operate, nor may any operator or pilot in command of an aircraft allow the operation of, any portable electronic device on any U.S.-registered civil aircraft operating under this part.

    (b) Paragraph (a) of this section does not apply to --

    (1) Portable voice recorders;

    (2) Hearing aids;

    (3) Heart pacemakers;

    (4) Electric shavers; or

    (5) Any other portable electronic device that the part 119 certificate holder has determined will not cause interference with the navigation or communication system of the aircraft on which it is to be used.

    (c) The determination required by paragraph (b)(5) of this section shall be made by that part 119 certificate holder operating the particular device to be used.
  20. macrumors 65816

    Mar 9, 2005
    Seems like an awful idea maps are wonderfully durable and don't require batteries.

    I would hate to be a marine stuck in the middle of nowhere with a broken ipad and no idea how to read a map.

    Technology is great but increased complexity comes with the potential for failure(s) always.
  21. macrumors member

    Feb 24, 2011
    Wow, I wonder how many million that cost. More money down the defense budget rathole.
  22. macrumors 68040


    Jun 16, 2008
    Compared to how much it takes to cut the tree, make the paper, print their documents on said paper a number of thousands of times, and destroy them when the new cycles come out? If following the normal AIRAC cycle, those charts get updated every 28 days. Let's use a round figure.. let's say 2000 times, and there are 50 pages per cycle. You're looking at 10000 pages every 28 days. And after that 28 days, they get thrown away.

    That, vs. the cost of 2000 iPads, that only need to be bought once. That's a huge SAVINGS over that 28 day period that you're not realizing. That's why AAL and ASA went to iPads over paper charts, and why most Part 121 ops are drifting that way.

  23. macrumors newbie

    Sep 22, 2008

    1) Maps still work fine if a bullet is shot though it. Or if they are dropped. Maps also do not run out of batteries.

    2) I want assurances there are no Angry Birds on the battlefield.
  24. macrumors 6502a


    Jan 2, 2010
    Menlo Park, CA
    The Military has gone soft.. and it's said to hear a full replacement of something thats more reliable & portable and has been used since ancient times, being replaced by the iPad...

    Bad move by the Military, but I'm not surprised
  25. macrumors 68040

    Dr McKay

    Aug 11, 2010
    The British Army has been using the iPad to train their Helicopter Pilots and even plan exercises/missions.

    They say the younger officers respond to it much better than the old-fashioned training techniques.

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