FAA: iPad Can Replace Charts For Executive Jet

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Executive Jet has earned official authorization from the FAA to use the Jeppesen Mobile TC App for iPad as a sole reference for electronic charts and as a direct replacement of paper aeronautical charts in the cockpit. Executive Jet managed that after three months of in-flight evaluation that included more than 250 flight segments and one rapid-decompression test initiated at 51,000 feet. That testing involved 55 pilots, and Jeppesen says it was provided with feedback that it incorporated into an update for the app, released last month. For now, the FAA's approval for the Jeppesen app on the iPad is for Executive Jet, and only Executive Jet. Jeppesen hopes that's just the beginning and, according to Jeppesen, many carriers may feel the same way.

Jeppesen's Jeff Buhl told KWGN-TV that "airlines around the world are investigating the iPad right now" and "this is one of the first major approvals." Buhl believes Executive Jet has paved the way for other operators to follow. The authorization earned by Executive Jet can replace up to 50 pounds of paperwork, according to Buhl. Still, some question the prudence of eliminating paper charts as a backup in the cockpit. For that, Executive Jet offers redundancy -- each cockpit carries two pilots and two iPads.