A new flight navigation application has been green-lighted by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), opening the friendly skies for iPads to be used as alternatives to paper charts for pilots.
Executive Jet Management, a jet charter operator, received authorization from the FAA to use the Jeppesen Mobile TC App for the iPad as an alternative to traditional paper charts, allowing the company’s pilots to operate the iPad as the sole reference for electronic charts during taxi, takeoff and landing.
Jeppesen, Executive Jet Management and the FAA recently completed a three-month in-flight evaluation of the iPad-based solution. During the evaluation, pilots for the charter operator logged more than 250 flight segments using the app, and the device even passed a rapid decompression test to 51,000 feet in altitude.
The iPad configuration authorized by the FAA is considered a “Class 1 portable kneeboard electronic flight bag solution,” meaning that the iPad needs to be secured and viewable during critical flight phases, according to the company.
As the iPad nears its one-year anniversary, it is quickly becoming clear the device is capable of more than reading e-books and dashing off e-mails. After receiving approval from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) last week, the iPad is also being used for important science and medical research, including medical diagnoses.
The FDA recently cleared a radiology app for the iPad that allows physicians to view medical images like MRI, CT and PET scans. The approval of such an app as a complimentary, or ancillary, device in important medical settings is just one more step in the iPad's evolution from curiosity to integral instrument.
While the authorization from the FAA is for only one jet charter operator, the move is likely a precursor to wider adaption by the airlines.