The Federal Aviation Administration announced this year it would allow two charter companies to bring along an iPad in-flight to replace commonly used paper manuals. The move to tablet computer makes the first time the FAA has allowed pilots to fly without archaic paper charts since planes started flying high in the sky.
Many of the country's major carriers plan to follow suit and introduce devices like an iPad onboard, including Alaska Airlines and American Airlines. According to a USA Today report, "safety
advocates also are enthusiastic about tablet computers, but they warn
that there could be a downside: more distractions in the cockpit."
While an iPad could assist pilots with such features as weather reports, it could also mean pilots might wind up using the popular devices for their own personal use. The FAA is hoping they do not see tweets come from @ImaPilot that read, "Cool, about to land a plane in Hawaii, Aloha lol."
As you might recall, in the fall of 2009, two pilots aboard a Northwest Airlines flight were distracted while flying and missed their destination due to working on their laptops. However, the FAA does not require approval from private pilots when it comes to using mini-computers, and aviation software has continously been a big seller at the Apple App Store.