Ever since the advent of navigation, pilots and sailors have always relied upon paper maps to find their way across to their destinations. Even after advanced electronics and GPS systems were introduced in the modern era, it is commonplace for pilots to carry over 20 pounds of papers depicting each and every minute detail of their journey. However, we have now moved on to a completely new way of accurate navigation, and these paper maps are now slowly giving way to iPads for the same purposes.
The charter company called Executive Jet Management has recently been allowed by the Federal Aviation Administration to replace paper maps with the latest Apple tablet. It took three months of rigorous tests and trials of the iPad and Mobile TC, which is an app developed by the aviation chart making company Jeppson to render aviation maps on the iPad, to get the authorization. The decision may only apply for the moment to Executive Jet Management, but it surely will have many far reaching consequences for the aviation industry on the whole. After allowing pilots of the company to use iPads in place of paper charts for navigation, the FAA acknowledges the potential of devices such as the iPad in replacing the traditional avionic aids.
Since it was introduced last year, the iPad has gained a large amount of popularity in all the sections of society for its diverse usability, even with the pilots. However, up to this moment they couldn’t use it as aviation equipment in the place of the traditional paper charts or the FAA approved special devices which are also very expensive. The pilots could use it as a device for reference, but could not use only the iPad for the job. The new authorization from the FAA changes it all, and is also a signal of things to come, with commercial entertainment devices increasingly performing functions earlier reserved for specialized devices, like GPS and now avionic aids.