Enterprise IT

Air Force testing iPad minis to replace traditional paper navigation

The Air Force will soon undergo a 90-day trial period to test the effectiveness of using iPad minis to replace traditional paper navigation charts and flight manuals found in flight bags, reports Belleville News-Democrat.

A single iPad mini, weighing less than 11 ounces, will replace about 50 pounds of paper that must be updated and replaced every two months. This could save the Air Force up to $50 million over the next 10 years by cutting fuel, paper and time costs.

Following a notice posted on Feb. 2, the Air Force awarded a contract to Executive Technology of Phoenix to purchase a maximum of 18,000 iPad 2 devices to meet data storage needs. The devices, however, were too big for the users’ cockpits. The iPad minis could be better alternatives.

In an interview with BND, Maj. Jared Detloff of the 375th Operations Group said “the devices essentially pay for themselves relatively quickly when you look at how often we have to replace the paper.”

The Air Force is following in suite of some commercial airlines that made the switch more than two years ago. Alaska Airlines reported a savings of 2.4 million pieces of paper and fuel savings from reduced weight. Two months later, United Airlines deployed 11,000 iPads and announced saving an estimated 326,000 gallons of jet fuel yearly. 

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