iPads mooted for Qantas flight manuals
Bet cattle class still gets the 'switch off all devices' nag
Last week, when this correspondent was returning to Sydney from Melbourne on the Australian national carrier, the flight was delayed by a recalcitrant keeping his mobile phone switched on. After several stern warnings were relayed from the flight deck, radio silence was achieved and we made our flight.
The alleged dangers of electronics on board a modern airliner aren't enough, however, to keep Qantas from toying with the idea of iPads on the flight deck, according to Australian Business Traveller.
The website says Qantas is investigating the use of iPads to replace the ring-bound flight manuals its pilots usually have to carry. However, the airline hasn't made a final decision.
It also hasn't discussed whether in-flight iPads should ship with or without Angry Birds. ®
What is this obsession with tablets for everything?!
I like Apple kit, don't get me wrong, but it just seems that every single bit of information that would be on a bit of paper now has to be presented on a tablet and more specifically an iPad. Bet Steve is peeing himself laughing at the number of suckers buying these for the more stupid applications.
Sometimes a simple laminated piece of card is suitable. It all just reminds me of the old urban myth/space story, "NASA spent millions getting a biro to write correctly in zero-G, the Russians simply took a pencil up with them.". Sometimes the oldest, simplest things are still the best.
But paper more reliable
Consider the Apple edict that says that their devices fail if you use them where there is snow, and therefore the warrantee is invalid. Now think that often a plane sits on the tarmac at up to 40°C below, and the pilot may have to walk out to it.
Consider that you drop your flight manual on the floor. Do you prefer that maybe 1 or 2 pages gets dirty, or that suddenly you can't see anything at all?
Imagine that you are about to ditch in a river because all 4 engines went out on take-off because of bird ingestion. You press the button for the manual pages for emergency ditch, and it freezes for 30 seconds... you see your life flash in front of your eyes 10 times while waiting for the page
I can see it now
Co-pilot: We have lost all electrical power
Captain: Get me the checklist for power loss from the manual
iDevice: Battery empty - recharge now!
It's all CYA
The original decision was made without any data. Banning it is the safe, CYA approach.
Suppose you personally made the decision to unban it. Now, suppose there's a plane crash for unclear reasons (it happens). And suppose someone claims that mobile phone interference caused it. Since the reason the plane crashed is unclear, you can't PROVE they're wrong. You personally get sued, as well as the company you work for. You have the hassle of a multi-year lawsuit, legal fees of hundreds of thousands of pounds (or dollars), and the worry that you might have to pay millions.
If you're the person deciding whether to unban it, there is no advantage to _you_ from actually unbanning it.
So, for anyone who has the power to unban it, the safest CYA answer is always "not yet, needs more study, your safety is important to us". The same logic applies to companies as well as individuals.
(I'm not saying this is "right", but it is how the world works).
"The manual is there because it legally has to be, not because the pilots don't know what they're doing."
Then why the fuck do they need an iPad if they never RTFM? You've just done a pretty good job of presenting and contradicting your point in just over 6 lines. Bravo!