We’ve previously reported on the FAA approving and several airlines switching to iPads to replace multipound stacks of paper in the cockpit. Now that is spreading to the government. The US Air Force is purchasing 18,000 iPads to use in C-5 Galaxy and C-17 Globemaster cargo planes.

By reducing the weight that its planes carry, the move could save the Air Force as much as $1.2 million in fuel costs per year. (I wonder how much is saved in fuel costs by airline passengers bringing Kindles instead of a bunch of print books?)

"Moving from a paper-based to an electronically based flight publication system will not only enhance operational effectiveness, it can also save the Department of Defense time and money," said Maj. Gen. Rick Martin, the director of operations for the Air Mobility Command. "Electronic flight bags are becoming an industry standard due to their operational, environmental and cost savings benefits."

This is in keeping with a directive President Obama issued in November directing all branches of government to reduce their reliance on costly paper.

(Found via Slashdot.)


  1. You have to turn off all of your stuff during takeoff and landing so that you will put it away. If the plane has to be evacuated, they would rather not have people tripping on Kindles and getting tangled up in earphone wires as they try to get out of the plane.

    That passengers take ebooks instead of paper books saves zero dollars for the airlines. The extra space in passenger suitcases is filled up with other, lower prioority stuff that would otherwise have been left at home.

  2. Did someone fail basic math here? 18000 ipads at $500 a pop = $9 million. In other words, it’ll take about 7.5 years for them to actually result any savings, at which point most of them will either be dead or replaced by something else. Even given a hefty discount from Apple, I doubt it makes economic sense given just fuel costs.

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