This new development allows charter company Executive Jet Management to use the iPad for electronic mapping on commercial flights. This opens the path for the iPad to become commonplace avionics equipment.
The authorisation of the app and the iPad opens the door for widespread use of tablets as well as more approved app further down the line.
The map app developed by aviation chartmaker Jeppesen and the features available on the iPad and the app include charts for visual flight rules and for instrument flight rules. It is said to be extremely stable. Even in a software crash the app takes moments to restart and be up and running again, and the testing has shown no instabilities.
Tests included dropping the ipad over 51,000 feet in a rapid-decompression simulation, the sames tests as any other critical aviation equipment.
It is the responsibility of individual operators to to know when and how to restart the app the FAA advises.
Alaska Airlines also began testing the iPad in November 2010 and about 100 pilots are currently evaluating the device, according to spokeswoman Marianne Lindsey. “It’s replaced about 25 pounds of manuals and charts,” she noted.