Airline to replace pilot manuals with iPads

Alaska Airlines will issue iPad tablet computers to its pilots to replace up to 11kg of paper flight manuals.

The airline says the "electronic flight bag" does not yet include navigational charts, but the company is exploring that possibility as well.

Alaska said the 680-gram iPad, to be issued to all pilots by mid-June, must be stowed during take-off and landing - just as passengers are required to do.

Among the anticipated savings are "fewer back and muscle injuries caused by pilots carrying flight bags that can tip the scales at 22kg or more fully loaded," Alaska said.

The company said it's the first major US airline to replace paper manuals with an iPad.

In February, Executive Jet Management, a unit of NetJets that flies small chartered jets, became the first commercial operator authorised by the Federal Aviation Administration to use iPads as the sole source of reference info while on the runway and in the air.