United announced that it is converting to paperless flight decks and deploying 11,000 iPads to all United and Continental pilots. (PRNewsFoto/United Continental Holdings, Inc.)
United-Continental says it's the first major carrier to go paperless in the cockpit.
Up until now, pilots have had to lug around 40 pounds of operating manuals, navigation charts, handbooks, checklists, and weather information.
The iPad that will replace all that stuff weighs less than a pound-and-a-half. They take up far less space, and are easier to carry through security checkpoints.
United says pilots won't have to thumb through thousands of pages to get what they need. Also, they can get updates without waiting for revisions to be printed.
The airline predicts change will save nearly 16 million sheets of paper every year, along with 326,000 gallons of jet fuel. That's enough to fill about 30 Boeing 757s.
The iPads started going out to United's 11,000 pilots this month. Every pilot should have one by the end of the year.