American Airlines flights hit by issue, leaving planes unable to take off
Airline pilots may have just got another pre-flight check headache following an issue which left flights grounded across the U.S. overnight.
Several dozen American Airlines flights were unable to take off today due to an issue with the iPads used by pilots to plan and prepare for their journeys.
“Some flights are experiencing an issue with a software application on pilot iPads,” American Airlines spokeswoman Andrea Huguely told The Dallas Morning News. “In some cases, the flight has had to return to the gate to access a Wi-Fi connection to fix the issue. We apologise for the inconvenience to our customers. We are working to have them on the way to their destination as soon as possible.”
It is not known yet what caused the issue, but it raises questions over American’s decision to go fully digital.
The airline announced its ‘Electric Flight Bag’ initiative (pictured above) in June 2013, with over 8,000 iPads sent out to its pilots, estimating that the move would save a minimum of 400,000 gallons of fuel and $1.2m each year.
The move swaps out a pilot’s ‘flight bag’, which normally contains all the terminal charts and other required reference materials, for an iPad loaded with a specialised app, saving valuable space and weight (which can be as much as 16kg) on board.
“As the first major commercial airline to successfully complete the Electronic Flight Bag transition across its fleet, we are proud to count this among our other successful programs that provide the tools our people need to perform their duties safely and efficiently,” Patrick O’Keeffe, the airline’s vice president of airline operations technology, sad at the time.
The issue follows a worrying report from US authorities earlier this month which warned that In-flight Wi-Fi could be used by terrorists or other hackers to take control of an aircraft’s avionic systems.
The US Government Accountability Office (GAO) says avionic systems that have traditionally been self-contained are now sharing the same network as passenger Wi-Fi, raising the possibility of remote unauthorised access.
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