Qantas has confirmed no plans to change restrictions on mobile and other devices on planes, despite announcing plans to dole out some 2200 iPads to pilots.
The airline said Telstra would help install up to four iPads in each cockpit, replacing more than 18,000 pages of charts, flight plans, operations manuals and forms with a total 3000 pages available to view through one of the tablets.
The 64 GB iPads will run two native apps for pilots; one developed for flight charts by Boeing subsidiary Jeppesen and another internally developed by Qantas.
When asked about potential changes to restrictions on use of customer devices during flight, a spokesman for the airline pointed to recent comments made by Qantas technical pilot Alex Passerini.
He told The Australian that Qantas had worked with the Civil Aviation Safety Authority to determine safety of the operations of the iPad during flights, including ensuring the device did not affect flight controls, oxygen mask deployment, emergency evacuation, and electromagnetic controls during take-off and landing.
The move to introduce iPads for pilots on Qantas planes coincides with the US Federal Aviation Authority similarly approving iPad use in limited circumstances by pilots on commercial airliners this month.
Authorised iPads have slowly made their way into planes over recent years, with Qantas subsidiary Jetstar introducing iPads in 2011 as a replacement entertainment system for the traditional head-rest TV screen.
But the continued influx of consumer devices into planes has not led to any changes in existing flight restrictions on passenger-owned device.
"The reality is we've tested a very specific configuration ... operating in this specific configuration," Passerini said.
"Unfortunately, there are so many different configurations and devices in the cabin it would be virtually impossible for us to test every conceivable configuration."
When pressed further for comment, the spokesman said that "no airline has reached the stage where it can say definitively that there is no risk from having consumer devices on during take-off and landing — Qantas included".
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