Want to fly a rescue helicopter over the Pacific Ocean? Apparently, there’s an app for that.

GigaOm‘s Erica Ogg wrote an interesting piece Tuesday about how her husband, a rescue pilot, has started using his iPad to replace the 10 to 40 pounds’ worth of flight manuals, itineraries, and reams of charts pilots used to lug into the cockpit for every flight. (We wrote about the FAA clearing the iPad back in December, although not every airline has started actually using them yet.)

The article, besides being a little shocking (pilots still use paper sheets? And the “airplane-flying” app is free?!), there are a few take-aways for field service managers considering upgrading their employees’ technology.

  • “The cool thing about Foreflight is it makes sure you’ve always downloaded the most current chart. And I use PDF Expert ($9.99) so that now I have dozens of pounds of manuals in this [1.5]-pound device and I can reference them wherever I am.
  • “If you ever see pilots pulling their roller carts through the airport, that’s not all luggage — they might have a toothbrush in there but mostly those are flight pubs. In our aircraft 10 pounds equals about a minute of flying. More fuel equals more time equals more options.”

How many manuals does the typical field tech take with him out on a job? And if they’re using a laptop computer to access those manuals, how much easier would an iPad make their work? Just some food for thought.

More: How the iPad Has Revolutionized the Job for One Field Service Veteran.

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ABOUT Ian Stewart

Avatar photoIan is a veteran journalist who has covered sports for various news outlets. Previously, he was managing editor for an electronic-book publishing company and a public relations writer.