February 24, 2012
Air Force Cancels iPad Order
Nextgov reports that the Air Force Special Operations Command (AFSOC) has canceled a planned acquisition of 2,861 Apple iPads. The iPads were going to be used as electronic flight bags, replacing the current 40 pounds of charts and technical manuals that the pilots and flight crew currently carry on-board the plane.
Apparently the purchase was withheld because of a specified reader program titled GoodReader. This program was developed in Russia and met the security standards that the Air Force was looking for.
But the director of the Army project Connecting Soldiers to Digital Application, Michael McCarthy told Nextgov that he would not use the software because of the potential security risk.
According to Bernie Skoch, a retired brigadier general with extensive security experience, every line of code has to be examined in order to ensure there is no malicious software embedded in the system, that could eventually end up in the electronic flight bag.
Captain Kristen Duncan says that the electronic flight bag program has not been canceled. The Air Force still plans on using tablet computers in the cockpit, but it is still being evaluated. She said, “We continue to look at each component of the [electronic flight bag] program to ensure we do the right thing for our airmen, don´t introduce unnecessary risk into operations and provide the best tools available to conduct the mission.”
Other Air Force commands, reports PCMag, are moving forward with plans for the electronic flight bag. The Air Mobility Command (AMC) is continuing its plans to put tablet computers in its planes, according to AMC Public Affairs chief Major Mike Andrews.
Even commercial airlines are adopting the technology for its pilots. Last month American Airlines was approved as the first commercial airline to use iPads in the cockpit even without powering them down during takeoff and landing, the riskiest maneuvers for airplanes. Currently other airlines are going through the FAA´s tablet approval process including Alaska Airlines, United and Continental, and Delta.
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