70 American Airlines flights delayed due to map app failure

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A map app problem on pilots' iPads led to the delay of more than 70 flights, bringing to light how reliant they are on the newer technology.

An iPad app problem led to the delay of more than 70 American Airlines flights. An app the pilots rely on for mapping their routes, crashed last night, causing a big inconvenience for passengers.

In the past pilots have always lugged around actual maps and stacks and stacks of papers, but American Airlines has traded up for iPads which is more modern and seems less reliable.

A map app crashed the iPads during an automated update, meaning dozens of American Airlines flights couldn't take off.

Aviation consultant Mike McCarron told ABC7 News, "They wanted to make sure they had the correct information, had to get the paper charts back on the aircraft, so there were some delays. An inconvenience, but not a threat or a problem as far as flight safety."

The iPads are supposed to make things more convenient since airlines can save time and paper and so pilots can get updated maps more easily. In addition, the technology literally lightens their load.

American Airlines Cpt. David Clark said, "Obviously, the iPad is very light, compared to 40 pounds of kit bag."

American Airlines has been using iPads for about two years. Some passengers didn't know that, but are not surprised.

Los Angeles resident Michael Klein told ABC7 News, "Having to rely on an iPad, which is where the future is going anyway, it's just... it's always going to be scary, but we're constantly having to evolve."

San Rafael resident Terri Bensinger Levy said, "How it benefits is, you're not having to carry all that paper around, it's probably more user friendly and efficient in some ways, but then, you're dependent."

McCarron says there has to be some kind of backup. He said, "Whether it's just one set of charts on board the aircraft or some other way they can tie in through a wifi system. Anyway they can get the infomation should their system go down."

It's estimated 10,000 iPads are currently being used in planes.
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