New tech, new problems

With more and more pilots using tablets in the cockpits, new opportunities for glitches arise…

Can an iPad ground dozens of flights flights? No – despite what some reporting implied.

But a systematic app failure on a whole series of pilot-ready iPads can make a whole bunch of flights very late.

The new version of the runway map for Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport caused problems for pilots who had stored a previous copy of the map on an Apple iPad app used in the cockpit, according to an American Airlines spokesperson.

Pilots who attempted to access the Reagan airport map Tuesday night encountered a glitch when two versions of the same map were in conflict, the spokesperson said. American Airlines has alerted pilots to the problem, and to a work-around to avoid future delays until the next update.

A timely reminder that tech solving one bunch of problems usually opens up one or two more. And the impact of a bug in some apps is way more significant than in most others.

Image by flightlog and used under a Creative Commons licence