You might think your iPad is a useful tool in your daily life, but it has the potential to be more helpful than you even know. In the right scenario, it might even be capable of saving lives. And now, a pilot in a tight spot has proved that you can use an iPad to land an airplane.
When the single-engine plane piloted by Raymond Cody took to the air this Tuesday, he quickly realized the instrument panel was malfunctioning, and the navigation system failed soon after that. The flight was a brief one, just making the venture from Colorado to Grand Junction, but Cody realized that without the use of the instrument panel, he'd have no way of directing the flight or notifying the airport officials of his arrival and landing. Luckily, he had two things that he was able to use to save the flight: a cell phone and an iPad.
Although there was no danger of the airplane motor failing, Cody found himself unable to contact anyone on the radio of the cockpit's instrument panel. Using his cell phone, he called the first number he could dig up, which happened to be for the TSA Customer Service Hotline. With the assistance of an app installed on his iPad and guidance from a TSA agent by the name of Gene Manzanares, he was able to safely navigate and land the plane in Grand Junction
Cody relayed his position to Manzanares over the phone, while tracking the flight path of the plane on his iPad. Manzanares contacted the control tower and helped to coordinate the landing. Their emergency communication lasted for almost thirty minutes. The two were introduced the next day so that Cody could communicate his gratitude.
Cody spoke to KKCO NBC 11 News, saying, "Gene's my hero. He was real calm, kept me calm, and I do appreciate it."
Use of iPads for pilots was approved back in February of 2011 by the Federal Aviation Administration, taking the formerly required paper charts and manuals and condensing them into an electronic form, available on the tablet. Now that this practice has been accepted, it's exciting to see it benefitting a pilot, and bringing him home safely.