Pilots on at least one American Airlines flight today have told passengers that their plane has been grounded because their iPads—which the airline uses to distribute flight plans and other information to the flight crew—have crashed.
“The pilot told us, when they were getting ready to take off the iPad screens went blank, both for the captain and copilot, so they didn’t have the flight plan,” Toni Jacaruso, a passenger on American flight #1654 from Dallas to Austin, told Quartz. Her flight was delayed, and the plane is currently stuck at the departure gate.
“The pilot came on and said that his first mate’s iPad powered down unexpectedly, and his had too, and that the entire 737 fleet on American had experienced the same behavior,” said passenger Philip McRell, who was also on flight #1654. “It seemed unprecedented and very unfamiliar to the pilots.”
American Airlines was not immediately available for comment.
Jacaruso and McRell tweeted about their predicament, as did other passengers, including one passenger on another American flight:
iPad bug has @AmericanAir #737 fleet grounded Sitting at #DFW on #ATX bound plane because Captains iPad crashed
American switched its pilots to an iPad-based “electronic flight bag” in 2013, replacing the heavy paper-based reference materials that pilots carried previously. American said the change would reduce the frequent injuries incurred by pilots from carrying heavy flight bags, and would also save time by making revisions electronically.
The software and data that powers American’s iPad-based flight kits are provided by Jeppesen, a unit of Boeing Digital Aviation.