Markontech trebuchet

Should airline pilots have Wi-Fi access? Southwest and other airlines say yes

More and more pilots are being given access to iPads, Android-based Galaxy tablets, and other electronic devices for use in the cockpit. Replacing fifty pounds of manuals and charts with a three-pound tablet sounds like an easy call. But should pilots have access to Wi-Fi during flight?

An Apex blog post (Apex is the Airline Passenger Experience Association) quotes pilots who wish they had access to the same realtime weather info the passengers a few yards behind them cal call up thanks to Gogo Inflight Internet in the cabin. Southwest Airlines, which has started replacing Gogo equipment in favor of Row 44's satellite-based broadband service, says they plan to put Wi-Fi in the cockpit, as well.

But, will pilots manage to avoid the distractions of being online if they're given Internet access in the cockpit? Just three years ago, a pair of Northwest pilots got distracted and flew 150 miles past their destination because they were both focused on their laptops -- and that was without realtime distractions.

What do you say? Should pilots have access to the Internet while they're flying the plane?


BR November 27, 2012 at 10:33 pm

I think it could be beneficial for pilots to have WiFi. Maybe they could do something to block their access to sites like Facebook and Netflix.

FriendlySkies November 29, 2012 at 12:36 pm

I don't think they should have Internet access. There are a lot of things that they need to be paying attention to during a flight, and reading their email or checking the news is not one of them.

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