View Full Version : What does a flight manual look like and how much does it weigh?
18th Apr 2012, 21:29
I'm new to this forum but am doing research for a university project about the use of iPads as a replacement for paper aircraft manuals, for example, with the recent news of Alaska Airlines and United Airlines introducing iPads in the cockpit.
If I'm posting this question in the wrong forum or if there's someone else I should ask instead, please let me know :)
I was wondering if you could give me an idea of:
- The weight and number of pages in a set of flight manuals for one aircraft (e.g. for a business jet, like a Gulfstream 550)
- Does each aircraft only come with one set of manuals? Or is every pilot authorized to fly the plane get his/her own set of manuals?
- Where can I get a photo of an aircraft manual (not the specific contents, just a photo that gives an indication of how thick the manual is).
If you could help anyway, that'd be really great as there doesn't seem to be much information online about this topic!
Thanks in advance,
19th Apr 2012, 11:58
Back of a fag packet calculation:
We have a big nav bag with Jepps, two SEP manuals, and a few other docs. Elsewhere in the flight deck you have the MEL, 2 FCOMs, QRH, Ops Manual. That lot has to be at least 10 kgs.
At 2.5% per hour that's 0.25kg of fuel per hour just to carry it around. If the aircraft is flying 15 hours per day, thats roughly 5500 hours per year and 1.365 tons of fuel per year.
Latest IATA fuel price is US$1092/metric ton. 1092*1.365= US$1490.58.
So by not carrying around our paper docs we would save about $1500 annually, that's over $300,000 for the whole fleet.
Obviously you have the cost of purchasing, maintaining and carrying the tablets to take off those savings.
19th Apr 2012, 15:03
Hi Torque Tonight,
Thanks for your answer, that's really helpful.
To follow up,
- What's a SEP manual?
- What does "at 2.5% per hour" mean exactly?
And for reference what plane(s) do you fly? :)
19th Apr 2012, 15:09
What does "at 2.5% per hour" mean exactly?
That lot has to be at least 10 kgs.
At 2.5% per hour that's 0.25kg of fuel per hour just to carry it around.
Shouldn't it be obvious!
19th Apr 2012, 17:19
We used to carry a normal complement of manuals, which meant one OM-A, OM-B I/II/III, OM-D, two QRH, two binder with jeppesen airport booklets for our normal destinations and alternates and two full jeppesen route manuals for europe and northern africra, and of course two performance weight chart books. Additionally a forms binder, tech log and technical documentation in one binder (all dents, the complete maintenance history and so on), and another binder with all certificates and regulatory papers as well as an AFM. All in all around 40 to 50 kg of paper.
We got rid of that around eight or nine years ago and since then do not carry any paper charts at all, nor any AFM, any OMs and so on. We still have the tech-log/technical documentation binder, the regulatory information binder and a forms binder as well as two QRHs. The rest is available electronically on two windows based tablet PCs, in the beginning HP slates which were nice and light weight but broke easily which have since been replaced with two generations of military grade pen tablet PCs (EFB Class I). We are currently in the process of introducing fixed installations of EFB II computers which interface with the aircraft systems.
If it were not for a regulatory demand to save OFPs on paper we would not use any paper information during normal operation, however we have to print that out before flight and take it on board, the rest of the briefing package is saved on an USB stick and available via the EFBs. The same USB thumb drive has a full update set to bring any new EFB up to date and is the source of EFB updating at least once each week.
All in all we save at least 30 to 40 kg of weight with those changes which translates in our airline business to fuel savings of several tens of millions euro per year.
19th Apr 2012, 17:27
Shouldn't it be obvious!
I guess not: why ask the question ??
19th Apr 2012, 17:47
OK, just to spell it out:
A rule of thumb for jet airliners:
The additional fuel burnt in order to carry additional load on board the aircraft is approximately 2.5% by mass of the extra load carried, per hour.
Carrying an extra 100kg would increase your fuel burn by approximately 2.5 kg per hour.
SEP manual = Safety and Emergency Procedures manual.
Our manuals are approximately A5 in size, a couple of inches thick and with the consistency of a telephone directory!
I did not include the Tech Log or Certificates File in my guesstimate because for regulatory reasons those must be hard copies.
My current type is B737NG.