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The U.S. Air Force is hoping to save as much as $50 million over the next 10 years by outfitting pilots and crew with iPads as part of an effort to replace paper-based flight manuals, reports TheStreet.

“We’re saving about 90 pounds of paper per aircraft and limiting the need for each crew member to carry a 30 to 40 pound paper pile [of flight manuals],” Major Brian Moritz, electronic flight bags program manager, tells TheStreet. “It adds up to quite a lot of weight in paper.”

Seattle-based Alaska Airlines made the switch to iPads about two years ago, replacing the bulky flight manuals.

“We’ve been exploring the idea of an electronic flight bag for several years, but never found a device we really liked,” Gary Beck, Alaska Airlines’ vice president of flight operations, said in a release at the time. “When the iPad hit the market, we took one look at it and said this is the perfect fit.”

According to TheStreet, the $9.36 million Air Force contract for 18,000 iPads, awarded last year, will reduce the weight on a C-5 transport plane by 490 pounds. It will save as much as $5 million a year in printing costs by doing away with the paper-based manuals.

Previously on GeekWireMicrosoft inks $617 million deal to bring Windows 8 to 330,000 Department of Defense employees

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