Sometimes the idea of placing all the manuals and software needed in the plane cockpit on a tablet seems wrong. Why? Because recently there was a bit of an incident that seems to point at tablets for blame.


A Qatar Airways Boeing 777 that was travelling from Miami to Doha hit airport lights during takeoff and flew 13 hours with a big 46 cm hole in its fuselage. That happened because the pilot zoomed in too far on a tablet PC. The half a meter tear happened behind the cargo door and there were also other dents and scratches on the external airframe, going up to 18 square meter of damaged skin.

The tablet computer on board had the EFB on board, which is the Electronic Flight Bad, a system that places all the documents that pilots need on the tablet, instead of a a ton of paper. The flight commander had the screen zoomed in, so he could see the names of taxiways as he passed them by, but this also meant he missed some elements on the runway.

If the tablet had been zoomed out a bit more, the commander would have been able to see the proper takeoff area. That’s not the first time a tablet affected a flight, since in Australia a plane hit the runway after an entry error on an iPad.