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Delta Airlines now testing Apple iPad as electronic flight bag

post #1 of 28
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Delta Airlines has started testing iPads as electronic flight bags domestically, in order to evaluate the viability of replacing printed on-board manuals and other information with digital versions and custom iOS applications.

The airline is interested in digitizing on-board flight information that has typically been printed out, Flightglobal has found out, and the company will start using Apples iPad as an electronic flight bag (EFB) in a limited testing phase that includes 22 devices.

The iPads will be preloaded with manuals, charts, and specific iOS applications that would help pilots receive updated information or compute various calculations otherwise done by hand.

Were loading Jeppesen Mobile TC charting software, a GoodReader document viewer that contains all of our manuals in an electronic format, and the Journey browser, which allows access to iCrew, Delta Senior Vice President Steve Dickson said. A Delta Meteorology app provides access to pilot-tailored graphical weather information and real-time looped Delta radar. Each pilot will have access to their Delta e-mail account and calendar.

Other preloaded tools include a writing app, a web browser, a PDF viewer, a Wi-Fi finder app as well as crew rest and cruise rest period calculators. Although all 22 iPads will have the same suite of Delta apps installed, the pilots will have the opportunity to install any additional aviation applications as required during the test period.

Delta aims to bring instant wireless communications capabilities to its flights and a tablet like the iPad could provide such capabilities to current crews and even take part in changing the training process for Deltas pilots. During this process the company will use both Wi-Fi and 3G+Wi-Fi iPad models.

The company said that it views the iPad as more than just a traditional EFBs. "We have expanded our vision beyond how other carriers are utilising tablet devices and see its potential as a complete two-way communication tool," Dickson said

The test will check whether the iPad solution works for users who are less familiar with technology. "Roughly a quarter of our testers rated themselves as 'tech un-savvy,'" Delta said. "We need to make sure a solution is user friendly to any pilot, no matter their IT skill level while providing us a top of the line product that gives us long term expansion capabilities."

Domestic passengers on the airline already have access, for a fee, to Gogo Wi-Fi in-flight connectivity, and the company is also exploring adding such capabilities to its international flights.

Once the iPad testing is complete, the airline will swap Apples tablet with Android Honeycomb devices. 16 Motorola Xooms will then be used as EFBs in a new trial run starting with mid-September.

The FAA has already authorized the use of Apples iPad as EFBs. Both American Airlines and Alaska Airlines have started to replace paper manuals, which weigh as much as 40 pounds, with iPads preloaded with all the information required by pilots during flights in a similar endeavor to remove all on-board paper and use tablets containing all the required flight data instead.

Credit: American Airlines
post #2 of 28
Ok, let's hear from all of the 'pilots' out there as to how this is a terrible idea etc etc.

Yawn.
post #3 of 28
Doesn't Delta know the iPad is just a toy and not a device that can actually be productive?
post #4 of 28
Notice that it's only the iPad that these companies are integrating into their processes, not just any old tablet they can get for a few bucks less. Much different than the Mac v. PC wars of yesteryear.

Apple is stable, the platform is stable. It's not going to go away because of lawsuits or acquisition. There is so much uncertainty in the Android/WebOS/Bada/WindowsPhone worlds that big players just can't take a chance. Besides, it just works really well.
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post #5 of 28
As long as they don't "endanger my safety" by using them below 10,000 feet I'm fine with the idea....
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post #6 of 28
Just watched an old Star Trek episode and I see they are still using iPads centuries from now
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post #7 of 28
I pretty much thought the Xoom was dead, but I guess I was wrong. Well, if Delta gives both a fair test, the best device for the job will probably win. The Xoom won't be able to undercut the iPad in cost so it won't be a matter of cost savings if they go with the Xoom. In fact, if Delta used the iPad 1 it would be less expensive than the Xoom but I'm sure Delta isn't going to do that. An airline would be foolish to just go with the cheapest product it could buy.
post #8 of 28
When I read the headline I first thought it means that ipads are now replacing those brown bags that you throw up into if you are having trouble flying. I was laughing for a good 10 seconds envisioning an "electronic flight bag". Imagination is sometimes funnier then reality.
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post #9 of 28
To think that this happened before Angry Birds and their pilots (Delta now owns Northwest) got iPads:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Northwe...nes_Flight_188
post #10 of 28
Delata's not the only one... All airlines will be doing this shortly.
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post #11 of 28
Why are people questioning this? Not that you are a licensed commercial pilot or anything. Give them a break to test and what not. It is a two-way communication device plus they are consulting with the authorities and their own pilots. Move forward.
post #12 of 28
I didn't know that some Delta pilots are "tech un-savvy". Kinda scary.

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post #13 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by Constable Odo View Post

... An airline would be foolish to just go with the cheapest product it could buy.

HaHaHa ... that is EXACTLY how airlines are run these days!
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post #14 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by irnchriz View Post

Ok, let's hear from all of the 'pilots' out there as to how this is a terrible idea etc etc.

Yawn.

haha. copy and paste the comments from the last time this came up. hmm, that could apply to any number of news items/threads here...
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post #15 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by Constable Odo View Post

I pretty much thought the Xoom was dead, but I guess I was wrong. Well, if Delta gives both a fair test, the best device for the job will probably win. The Xoom won't be able to undercut the iPad in cost so it won't be a matter of cost savings if they go with the Xoom. In fact, if Delta used the iPad 1 it would be less expensive than the Xoom but I'm sure Delta isn't going to do that. An airline would be foolish to just go with the cheapest product it could buy.

I hope we the flying public can be informed if any pilot is depending on a Zoom in the future and make an informed decision prior to boarding as to whether we wish to risk flying on such a plane!
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post #16 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by jd_in_sb View Post

I didn't know that some Delta pilots are "tech un-savvy". Kinda scary.

I think it depends on their level of intoxication during flight.
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post #17 of 28
is this the.iVomit?
post #18 of 28
This is ridiculous. This is just another attempt to grab more money. They already charge a bunch to check normal bags, now they try to charge another fee to check an extra cabin bag. The delta reviews are already pretty bad... what's next?
post #19 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by Robin Huber View Post

Notice that it's only the iPad that these companies are integrating into their processes, not just any old tablet they can get for a few bucks less. Much different than the Mac v. PC wars of yesteryear.

Apple is stable, the platform is stable. It's not going to go away because of lawsuits or acquisition. There is so much uncertainty in the Android/WebOS/Bada/WindowsPhone worlds that big players just can't take a chance. Besides, it just works really well.

Beat me to it. Whatever else we can say about Android vs. iOS, it seems clear that when it comes to enterprise adoption Android's "open" (as in a bit chaotic) nature and partner platform (as in erratic) deployment strategy are a hindrance.

Apple has that steady as she goes vibe. The hardware is completely consistent, and no one has to wonder if it will be abruptly withdrawn because it needs more tinkering or didn't sell well in a particular iteration. Although Apple isn't litigation proof, it's clear who will be defending the IP and that they will spare no effort to do so.

All the "openness" an enterprise needs is a robust SDK and way to distribute apps internally, which they have. Beyond that, the things that make Android the darling of the geek set make it a challenge for enterprise-- and why take on a challenge when you have the easy answer right there at the same price?
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post #20 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by addabox View Post

Beat me to it. Whatever else we can say about Android vs. iOS, it seems clear that when it comes to enterprise adoption Android's "open" (as in a bit chaotic) nature and partner platform (as in erratic) deployment strategy are a hindrance.

Apple has that steady as she goes vibe. The hardware is completely consistent, and no one has to wonder if it will be abruptly withdrawn because it needs more tinkering or didn't sell well in a particular iteration. Although Apple isn't litigation proof, it's clear who will be defending the IP and that they will spare no effort to do so.

All the "openness" an enterprise needs is a robust SDK and way to distribute apps internally, which they have. Beyond that, the things that make Android the darling of the geek set make it a challenge for enterprise-- and why take on a challenge when you have the easy answer right there at the same price?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Robin Huber View Post

Notice that it's only the iPad that these companies are integrating into their processes, not just any old tablet they can get for a few bucks less. Much different than the Mac v. PC wars of yesteryear.

Apple is stable, the platform is stable. It's not going to go away because of lawsuits or acquisition. There is so much uncertainty in the Android/WebOS/Bada/WindowsPhone worlds that big players just can't take a chance. Besides, it just works really well.

Did the two of you somehow miss this paragraph in the story?

"Once the iPad testing is complete, the airline will swap Apples tablet with Android Honeycomb devices. 16 Motorola Xooms will then be used as EFBs in a new trial run starting with mid-September."
post #21 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by tonton View Post

Did the two of you somehow miss this paragraph in the story?

"Once the iPad testing is complete, the airline will swap Apple’s tablet with Android Honeycomb devices. 16 Motorola Xooms will then be used as EFBs in a new trial run starting with mid-September."

Yep, and I'm not surprised that they feel they need to do due diligence to prove that they made a considered choice, but do you really imagine that they then will pick the Xoom? Given that Motorola just got bought and might not be offering the Xoom for much longer? And given the fact that the Xoom offers no advantages whatsoever over the iPad, while doing so in a heavier, bulkier package?

We're rapidly entering the "nobody ever got fired for choosing the iPad" phase of things, which is pretty remarkable given how new it is.
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post #22 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by tonton View Post

Did the two of you somehow miss this paragraph in the story?

"Once the iPad testing is complete, the airline will swap Apples tablet with Android Honeycomb devices. 16 Motorola Xooms will then be used as EFBs in a new trial run starting with mid-September."

Yes, I did miss that. Thanks for pointing it out. Makes you go "hmmmm." But I take comfort from Addabox's post.
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post #23 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by Robin Huber View Post

Yes, I did miss that. Thanks for pointing it out. Makes you go "hmmmm." But I take comfort from Addabox's post.

Very classy response.
post #24 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by tonton View Post

Did the two of you somehow miss this paragraph in the story?

"Once the iPad testing is complete, the airline will swap Apples tablet with Android Honeycomb devices. 16 Motorola Xooms will then be used as EFBs in a new trial run starting with mid-September."

The thing is, airlines (and 98% of the entire aviation industry) pretty much rely on Jeppesson to provide charts at this point, whether paper or electronic.
The airlines, especially have a pretty close relationship with Jeppesson to the tune of customized and proprietary charts.

The iPad is the only tablet that Jepp has an App for AT THIS POINT. So until Jepp supports another OS, there really isn't an alternative to the iPad for this function as yet.
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post #25 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by KingOfSomewhereHot View Post

The thing is, airlines (and 98% of the entire aviation industry) pretty much rely on Jeppesson to provide charts at this point, whether paper or electronic.
The airlines, especially have a pretty close relationship with Jeppesson to the tune of customized and proprietary charts.

The iPad is the only tablet that Jepp has an App for AT THIS POINT. So until Jepp supports another OS, there really isn't an alternative to the iPad for this function as yet.

You have to wonder what they're planning to do with the Xoom trial, then.
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post #26 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by addabox View Post

You have to wonder what they're planning to do with the Xoom trial, then.

It could be that Jepp has stuff in the works for other mobile OS's already... it would make sense. But right now, the iPad App is the only one they've released.
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post #27 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by KingOfSomewhereHot View Post

It could be that Jepp has stuff in the works for other mobile OS's already... it would make sense. But right now, the iPad App is the only one they've released.

Yeah, that would be my read-- possibly under pressure from the carriers themselves, since they probably don't like the idea of single vendor sourcing.

BTW, that doesn't conflict with my idea that they're likely to settle on the iPad, it's just that everyone likes to have a plan B.
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post #28 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by addabox View Post

Yeah, that would be my read-- possibly under pressure from the carriers themselves, since they probably don't like the idea of single vendor sourcing. ....

But they don't seem to have a problem with "single vendor sourcing" for their charts themselves. (Available from Jeppesson and nowhere else.)
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