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MacRumors
Aug 16, 2011, 02:00 PM
http://images.macrumors.com/im/macrumorsthreadlogo.gif (http://www.macrumors.com/2011/08/16/delta-testing-ipads-for-real-time-communications-with-pilots/)


Delta Air Lines is testing 22 iPads (http://www.flightglobal.com/articles/2011/08/15/360771/delta-begins-tablet-efb-test-eyes-communication-transformation.html) as "EFBs" or electronic flight bags, in an effort to save weight and improve communications with its pilots, according to Flightglobal (http://www.flightglobal.com/articles/2011/08/15/360771/delta-begins-tablet-efb-test-eyes-communication-transformation.html).

Steve Dickson, Delta's senior vice president for flight operations, said that each iPad is loaded with "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. 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."

http://images.macrumors.com/article-new/2011/08/delta2.jpg


Delta's domestic fleet has been fitted with Gogo's in-flight Wi-Fi system, giving the pilots access to the Internet as needed, and Delta is studying options for international in-flight Wi-Fi. The carrier sees lots of potential for continuously connected pilots:
We are going to pursue real-time security advisories, reroute information and electronic auto sign-in when [pilots] are in range of the airport or a specific gate. A tablet device sets the foundation for a paperless cockpit of course with flight plan and charter packet uploads, theatre guides and trans-oceanic step by step information, simplified NOTAMs, e-Checklists, and instant reporting access just to name a few opportunities. Essentially, we have only begun to identify the limitless possibilities, and there is no question that we see this as a potential to change the way we do business both immediately and long-term.The airline plans to test 16 Motorola Xooms as well. Pilots are authorized to use the devices pre-flight and above 10,000 feet, the same restrictions that passengers have.

Other airlines have been experimenting (http://www.macrumors.com/2011/06/21/marine-corps-and-civilian-aircrews-replacing-maps-with-ipads/) with replacing bulky paper maps with iPads, but Delta believes using the iPad as a way to communicate with pilots in real time has great potential.

(Photo courtesy Flickr/Skinnylawyer (http://www.flickr.com/photos/skinnylawyer/5292439300/))

Article Link: Delta Testing iPads for Real-Time Communications With Pilots (http://www.macrumors.com/2011/08/16/delta-testing-ipads-for-real-time-communications-with-pilots/)



Richdmoore
Aug 16, 2011, 02:10 PM
As a corporate pilot, I think this will be really revolutionary for the Delta pilots. Hopefully it will filter down to the other segments of aviation in the next few years.

nutjob
Aug 16, 2011, 02:37 PM
Cue all the "ooh I don't know about this what if it fails/battery goes flat/crashes won't the plane fall out of the sky" comments.

Thanatoast
Aug 16, 2011, 02:44 PM
Cue all the "ooh I don't know about this what if it fails/battery goes flat/crashes won't the plane fall out of the sky" comments.

Well, since we're always being told the plane will fall out of the sky if we turn on our iPods from 1-10,000 feet, isn't that a valid concern? Which raises the question, what information system are the pilots going to use for those 10,000 feet when they're not allowed to check their manuals, flight plans, security alerts, etc?

nutjob
Aug 16, 2011, 02:52 PM
Well, since we're always being told the plane will fall out of the sky if we turn on our iPods from 1-10,000 feet, isn't that a valid concern? Which raises the question, what information system are the pilots going to use for those 10,000 feet when they're not allowed to check their manuals, flight plans, security alerts, etc?

It's over-precaution and the fear of 200 devices interfering, not one. Pilots are allowed to do anything they think is necessary, obviously.

Most of the important stuff is done while the plane is safely on the ground, most of the time flights are routine and they don't need to refer to much of anything. They'll have a backup and if push comes to shove they can just radio for help.

This is the reality of commercial flight these days, give or take a faulty pitot tube:

1. Get into the cockpit, configure your airplane and autopilot
2. Taxi and take off
3. Engage the autopilot
4. Have something to eat, chat up the stewardess if she's cute, sleep
5. When you get to the destination click the landing button on the autopilot
6. Once the plane lands itself, taxi to the gate, do it all again or go home

lilbitbrit
Aug 16, 2011, 02:59 PM
Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; U; CPU iPhone OS 4_3_3 like Mac OS X; en-us) AppleWebKit/533.17.9 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/5.0.2 Mobile/8J2 Safari/6533.18.5)

My dad is part of a group working on this project. I helped him him update/sync about 30 iPads.

hfletcher
Aug 16, 2011, 03:14 PM
We already use Jeppesen TC and it's SOOO much easier than monthly paper updates. It has to be the way forward...

DonnyP
Aug 16, 2011, 03:18 PM
Is the Delta Meteorology App a real iPad App or a link to a company website? Seems like the only one that is not a commercial app.

jzuena
Aug 16, 2011, 03:18 PM
As a corporate pilot, I think this will be really revolutionary for the Delta pilots. Hopefully it will filter down to the other segments of aviation in the next few years.

Most of it already has. The Jeppesen and GoodReader apps are on the app store, meteorology and NOTAMS can be done with DUATS (also on the app store) or with a browser to the AOPA website. All Delta is adding is a portal to their iCrew website and their own meteorology app. The big thing is that since a major airline has decided to go this route, smaller airlines may feel more comfortable following suit. Private pilots have had access to this for a while.

gri
Aug 16, 2011, 03:18 PM
It's over-precaution and the fear of 200 devices interfering, not one. Pilots are allowed to do anything they think is necessary, obviously.

Most of the important stuff is done while the plane is safely on the ground, most of the time flights are routine and they don't need to refer to much of anything. They'll have a backup and if push comes to shove they can just radio for help.

This is the reality of commercial flight these days, give or take a faulty pitot tube:

1. Get into the cockpit, configure your airplane and autopilot
2. Taxi and take off
3. Engage the autopilot
4. Have something to eat, chat up the stewardess if she's cute, sleep
5. When you get to the destination click the landing button on the autopilot
6. Once the plane lands itself, taxi to the gate, do it all again or go home

If pitot tube fails look at the GPS on the iPad and the altimeter app. If plane drops than put stick forward... Wake up Captain. Do not, repeat, do not pull back ...?:rolleyes:

757767
Aug 16, 2011, 03:21 PM
Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; U; CPU iPhone OS 4_3_3 like Mac OS X; en-us) AppleWebKit/533.17.9 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/5.0.2 Mobile/8J2 Safari/6533.18.5)

My dad is part of a group working on this project. I helped him him update/sync about 30 iPads. I've got pics if interested.

I am interested in seeing these pics.

DonnyP
Aug 16, 2011, 03:27 PM
Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; U; CPU iPhone OS 4_3_3 like Mac OS X; en-us) AppleWebKit/533.17.9 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/5.0.2 Mobile/8J2 Safari/6533.18.5)

My dad is part of a group working on this project. I helped him him update/sync about 30 iPads. I've got pics if interested.

lilbitbrit,
I would like to see pics too, can you contact me off line?
idcwdszo @ sharklasers (dot) com

David Webb
Aug 16, 2011, 03:32 PM
Most of the important stuff is done while the plane is safely on the ground, most of the time flights are routine and they don't need to refer to much of anything. They'll have a backup and if push comes to shove they can just radio for help.

This is the reality of commercial flight these days, give or take a faulty pitot tube:

1. Get into the cockpit, configure your airplane and autopilot
2. Taxi and take off
3. Engage the autopilot
4. Have something to eat, chat up the stewardess if she's cute, sleep
5. When you get to the destination click the landing button on the autopilot
6. Once the plane lands itself, taxi to the gate, do it all again or go home
nutjob is offline


That's the most inaccurate statement regarding commercial flying i have heard recently.

But. As a commercial airline pilot myself its interesting to see one the major airlines taking this up. I'm led to believe they have been fairly widely used recently in the biz jet and GA sector. The airline i work for is running a similar trial. Sadly not with the iPad though as its not CAA approved yet just FAA. Sure it wont take long for us to catch up though.

lilbitbrit i too would be interested in your pics!

shartypants
Aug 16, 2011, 03:35 PM
Just make sure they can't load Angry Birds on them. :)

gri
Aug 16, 2011, 03:41 PM
Just make sure they can't load Angry Birds on them. :)

or Xplane...

acslater017
Aug 16, 2011, 04:41 PM
I'm all for meteorological maps, security updates, etc. but it seems to me that pilots should not be reading their email mid-flight. I know that the auto-pilot takes care of a lot of the cruising, but I don't think pilots need any distractions.

nutjob
Aug 16, 2011, 04:43 PM
That's the most inaccurate statement regarding commercial flying i have heard recently.

But. As a commercial airline pilot myself its interesting to see one the major airlines taking this up. I'm led to believe they have been fairly widely used recently in the biz jet and GA sector. The airline i work for is running a similar trial. Sadly not with the iPad though as its not CAA approved yet just FAA. Sure it wont take long for us to catch up though.

lilbitbrit i too would be interested in your pics!

Well I'm not a pilot, so it's not deadly accurate, just a general idea. Did I get the flirting with the stewardess bit wrong? You have to admit that the actual flying is heavily automated. I'm sure that pilots take care of exceptional circumstances, weather, turbulence and required manual interventions, but where am I wrong?

PracticalMac
Aug 16, 2011, 05:16 PM
This is potentially the most important inroad Apples product has achieved.
FAA and especially insurance rules make it notoriously difficult to get something approved for use. Right now it is likely a low level certification, but it will pave the way for universal acceptance.

Apple should set up a task force with the airlines, AOPA, FAA, and US Military to better integrate the iPad to needs of air transportation.
Under that threat, I am sure companies like Honeywell, Garmin, and others would try and join in.


My dad is part of a group working on this project. I helped him him update/sync about 30 iPads.

Do tell more! :D

accessoriesguy
Aug 16, 2011, 05:34 PM
As a corporate pilot, I think this will be really revolutionary for the Delta pilots. Hopefully it will filter down to the other segments of aviation in the next few years.

i'm totally cool with pilots using this, just no texting k :p

iVoid
Aug 16, 2011, 05:44 PM
Texting while flying... :)

notabadname
Aug 16, 2011, 06:30 PM
Cue all the "ooh I don't know about this what if it fails/battery goes flat/crashes won't the plane fall out of the sky" comments.

Those that worry can take comfort in knowing that we'll be able to keep it charged using the cigarette lighter.

----------

I'm all for meteorological maps, security updates, etc. but it seems to me that pilots should not be reading their email mid-flight. I know that the auto-pilot takes care of a lot of the cruising, but I don't think pilots need any distractions.

Well, our company mail account is related to operational notices and bulletins, not chat with friends. But I am sure it will be properly restricted.

Detlev_73
Aug 16, 2011, 06:50 PM
How about internet on transatlantic flights? Lufthansa already has it? Where are you with this, Delta, KLM...? :confused:

bradl
Aug 16, 2011, 06:59 PM
As a corporate pilot, I think this will be really revolutionary for the Delta pilots. Hopefully it will filter down to the other segments of aviation in the next few years.

It already has. The pilots over at ASA have already replaced paper charts with iPads for EFBs. and as already mentioned, DLH and KLM have been doing this for a while. While it isn't DAL's fault, the FAA is being slow to adopt this. But if it works for a US domestic like ASA, and a legacy carrier, I'd expect this to work with all other US domestics that want to transition to it.

Expect AAL and SWA to be next, as they are throwing WiFi onto their fleet as well.

BL.

notabadname
Aug 16, 2011, 07:12 PM
How about internet on transatlantic flights? Lufthansa already has it? Where are you with this, Delta, KLM...? :confused:

This would take a dual installation of systems and antennas on the aircraft. The US, being so large geographically, is well suited to the cell system employed by Delta since a vast majority of our flying is over the US. European carriers, regularly have to cross international boarders even when staying within a geographic area smaller than the US, so the K band radio, satellite system they use makes sense and works over open ocean. However, it is more expensive to the passenger and they charge over $10 (US) per hour of service, where the system Delta uses, while tiered slightly based on flight duration is either $5, $10 or $13 (rounded up) for the entire flight, even if a 6 hour transcon flight. And you can get an unlimited plan for only $39 per month, equal to only 4 hours on a Lufthansa flight. The systems are expensive to install, and add drag (minor-but measurable) and weight to the aircraft by virtue of external antenna and hardware on board. I doubt the pay-off for installation and maintenance is there for inclusion of the second system for international-capable aircraft anytime soon.

supermag
Aug 16, 2011, 07:54 PM
I love my iPad, but come on. I don't understand why as soon as something has an “I" in the name, it becomes revolutionary. This type of technology should be built into the plane, and hard copy back-ups right in the cock pit. What happens when the internet goes down? What happens if the battery does not charge? Oh what happens if it freezes up yeah it’s happened. I can say I am not comfortable knowing that airliners are considering using the same tool I use to play Elmo and friends to my nephew. BTW This technology has been around for decades, but NOW it has a neat touch screen and it's really light, so let's use it in flight! c'mon let's get real.

marksman
Aug 16, 2011, 10:14 PM
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imagine how mad the pilots who get xooms are going to be.

Vizin
Aug 16, 2011, 10:51 PM
.

MattInOz
Aug 16, 2011, 11:29 PM
BTW This technology has been around for decades, but NOW it has a neat touch screen and it's really light, so let's use it in flight! c'mon let's get real.

So you don't want pilots using a light, intuitive and flexible device because it doesn't seem serious enough.

Seriously given the number of those "seconds to disaster" shows that the crash is the result of bad communication or in ability to get the information. Anything that improves that situation should have our full attention.

jayray
Aug 17, 2011, 01:08 AM
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This type of technology should be built into the plane, and hard copy back-ups right in the cock pit. What happens when the internet goes down? What happens if the battery does not charge? Oh what happens if it freezes up yeah it’s happened. I can say I am not comfortable knowing that airliners are considering using the same tool I use to play Elmo and friends to my nephew.

Two pilots, two iPads. If one goes bad you still have another. Just like if one engine dies you still have another one. The required information is in memory not coming from the internet.

David Webb
Aug 17, 2011, 03:06 AM
For those asking if this is/should be built in already i can tell you (although not in the aircraft i fly) that most airline manufacturers offer this as a built in option to their new aircraft. Do a search for a pic of any new 777 cockpit from Boeing or Airbus aircraft and on both sides of the flight deck you will see screens. Both of which will do similar things as to what Delta are trying to achieve.

The problem is when you have aircraft without it and you want to retro fit a system. This is how the iPad fits in. Also we are not talking about a system which is critical to flight. Charts, weather, company documentation currently takes up a lot of weight and space on a flight deck. Now with the iPad most of this information will be stored in memory so it would not be an issue if you suddenly lost a connection and with duplication a failure of some sort would be covered. It be extremely helpful for company paperwork. In my airline this is all done by hand in flight and at the end of the day all re-entered into the computer and filed. So to be able to do this in flight or on the ground and for it then to be sent to HQ automatically it would save time and money. When you have fleets of aircraft in the hundreds small savings adds up to millions of £ or $'s.

myjellyass
Aug 17, 2011, 04:26 AM
This type of technology should be built into the plane, and hard copy back-ups right in the cock pit. What happens when the internet goes down? What happens if the battery does not charge? Oh what happens if it freezes up yeah it’s happened.

Even if it is built into the dashboard, what makes that less likely to crash than an iPad? At least the iPad is made by one of the largest software companies in the world; I'd say it's less likely to cause problems than an independently commissioned one. And if you did commission one to be absolutely fail-proof it would likely be far too expensive to be commercially attractive.

The reason the iPad is considered so revolutionary in this respect is because it has so many uses, so yes you could manufacture hardware and software tailored to your specific needs but why bother when you can spend $500 on an iPad and only worry about the very top level of the software?

I also imagine they are attracted to the iPad because it isn't built into the plane. That way (and I'm hypothesising here), pilots would be able to use it to check their flight schedule, handle communication when they're off the plane and other management systems that pilots need when they're not on the plane. I think this could be what they mean when they say "Essentially, we have only begun to identify the limitless possibilities".

And no, it's not because it has an 'i' in front of it that it seems like such a good idea; if you read the article you'll realise they're also testing Motorola Xooms.

guzhogi
Aug 17, 2011, 07:31 AM
Even if it is built into the dashboard, what makes that less likely to crash than an iPad? At least the iPad is made by one of the largest software companies in the world; I'd say it's less likely to cause problems than an independently commissioned one. And if you did commission one to be absolutely fail-proof it would likely be far too expensive to be commercially attractive.

One argument I could think of is that the iPad was designed for consumers; if it crashes, no big deal. With airplane hardware & software, it's designed to have redundant systems should something fail. If it does fail, people could lose their lives. With the iPad, all you might lose are family pictures or whatever.

Something I wonder about is how much money would the airlines save by having iPads instead of the paper maps. And if it's any reasonable amount, will the airlines pass the savings on to the consumers or pocket it and get bigger profits? My bet's on the latter. But I have a feeling it won't necessarily save that much money but just make things maybe a little safer & easier for the pilots. Don't the paper maps weigh over 10 pounds or something? Plus having instant/near instant updated data while flying.

kdarling
Aug 17, 2011, 07:45 AM
As a corporate pilot, I think this will be really revolutionary for the Delta pilots. Hopefully it will filter down to the other segments of aviation in the next few years.

Corporate pilots have been using EFBs since the mid 1990s.

Going for my private, I was using an EFB tablet in 2001.

If you mean having mass-approved under $500 tablets, yes that would be nice, but not sure it can happen.

My dad is part of a group working on this project. I helped him him update/sync about 30 iPads.

Multiply that by a thousand, and you can see why it's not fun using a device that relies on a physical tether to an iTunes equipped host computer.

Hopefully that need is disappearing. (I have not kept up with all the iOS 5 and iCloud news. Feel free to update me.)

imagine how mad the pilots who get xooms are going to be.

Or they might really like the ability to have live widgets, along with the visual task switcher.

Gemütlichkeit
Aug 17, 2011, 08:12 AM
Knowing Delta they'll charge the pilots a fee to use them.

Luv2fly
Aug 17, 2011, 08:25 AM
Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; U; CPU iPhone OS 4_3_3 like Mac OS X; en-us) AppleWebKit/533.17.9 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/5.0.2 Mobile/8J2 Safari/6533.18.5)

My dad is part of a group working on this project. I helped him him update/sync about 30 iPads.

I am also interesed in the photos you mention.:apple:

Mr. Gates
Aug 17, 2011, 08:57 AM
Kaboom?

http://images.mirror.co.uk/upl/m4/jun2009/1/1/anna-vaulina-plane-crash-pic-collect-293443757.jpg

Pixellated
Aug 17, 2011, 11:07 AM
You need paper backups of the charts etc.. so it is not an issue if an iPad ran out of battery. Also, this is not entirely new - quite a few private pilots (me included) already use iPad, or even iPhone based EFBs.

PracticalMac
Aug 17, 2011, 03:42 PM
Kaboom?

Image (http://images.mirror.co.uk/upl/m4/jun2009/1/1/anna-vaulina-plane-crash-pic-collect-293443757.jpg)

Silly, and iPad is NOT Winblows, Mr. Gates!


BTW, about the accident (very real :eek::eek: ):
http://aviation-safety.net/wikibase/wiki.php?id=65426


Funny thing, the truck might have had saved the crew, softer then the rocks!

PracticalMac
Aug 17, 2011, 05:02 PM
I love my iPad, but come on. I don't understand why as soon as something has an “I" in the name, it becomes revolutionary. This type of technology should be built into the plane, and hard copy back-ups right in the cock pit. What happens when the internet goes down? What happens if the battery does not charge? Oh what happens if it freezes up yeah it’s happened. I can say I am not comfortable knowing that airliners are considering using the same tool I use to play Elmo and friends to my nephew. BTW This technology has been around for decades, but NOW it has a neat touch screen and it's really light, so let's use it in flight! c'mon let's get real.

Obviously you are not around airplanes.

Just my $0.02 to the rest:

1. It will be used as a supplement to existing devices, not a primary device, so safety will never be compromised.

2. Pilots already bring laptops on flights, so no practical difference in application, but easier to use iPad.

3. Off The Shelf technology is generaly cheaper and better then custom made hardware for a limited purpose.

4. Military (US, but UK in particular) have adopted iPad in its training and supposedly combat action.

Blakeco123
Aug 18, 2011, 03:35 PM
1. Get into the cockpit, configure your airplane and autopilot
2. Taxi and take off
3. Engage the autopilot
4. Have something to eat, chat up the stewardess if she's cute, sleep
5. When you get to the destination click the landing button on the autopilot
6. Once the plane lands itself, taxi to the gate, do it all again or go home

like others have said thats a very inaccurate and ignorant statement, pilots do actually pilot if they need to, its not all the auto pilot, and fyi Pilots only use auto land if they need to (AKA low visibility)

Edit: and im not sure you actually understand what autopilot is, it doesn't do anything more than keep the jet/plane at a predefined altitude, and keep it at a predefined speed. think cruz control for jets.

PracticalMac
Aug 20, 2011, 09:53 PM
like others have said thats a very inaccurate and ignorant statement, pilots do actually pilot if they need to, its not all the auto pilot, and fyi Pilots only use auto land if they need to (AKA low visibility)

Edit: and im not sure you actually understand what autopilot is, it doesn't do anything more than keep the jet/plane at a predefined altitude, and keep it at a predefined speed. think cruz control for jets.

Well, today it can do much more then that.
About 20 years ago an airplane was able to fly an entire route from take off to landing on autopilot, the entire way.

What AP cannot do is avoid other airplanes. The air traffic control system is so antiquated the ability to keep airplanes from getting too close automatically practically does not exist, and the next generation system is years late and being underfunded (their is a proximity alert system).

coopville
Aug 28, 2011, 07:08 PM
Alaska Airlines issued all 1500 pilots ipads beginning a few months ago. Pretty sweet!

http://www.usatoday.com/tech/news/2011-06-08-ipad-apple-manuals-airline_n.htm

Coop

dmccloud
Aug 28, 2011, 08:39 PM
This makes Delta the third major airline to do this. Alaska was first, then United started doing it last week. Since the FAA approved iPad use for charting, even below 10,000 feet, it's really becoming a no-brainer for the airlines. An added benefit is that if any changes are made, they can simply be download to the devices instead of having to order entirely new sets of paper charts. And since iOS 5 won't require physical connections in order to sync, that potential drawback will be removed as well.

But I think what's important here is that this wasn't Apple coming to the FAA and saying "we want airlines to be able to use these in flight." Rather, this was the airlines looking at the available technology, then coming up with a specific solution and presenting it to the airlines. In other words, this was a use that Apple had not envisioned when they first created the iPad. This is what good technology should do - provide a platform to create solutions to issues that even its creators never envisioned.