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Delta Testing iPads for Real-Time Communications With Pilots

Discussion in 'iOS Blog Discussion' started by MacRumors, Aug 16, 2011.

  1. macrumors bot



    Delta Air Lines is testing 22 iPads as "EFBs" or electronic flight bags, in an effort to save weight and improve communications with its pilots, according to Flightglobal.

    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."


    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:
    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 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)

    Article Link: Delta Testing iPads for Real-Time Communications With Pilots
  2. macrumors 65816

    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.
  3. macrumors 6502a

    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.
  4. macrumors 6502a


    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?
  5. macrumors 6502a

    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
  6. macrumors newbie

    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.
  7. macrumors regular


    We already use Jeppesen TC and it's SOOO much easier than monthly paper updates. It has to be the way forward...
  8. macrumors newbie

    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.
  9. macrumors 6502a


    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.
  10. gri
    macrumors 6502a


    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:
  11. macrumors newbie

    I am interested in seeing these pics.
  12. macrumors newbie

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


    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!
  14. macrumors 6502a


    Just make sure they can't load Angry Birds on them. :)
  15. gri
    macrumors 6502a


    or Xplane...
  16. macrumors 6502a

    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.
  17. macrumors 6502a

    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?
  18. macrumors 68020

    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.

    Do tell more! :D
  19. macrumors 6502a

    i'm totally cool with pilots using this, just no texting k :p
  20. macrumors 65816

    Texting while flying... :)
  21. macrumors 65816


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


    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.
  22. macrumors 6502


    How about internet on transatlantic flights? Lufthansa already has it? Where are you with this, Delta, KLM...? :confused:
  23. macrumors 68030

    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.

  24. macrumors 65816


    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.
  25. macrumors newbie

    Pilots using the same tool as my nephew uses to watch elmo? Really?

    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.

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