Delta to equip 11,000 pilots with Microsoft Surface 2 tablet

Delta Airlines is equipping its 11,000 pilots with electronic flight bags using Microsoft Surface 2 tablet.

Device rollout to pilots flying Boeing 757 and Boeing 767 fleets will start later this year and all Delta cockpits are projected to be paperless by the end of 2014.

The Surface 2 will run on the Windows RT 8.1 platform and provide flight crews real-time access to essential tools and the most up-to-date flight-related resources including key charts, reference documents and checklists. The Surface 2 tablet will help the airlines save $13 million per year in fuel and associated costs.

“Delta’s electronic flight bag running on Surface 2 continues the technological strides Delta has been making to give our crews the best tools to keep them flying safely and efficiently,” said Captain Steve Dickson, senior vice president – Flight Operations, Delta.

“This intuitive device puts key information at their fingertips right when they need it. By eliminating paper, we’ll reduce clutter and minimize time spent looking for flight information allowing our pilots the opportunity for greater situational awareness in the air and on the ground,” aded Dickson.

The interactive software gives flight crews quicker and more efficient access to key, real-time information and resources such as dynamic charts and navigation utilities which help them better manage the safe operation of their aircraft.

“Delivering digital flight information through FliteDeck Pro on the Surface tablet platform will increase situational awareness and improve operational efficiency for Air Lines,” said Tim Huegel, director, Jeppesen Aviation Portfolio Management.

“This EFB integration program highlights a successful collaboration between , Microsoft and Jeppesen and we congratulate on the digital transformation of their flight deck operations,” added Huegel.

With the Windows RT 8.1 operating system, pilots will be able to open two applications side-by-side, offering, for example, the opportunity to assess weather information alongside proposed flight paths. The Live Tile user interface in Windows 8.1 can feed up-to-the-minute information to crew members while the true high-resolution 1080p touchscreen display of the Surface 2 adds detail to maps and other resources.

Delta expects to receive approval from the FAA to use the tablets during all phases of flight next year, a process that follows an extensive period of testing on board Boeing 757 and Boeing 767 aircraft. Approvals for all fleet types are expected by the end of the year.

Rolling out the Surface 2 tablets across the entire fleet and eliminating paper in the cockpit means the carrier will remove traditional 38-pound pilot flight bags maintained on board aircraft for each pilot. That critical weight reduction is expected to reduce fuel usage by an estimated 1.2 million gallons per year which translates to a 26 million pound reduction in carbon emissions — the equivalent of taking more than 2,500 passenger cars off the road.

Additionally, the tablet will cut the airline’s paper usage by 7.5 million sheets annually and save an estimated 900 trees each year.

“We set out to make Surface the most productive tablet, so we couldn’t be more excited to help Delta pilots be more productive and help the environment,” said Brian Hall, surface general manager, Microsoft.

“The full HD Surface screen and 10-hour battery life will be perfect for flights where Delta pilots will get seamless real-time data and visualization in a variety of lighting conditions. And then they can be productive off the plane with Microsoft Office and our click-in keyboard.” added Hall.

The move to a paperless cockpit follows Delta’s industry-leading launch of handheld devices for its 19,000 flight attendants, which run on Windows Phone-based software.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: