Delta Air Lines Rolling Out Surface 2 (RT) to 11,000 PilotsSeptember 30, 2013 No Comments
Microsoft today announced that Delta Air Lines is in the process of rolling out 11,000 Surface 2 tablets running Windows RT 8.1 to its pilots. The program is to replace the traditional paper document flight bags the pilots use now to tablets.
Today, we shared that Delta Air Lines is deploying 11,000 Surface 2 tablets running Windows RT 8.1 to its pilots in their transition to electronic flight bags. Delta is rolling out these new tablets to replace the traditional paper document flight bags you’ve probably seen pilots lug around in large briefcases, which weigh on average, a surprising 38 pounds each.
Delta’s new electronic flight bags will run Jeppesen’s FliteDeck Pro app built for Windows 8.1, providing pilots with seamless and instant access to real-time information and resources including flight charts and navigation tools. Delta plans to have all cockpits paperless by the end of 2014, which is forecast to reduce fuel and associated costs by $13 million per year, reduce carbon emissions by 26 million pounds and save the equivalent of more than 900 trees each year.
Windows RT 8.1 advances the vision we started with Windows RT, introducing new manageability, mobility, security, user experience and networking capabilities combined with an instant-on experience on devices that are thin, lightweight, and deliver amazing battery life.
- Enhanced manageability: Open and expanded Mobile Device Management (MDM) support is now built into the operating system (leveraged by Windows Intune as well as third-party MDM tools). Responding to customer feedback, Windows 8.1 Enterprise and Windows RT 8.1 also support a new policy setting called Start Screen Control that allows IT to control the layout of the Start Screen on company-issued devices and prevent users from customizing the layout if needed. This is especially useful for shared computers, multi-purpose kiosks running multiple apps, and other fixed-use scenarios.
- App platform enhancements: Added support for specialized USB peripherals used in many point-of-sale, data collection, and other specialized line-of-business scenarios. This can be combined with a new featured called Assigned Access, which allows IT to enable a device to run a single app and block access to other system files and apps.
- Better connectivity: Corporate network connection is easier than ever with built-in VPN clients for F5, Juniper, Check Point, and Dell SonicWall infrastructures.
- New security capabilities: A new Workplace Join feature helps ensure that only trusted Windows RT 8.1 devices access a secured enterprise environment. Another new feature, Remote Business Data Removal, allows IT to remove company data if a device is lost or stolen while leaving personal data intact.
- Data access: New offline access enables full use with SkyDrive while disconnected from the internet, and the new Windows Server 2012 R2 Work Folders feature that enables synchronization of a user-specific folder on the server to the Windows RT 8.1 device.
- Improved email: Windows RT 8.1 comes with Outlook 2013 RT, which gives customers the great Outlook experience they know and love on a Windows 8.1 RT device.
- More apps and features: Windows RT 8.1 includes Internet Explorer 11, our most enhanced web browser that supports the latest web standards and is perfect for touch. And Skype comes included in Windows RT 8.1 and provides voice and video calling, as well as instant messaging capabilities.
Delta to equip 11,000 pilots with Microsoft Surface 2 electronic flight bags
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 while saving the airline $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 Capt. Steve Dickson, Delta’s senior vice president – Flight Operations. “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.”
Electronic flight bag to support real-time access to resources
Delta’s electronic flight bag will leverage Jeppesen’s industry-leading FliteDeck Pro application built specifically for the Windows 8.1 platform. 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.”
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. The Surface tablets fully integrate handheld technology in the flight deck, streamlining organization of necessary materials and ensuring continuity of information accessed by pilots while giving them the latest tools to drive operational and cost improvements. The reduction of paper in the cockpit also reduces clutter and allows pilots to spend more time focusing on flying the aircraft as they will benefit from an intuitive user interface with functions to find key information faster without having to hunt for appropriate manuals in flight bags or page through paper documents.
“The integration of the electronic flight bag is part of Delta’s broader move to upgrade flight deck equipment, deploy technology enhancements and take advantage of airspace modernization efforts,” said Dickson. “With these improvements, we’re able to reduce the airline’s environmental impact while providing a great deal of flexibility to continue to add mobile technology solutions into our flying operations.”
Maximizing efficiencies for environmental benefit
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.
In the coming years, Delta plans to expand the functionality of the EFB equipment and increase the efficiency of the operation by providing pilots with electronic dispatch and flight release information, access to real-time weather forecasts, up-to-the-minute operational information and dynamic communication with aircraft technicians on the ground.
“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 at Microsoft Corp. “This announcement demonstrates Delta’s absolute commitment to bringing the best in technology innovation onto their flight operations. 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. We look forward to seeing how Delta amazes us with its Surface tablets.”
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. Delta flight attendants began using the Nokia Lumia 820 in August and are able to access customer and flight information while using Dynamics for Retail technology for easy onboard customer purchases.
You can read more about it here