Pilots flying Delta Airlines planes will be given Microsoft Surface 2 tablets in a bid to make cockpits paperless.
The company confirmed the roll-out today, which will see 11,000 of its pilots using the devices for accessing real-time information, including routes, checklists and weather reports.
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The tablets will come with the FliteDeck Pro application and, with the multi-tasking capabilities of the Windows 8.1 operating system, will enable pilots to run simultaneous applications, getting more information in much quicker.
It will also cut the need for hefty flight bags carrying all this information, which weigh in at 38 pounds and are mandatory on all flights. Removing the weight is expected to reduce fuel requirements by 1.2 million gallons annually across the fleet of Boeing 757 and 767 aircraft.
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“This intuitive device puts key information at their fingertips right when they need it,” said Captain Steve Dickson, senior vice president of flight operations at Delta.
“By eliminating paper, we’ll reduce clutter and minimise time spent looking for flight information allowing our pilots the opportunity for greater situational awareness in the air and on the ground.”
A total of 7.5 million sheets are expected to be saved each year – the equivalent of 900 trees – and Delta plans on being totally paperless by 2014.
“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 modernisation efforts,” added 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.”
The announcement comes a month after Delta confirmed it was deploying 19,000 Nokia Lumia 820 smartphones – which run the mobile version of Microsoft’s Windows 8.1 OS – for its cabin crew, enabling new, easy to use payment systems for travellers.