Nearly one year ago, Delta Air Lines announced plans to equip pilots with Microsoft Surface tablets to serve as Electronic Flight Bags (EFB), replacing heavy paper-based flight kits containing navigational charts and aircraft reference materials. Since that time, incorporation of tablet devices as EFBs has accelerated within the aviation industry largely due to portability and cost saving benefits. As adoption grows, we have been hard at work to bring together a device, partner accessories and app that could advance this kind of solution for commercial airlines, by creating a connected EFB – allowing pilots to receive real-time information while in-flight. There is great interest from commercial airlines in this kind of connected EFB solution.
Surface Pro 3 achieves device qualification for FAA and EASA authorization
Today, we’re announcing that Surface Pro 3 has qualified for authorization for use as an EFB during all phases of flight, as defined by both the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA). Through this assessment process, Surface Pro 3 completed rigorous environmental and situational tests, satisfying a lengthy and important part of the FAA authorization process. Now, when airlines look to select the feature-rich Surface Pro 3 for their EFB initiatives, deployment timelines will be significantly decreased, and the device itself may be used to its full computing potential, versus serving just as a simple document reader.
At only 1.76lbs, Surface Pro 3 can distill a full electronic flight bag into a portable, powerful device.
Aside from Surface Pro 3’s high performance, sleek design and ability to serve both as a laptop and a tablet, we’ve been working to provide the airline industry with added capability to complete the connected EFB scenario.
navAero to build EFB mount, enabling Surface Pro 3 to connect directly to commercial airliner power & data systems
We are also announcing today that navAero is now part of the Designed for Surface (DFS) accessory partner program and will build a mount that enables Surface Pro 3 to connect to onboard power and data systems in the cockpit. Not just a paper replacement device, this new solution lets airlines enable a true connected cockpit experience and so much more. These mounts leverage the same single connection found on the Surface Pro 3 Docking Station – allowing Surface Pro 3 to plug directly into the plane’s electronics through a unique interface to provide simultaneous power, data and display connectivity through one simple connection. For pilots, this means added benefits such as automatic updates to navigational and operational content and access to critical real-time information like weather, wind and turbulence data. Pilots can also easily remove their Surface Pro 3 from the mount and use them as their laptop replacement outside the cockpit.
The navAero EFB mount plugs Surface Pro 3 directly into a commercial airliner’s power and data systems through one secure connection point
navAero is focused on developing EFB hardware technology solutions for business and commercial aviation customers. With navAero as a Designed for Surface partner, we can quickly help commercial airline customers integrate the best mounting system for their Surface Pro 3 EFB across virtually any type of commercial aircraft and ensure a smoother transition to connected EFB solutions.
Jeppesen FliteDeck Pro Available For Windows 8.1 and Surface Pro 3
Jeppesen’s industry-leading FliteDeck Pro application is available for Windows 8.1, helping to further complete the EFB solution on Surface Pro 3. The app allows pilots to view their digital charts side-by-side with other data such as gate information or real-time weather directly via Surface. This solution distributes encrypted operational data and documents efficiently, ensuring timely and accurate delivery of navigational and operational information to pilots and other users. Jeppesen’s FliteDeck Pro 8.0 running on Surface Pro 3’s large 12” screen is well tailored for life in the cockpit. Touch-screen capability, real-time charting data from Jeppesen, and multiple-application split screen are just a few of the great features that pilots and flight crews can access to increase their job effectiveness.
With qualification for FAA/EASA authorization and navAero and Jeppesen partnerships, we’re excited about the possibilities for our airline customers to implement Surface Pro 3 as a leading solution for EFBs.
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Senior Director – Microsoft Surface