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:
We are going to pursue real-time security advisories, reroute information and electronic auto sign-in when [pilots] are in range of the airport or a specific gate. A tablet device sets the foundation for a paperless cockpit of course with flight plan and charter packet uploads, theatre guides and trans-oceanic step by step information, simplified NOTAMs, e-Checklists, and instant reporting access just to name a few opportunities. Essentially, we have only begun to identify the limitless possibilities, and there is no question that we see this as a potential to change the way we do business both immediately and long-term.
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)