As electronics in the flight deck of any airline are becoming more and more useful, pilots are starting to use technology and tablets as well. On Monday, Microsoft was officially given FAA approval for pilots to use Surface 2 tablets in the cockpit, which should make pilots happy.
The FAA approval gives pilots the ability to use Surface 2 tablets in the cockpit, and gives them a way to carry documents, images, and access real-time weather conditions with a simple tablet. The move should be a huge boom to the pilot industry as well as sales for Microsoft.
Why Would Pilots Use Surface?
The idea of a pilot using a tablet in the cockpit might sound odd to some, but pilots are using tablets more and more in the cockpit. The Surface 2 with its built in storage, document viewing capabilities, and natural desktop feel should give pilots more than just an iPad to use while flying.
A pilot for instance could use the Surface 2 to pull up flight maps stored as PDF files, pull up real-time weather maps using the in-flight Wi-Fi, access airline documents on the place and other FAA needed docs, and other items with the tablet. With the Class 1 or 2 EFB license given to the Surface 2, it means pilots can use the Surface 2 anywhere on the plane.
Flight Software Already Built For Windows
The Windows ecosystem already runs FliteDeckPro for Windows 8.1, and is used onboard many aircrafts already, in forms of laptop usage. The ability to now use this on a tablet, makes it much more mobile, and will lighten up the tons of paperwork and folders that pilots have traditionally had to carry around from flight to flight.
This ruling will also allow Microsoft to form agreements to sell the Surface 2 to airlines and pilots in mass numbers. They could sell them in bulk to an airline and specially outfit them for their usage with Windows 8.1 and FliteDeck Pro if needed. Either way, this is a win-win for Microsoft, and a huge boom for pilots everywhere.
I like the Surface 2 and can see its usage with pilots. It’s a very mobile device and can store all their docs with ease.