For decades, airline pilots could be recognized by the well-worn leather flight bags they carried, which were filled with paper charts, printed maps and thick manuals.
This image is becoming a thing of the past, thanks to the efforts of Airbus and others in creating the “electronic flight bag” – in which laptops, handheld electronic devices and other systems are replacing the bulky, heavy piece of luggage that has been part of a pilot’s personal inventory throughout the modern aviation era.
At the Farnborough Airshow today, an important new step in the move to increasingly paperless cockpits was announced with the unveiling of Apple iPad-based applications as part of the “FlySmart with Airbus” electronic flight bag portfolio from the App Store.
Airbus’ newest innovation will allow pilots to enter crucial flight information – such as an aircraft’s weight, the outside temperature and engine thrust for takeoff – into an iPad to obtain optimal performance data. With the app, pilots can input and receive valuable data using a hand-held device that is increasingly familiar to many as a consumer electronics product.
“This brings the information to a system that many pilots already have at home,” said Fernando Alonso, head of Airbus’ Flight and Integration Test Centre.
The company expects the electronic tablet application – which was developed for Airbus in approximately eight months -- to become a popular download for some 100,000 pilots worldwide who fly the more than 7,000 Airbus aircraft currently in operation.