Soon the days of pilots fiddling with navigation charts and paperwork on-board will be over, at least on Delta. The airline announced today that 11,000 of its pilots will receive Microsoft Surface 2 tablets to use in flight. The move will also allow pilots to check real-time weather information.
According to an official press release, the effort to go paperless will take effect for pilots flying Boeing 757 and 767 aircrafts later this year, while the rest of the airline's cockpits are expected to stave off their reliance on paper by the end of 2014. The switch is also projected to save Delta $13 million per year in costs associated with fuel and other expenditures. American underwent a similar change to cut down on costs by giving its pilots Apple iPads.
"The Surface tablets fully integrate handheld technology in the flight deck, streamlining organization of necessary materials and ensuring continuity of information accessed by pilots while giving them the latest tools to drive operational and cost improvements," reads the release.
The move follows up Delta's effort to streamline the boarding process by equipping 19,000 flight attendants with handheld devices that also run on a Microsoft platform.
But what about the rest of us who want to use our tablets and such in-flight? Good news on that front, as a Federal Aviation Administration panel made recommendations that would expand the use of personal electronics in the air. Cell phone calls would still be prohibited, but the panel concluded that using electronic devices to read, play games, and listen to music are ok under 10,000 feet, as well as that web browsing and text messages would be permissible only when the plane's Wi-Fi network is on.