Arinc Direct is stepping up the development of its iPad flight-planning application in support of business aircraft operators eager to eliminate paper in the cockpit. One recent enhancement that has eased approval for the app as an alternative to more costly electronic flight bags has been allowing synchronization of data between two or more iPads in the cockpit using a Bluetooth connection. Coming soon is a feature that will allow pilots to rework flight plans in the cockpit on their iPads, for instance by making last-minute changes to weight-and-balance calculations.
“Operators are having to be trailblazers in terms of showing [to aviation authorities] that flight planning can be done without paper,” explained James Hardie, director of Arinc Direct, the data communications group’s business aviation division. “Generally speaking, the regulations are not written specifically to deny certain solutions, so it’s really a case of being able to demonstrate an acceptable means of compliance [with flight-planning requirements].”
The original Arinc Direct app included features such as weather briefing. It has since been enhanced with safety management support using FlightRisk.com’s risk assessment tool. This collects Notams and allows pilots to submit their own risk assessment reports and to anonymously share safety feedback about specific takeoffs and approaches anonymously with other flight crew.
Hardie said that Arinc focused on developing the app for the iPad because the product still accounts for almost three quarters of all tablet devices sold and is especially popular among pilots. He added that the stability of the iPad platform and its operating system made it a viable hardware choice. Some 2,500 business aircraft worldwide now use Arinc Direct, which is expected to roll out more new features for the app at the end of this month.