MEBAA Convention News

iPads Catch On In Business Aviation

 - December 12, 2012, 11:55 AM
Jeppesen’s Mobile FliteDeck app replaces 40 pounds of paper charts and helps users improve situational awareness while decreasing the workload in the cockpit.

In just two and a half years, Apple has sold more than 100 million iPad tablet computers. Airline and business jet pilots were early adopters of iPad technology, which offers powerful electronic flight bag (EFB) applications that help with preflight preparation, inflight navigation and display of charts and flight manuals. While airline passengers use iPads for pleasure and work, business jet travellers can take advantage of a variety of iPad apps tuned specifically for the airplanes they are flying.

In business aviation, clients are able to use their iPads to enhance their flying experience. Many manufacturers have developed apps that let passengers control window shades, climate, lights and other systems. Gulfstream has created an app called Cabin Control for its new jets and also offers the PlaneBook app for pilots. Some new iPad apps allow passengers to play iTunes content (movies, music, books, etc.) on monitors and speakers in the cabin. Other apps interact with 3D moving-map systems, such as Rockwell Collins’s Airshow system or Honeywell’s Ovation Select, so passengers can view mapping data on their iPads.

Jeppesen, a unit of Boeing, offers an EFB-type app called Mobile FliteDeck, which replaces the 40 pounds of paper charts that pilots typically must bring along. Studies undertaken by Jeppesen showed that iPad EFB users indicated improvements in situational awareness and that workload in the cockpit decreased.

“The iPad has been a game changer for EFBs in the business aviation market,” said Rick Ellerbrock, Jeppesen’s director for aviation strategy. “The vast majority of our corporate jet customers are either deployed already with mobile technology, in formal evaluation programs, or are seriously considering it for the future. A high percentage of EFB authorizations we have seen in the last two years have been on the iPad.” o

Recently, Airbus developed an iPad EFB solution for the Airbus Corporate Jet. Data from the Airbus Flight Smart System can be integrated into the EFB, using real-time parameters, and even providing load and trim sheet calculations. Flight manuals can also be added into the iPad EFB as well as detailed aircraft systems diagrams.

Embraer offers the eTechPubs iPad application for the Phenoms and Legacy jets. “With this new app, Phenom and Legacy operators will have all the information they need readily available to operate and service aircraft in the palm of their hand,” said Edson Carlos Mallaco, vice president, customer support and services, Embraer Executive Jets. “This, and other Apps we are developing, are part of our strategy to support a paperless cockpit by putting support solutions on tablets and other mobile devices.” Operators with a valid technical manual revision service can use the eTechPubs app to download all technical manuals to a single iPad as part of their subscription. Additional features include links for easy communication of comments to Embraer.

Cessna’s CPCalc is an excellent example of the iPad’s capability for calculating takeoff and landing performance for Citation jets. CLCalc is used for weight-and-balance calculations, and both apps make preflight planning far simpler and subject to far less error.

Satcom Direct (Stand 140), a satellite communications service provider, recently launched the FlightDeck 360 iPad app, which provides pilots access to airborne datalink communications and real-time flight data. A key benefit of FlightDeck 360 is that operators can use their satcom Internet connection to gain datalink functionality, without needing or having to install a flight management system. According to Satcom direct, FlightDeck 360 users can “access messages in flight, pre-departure clearances, oceanic clearance, flight plans and support documents before powering up the aircraft.” While in flight, the app integrates with other apps, such as ForeFlight Mobile, so pilots can view weather information. The app is free for Satcom Direct FlightDeck Freedom customers, or it can be purchased for operators who don’t subscribe to FlightDeck Freedom.

Saudia Private Aviation (Chalet A10) has released its own Inflight Entertainment System (IFE) app for the iPad. This demonstrates the flexibility of the Apple mobile device environment, making it relatively easy for companies to customize apps to suit their clients. The Saudia Private Aviation app not only provides information about the company and its fleet, but also useful features for passengers. These include the Holy Quran, traveling dua, passenger safety cards for the Falcon 7X and Hawker 400XP, a choice of daily newspapers, video and audio entertainment, games, distance calculator, flight requests and client feedback. The app can be used in Arabic and English.

The Arinc Direct (Stand 387) iPad flight-planning app is also aimed at eliminating cockpit paperwork. The app provides full access to Arinc’s flight- and trip-planning services, including the ability to recalculate a flight plan, view weather information, access runway analysis calculations, view airport diagrams, procedures, and en route and approach charts and overlay weather charts and flight plans onto en route charts.

Handling service provider Colt International offers access to its services via an iPad app. Demonstrations of the Colt app are available at the company’s MEBA stand (111). Universal Weather and Aviation (Stand 380) provides access to all of its services via mobile apps that work with a variety of smartphones and tablets. Fuel distributor Avfuel has long had an iPad app (FBO Locator) with information on all of its participating fuel dealers. For viewing airport, handling service and FBO information at global airports, Penton Media (Stand 606) offers the Ac-U-Kwik Worldwide app (for $39.95).

For all the latest news, of course, download the AINonline iPhone app, which includes the latest MEBA Show news, exhibitor directory, schedule and maps. o


Bombardier Flight Deck app for iPad is used to distribute all BA TechPubs flight manuals to Bombardier owners.

Also Aviation Docs from OBDS is used in Business Aviation fleets around the world on paperless flight decks.