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Delta Changing To Surface 2 For Pilots  
User currently offlineRedTailDTW From United States of America, joined Oct 2006, 753 posts, RR: 3
Posted (10 months 1 week 1 day 4 hours ago) and read 10197 times:

Looks like Delta has effectively ditched iPads in favor of using the upcoming Surface 2 tablet from Microsoft for their electronic manuals and pilot tools.

Makes sense as Delta just gave all of their Flight Attendants Lumia 820's. Microsoft must have really cut them a deal for Delta to just stop using a product like that.

More information will probably come from Delta at a later time...

Here is the link to the article:

Delta pilots swapping iPad for Surface 2 tablet


- Mason


Northwest Airlines. Now you're flying smart! (RIP 1926-2009)
27 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineblueflyer From United States of America, joined Jan 2006, 3942 posts, RR: 2
Reply 1, posted (10 months 1 week 1 day 4 hours ago) and read 10066 times:
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Quoting RedTailDTW (Thread starter):
Looks like Delta has effectively ditched iPads in favor of using the upcoming Surface 2 tablet

Delta didn't ditch the iPad! If Delta is ditching anyone, it is Nokia.

Delta is currently allowing pilots to bring their own iPads while it prepares to roll out its own corporate device. The plan was to use the yet-to-be-launched Nokia Sirius tablet, but since Microsoft bought Nokia's Mobile Phones division, neither Nokia nor Microsoft have been willing to confirm whether the Sirius will still see the light of day.

Switching from Nokia's Sirius to Microsoft's Surface 2 was probably the right move given the situation, and not that difficult as both tablets use the same operating system.

Pilots will be allowed to use their iPad until they're handed over a Surface 2.

[Edited 2013-09-27 11:28:10]


I've got $h*t to do
User currently offlineRedTailDTW From United States of America, joined Oct 2006, 753 posts, RR: 3
Reply 2, posted (10 months 1 week 1 day 4 hours ago) and read 9952 times:

Quoting blueflyer (Reply 1):
Delta is currently allowing pilots to bring their own iPads while it prepares to roll out its own corporate device.

Thanks for clarifying. I was getting ahead of myself. I read that just after I had posted.  

I thought it was more like the arrangement that carriers like AA and AS have for their pilots.


- Mason



Northwest Airlines. Now you're flying smart! (RIP 1926-2009)
User currently offlineDalmd88 From United States of America, joined Jul 2000, 2535 posts, RR: 14
Reply 3, posted (10 months 1 week 1 day 3 hours ago) and read 9707 times:

Still no word as which tablet will be used for Tech Ops. I guess they are testing a bunch right now.

User currently offlinecosyr From United States of America, joined Jul 2012, 378 posts, RR: 0
Reply 4, posted (10 months 1 week 7 hours ago) and read 6753 times:

This makes me wonder about the economics of pilots switching from paper to electronic manuals. I know most pilots must love it, as it reduces so much weight and space in their luggage, but from the airline's perspective this has got to get expensive. You could argue, that like most work computers, these tablets will be used far longer than their normal lifespan for consumers (My company just replaced our 10+ year old desktops 2 years ago, and the new computers were already outdated technology, we just got upgraded to Windows 7 from XP last month, but are still using IE7 or 8, whcih our own website doesn't work well on), but most consumers struggle to accept that they'll be stuck with the same cell phone for a two year contract.

Since most tablets are similar or identical technology to a blown up cell phone, 2 maybe 3 years is a realistic lifespan before it starts to slow, batteries start to wear out, and software is struggling to keep up, while updates have eaten most of the memory on the device. It they upgrade every two years for pilots, that could be $250 per year per pilot for something that used to be a few new pages of paper here and there. I think it must be a nice benefit that airlines still saw this as a good idea, unless it was safety driven (as in being sure that all pilot always have the latest version.)

As an aside, what have pilot's experiences been with battery life. If it's not something you use every day, it's often not a priority to charge every night, so do pilots have a way to charge then inflight? I can't tell you how many times my camera has died, because when I pull it out to use it, I realize I haven't charged it in weeks.


User currently offlineUA772IAD From Australia, joined Jul 2004, 1730 posts, RR: 3
Reply 5, posted (10 months 1 week 7 hours ago) and read 6266 times:

Quoting cosyr (Reply 4):
Since most tablets are similar or identical technology to a blown up cell phone, 2 maybe 3 years is a realistic lifespan before it starts to slow, batteries start to wear out, and software is struggling to keep up, while updates have eaten most of the memory on the device. It they upgrade every two years for pilots, that could be $250 per year per pilot for something that used to be a few new pages of paper here and there. I think it must be a nice benefit that airlines still saw this as a good idea, unless it was safety driven (as in being sure that all pilot always have the latest version.)

You have to consider the cost of printing... it isn't cheap. As charts go through monthly updates, flight crews are given more than just a "few pages" of new paper each month.

Quoting cosyr (Reply 4):
As an aside, what have pilot's experiences been with battery life. If it's not something you use every day, it's often not a priority to charge every night, so do pilots have a way to charge then inflight?

Not a pilot, but I would imagine the tablet would remain in the domicile between trips... this would allow for charging and any software/firmware updates to occur. It is company property, so there wouldn't be a "need" to take it home.


User currently offlinecmf From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 6, posted (10 months 1 week 6 hours ago) and read 5888 times:

Quoting cosyr (Reply 4):
This makes me wonder about the economics of pilots switching from paper to electronic manuals.

UA772IAD mentioned the printing cost. Then add distribution, time to update and cost of errors and it is clear why an electronic distribution to a large constantly moving group can easily be a money saved despite a few hundred dollar per device.


User currently offlineboeingrulz From United States of America, joined Sep 1999, 466 posts, RR: 1
Reply 7, posted (10 months 1 week 4 hours ago) and read 4535 times:
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The most important benefit of electronic documents is that they can be updated at any time, published to servers and pused to clients such as those running on tablet and hand-held devices. This happens without intervention from the client so it always have the latest documentation (if the system is running properly). When printed documents are out of date, each physical copy must be updated and out-of-date documentation tends to exist in use for a while.

User currently offlineHPRamper From United States of America, joined May 2005, 4037 posts, RR: 8
Reply 8, posted (10 months 1 week 3 hours ago) and read 4307 times:

Quoting RedTailDTW (Thread starter):
Makes sense as Delta just gave all of their Flight Attendants Lumia 820's. Microsoft must have really cut them a deal for Delta to just stop using a product like that.

I actually surprised airlines are even considering the iPad taking into account the price vs. the competition. As far as usage for the airlines goes, the iPad doesn't offer really anything the Surface doesn't, save the name.

Quoting cosyr (Reply 4):
(My company just replaced our 10+ year old desktops 2 years ago, and the new computers were already outdated technology, we just got upgraded to Windows 7 from XP last month, but are still using IE7 or 8, whcih our own website doesn't work well on),

That is confusing since anyone with update privileges can upgrade to IE10 in about five minutes or less. Sometimes depending on the setup you don't even need admin privileges.

Quoting UA772IAD (Reply 5):
You have to consider the cost of printing... it isn't cheap. As charts go through monthly updates, flight crews are given more than just a "few pages" of new paper each month.

Reams of paper are not cheap. One tablet will pay for itself in a matter of a couple weeks.


User currently offlineMountainFlyer From United States of America, joined Jul 2005, 474 posts, RR: 0
Reply 9, posted (10 months 1 week 2 hours ago) and read 4120 times:

Quoting HPRamper (Reply 8):
Reams of paper are not cheap. One tablet will pay for itself in a matter of a couple weeks.

So you're saying every aircraft pilot goes through hundreds of dollars in paper in a couple weeks? I highly doubt that. System wide, maybe so, but don't forget every cockpit will need at least two tablets.

Quoting HPRamper (Reply 8):
That is confusing since anyone with update privileges can upgrade to IE10 in about five minutes or less. Sometimes depending on the setup you don't even need admin privileges.

In the enterprise world, things are a lot different. The firm I first worked for (roughly 2,400 employees across four states) was just starting to test roll out Microsoft Office 2007 to it's employees when I was there in 2009. They were still using Office 2003 at that point.

In the enterprise world, especially in large business, it's not as simple as clicking "Update." Every piece of software has to be tested and checked to make sure it will work and play nice with all of the other critical software used. Even something as simple as updated to the newest version of Adobe Reader had to go through a process to be verified it would play nice with all of the other critical programs. This happens both because with 2,400 employees, IT would be much less efficient if they had 2,400 different setups they were dealing with as employees updated programs at will, and if there were software conflicts, what seems like minimal downtime on one machine can quickly add up to a lot of lost productivity across 2,400 machines.

[Edited 2013-09-28 13:43:48]


SA-227; B1900; Q200; Q400; CRJ-2,7,9; 717; 727-2; 737-3,4,5,7,8,9; 747-2; 757-2,3; 767-3,4; MD-90; A319, 320; DC-9; DC-1
User currently offlinecommavia From United States of America, joined Apr 2005, 11463 posts, RR: 61
Reply 10, posted (10 months 1 week 1 hour ago) and read 4081 times:

Quoting MountainFlyer (Reply 9):
So you're saying every aircraft pilot goes through hundreds of dollars in paper in a couple weeks? I highly doubt that. System wide, maybe so, but don't forget every cockpit will need at least two tablets.

I don't know the true payback period - and it's obviously slightly different for each airline based on a wide variety of factors ranging from its fleet to its fuel contracts to the deal it cuts with the tablet OEM.

Nonetheless, I think it's rather obvious that these things definitely do pay for themselves - and probably sooner rather than later. It's not just the paper that each pilot has to (frequently) go through, but also the costs in time, complexity and compliance associated with keeping every manual 100% current at all times for an FAA inspector that may pay an unannounced "visit."

And then, of course, there is the weight. The weight associated with carrying around all that paper burns fuel. As of June, AA estimated the switch to iPad EFBs would save over $1M annually. Just based on that alone, and doing very simple math (i.e., no account for cost of money or inflation) based on the retail price of an iPad, that savings would pay for 2,500 iPads. And of course, these airlines aren't paying retail for these things.

[Edited 2013-09-28 13:51:21]

User currently offlineAcey559 From United States of America, joined Jan 2007, 1524 posts, RR: 2
Reply 11, posted (10 months 1 week 1 hour ago) and read 4025 times:

Don't forget worker's comp claims. Our number one worker's comp incident for pilots at Eagle is people throwing their back out lifting kit bags into the cockpit. As for battery life and equipment wearing out, our ops specs say the device must be fully charged before showing up to work and a backup battery must be carried. Our iPads aren't company issued so most people take them home, but American issues them to the pilots so if they break, they turn it in and get a new one, from what I've been told.

User currently offlineMountainFlyer From United States of America, joined Jul 2005, 474 posts, RR: 0
Reply 12, posted (10 months 6 days 23 hours ago) and read 3758 times:

Quoting commavia (Reply 10):
Nonetheless, I think it's rather obvious that these things definitely do pay for themselves - and probably sooner rather than later. It's not just the paper that each pilot has to (frequently) go through, but also the costs in time, complexity and compliance associated with keeping every manual 100% current at all times for an FAA inspector that may pay an unannounced "visit."

And then, of course, there is the weight. The weight associated with carrying around all that paper burns fuel. As of June, AA estimated the switch to iPad EFBs would save over $1M annually. Just based on that alone, and doing very simple math (i.e., no account for cost of money or inflation) based on the retail price of an iPad, that savings would pay for 2,500 iPads. And of course, these airlines aren't paying retail for these things.

Oh, don't get me wrong. I have no doubts whatsoever that going paperless is the way to go if for no other reason than the mere simplicity of not having to carry and manually update paper charts, and the savings in any number of ways will no doubt make up for the purchase and eventual replacement cost. I was merely making comment that savings on paper costs alone won't likely make the difference.



SA-227; B1900; Q200; Q400; CRJ-2,7,9; 717; 727-2; 737-3,4,5,7,8,9; 747-2; 757-2,3; 767-3,4; MD-90; A319, 320; DC-9; DC-1
User currently offlineJoeCanuck From Canada, joined Dec 2005, 5410 posts, RR: 30
Reply 13, posted (10 months 6 days 22 hours ago) and read 3623 times:

Quoting MountainFlyer (Reply 12):

It's not just the cost of paper...it's all the costs associated with paper; printing, shipping and the waste from the outdated matetial.

As for the Surface v. ipad...going by my experience, just having usb ports is worth the price of admission...and for me, a tablet with a physical keyboard makes all the difference in the world.

Another advantage of tablets over paper is that, in a crunch, the tablet can be used for navigation and communication.



What the...?
User currently offlinemayor From United States of America, joined Mar 2008, 10351 posts, RR: 14
Reply 14, posted (10 months 6 days 17 hours ago) and read 3292 times:

Quoting MountainFlyer (Reply 9):
So you're saying every aircraft pilot goes through hundreds of dollars in paper in a couple weeks? I highly doubt that. System wide, maybe so, but don't forget every cockpit will need at least two tablets.

And, since there are two crewmembers in the cockpit, each one would have Jeppesen manuals, etc. to update if it was still paper. This way, neither the company or the pilot has to worry about getting those pesky updates done in time so that they are valid.


There is a problem that I've always wondered about, though.......suppose your computer system goes down, while in flight.......where are those Jeppesen manuals then? Makes me wonder if there shouldn't be a paper backup available. I can remember at air cargo, when the computer would go down, those of us that still knew how to read the tarriffs, could still do some of the work, by looking it up in the books, while those that never used those books or were trained that way, just sort of stood around.



"A committee is a group of the unprepared, appointed by the unwilling, to do the unnecessary"----Fred Allen
User currently offlineJoeCanuck From Canada, joined Dec 2005, 5410 posts, RR: 30
Reply 15, posted (10 months 6 days 14 hours ago) and read 3135 times:

Quoting mayor (Reply 14):

That's a good reason for each pilot to carry one. Odds are, both won't fail...and if loaded with the right software, they can even be used as flight instruments if the screens on the panel go dark.

For that matter, each plane could have one permanently plugged in which would recieve updates whenever it was in wifi range...or use an aircard.



What the...?
User currently offlineMd88Captain From United States of America, joined Nov 2001, 1330 posts, RR: 20
Reply 16, posted (10 months 6 days 10 hours ago) and read 2982 times:

This is a hands down brilliant move. It saves money (the fuel savings is huge). It save time. It save personnel (less or no jet librarians/which saves money). It enhances safety in many ways (including real time weather and turbulence depiction).

AND... there are additional features that are to be added in the future which will enhance scheduling. The ability to communicate and schedule through the Surface 2 will enhance IROP scheduling as well as routine reroutes. (With the GPS enabled the company always will know where you are (or where your Surface 2 is). During IROPs crews scheduling/reroute loses crews all the time. These devices should help with that.


User currently offlineDalmd88 From United States of America, joined Jul 2000, 2535 posts, RR: 14
Reply 17, posted (10 months 6 days 8 hours ago) and read 2871 times:

Quoting mayor (Reply 14):
There is a problem that I've always wondered about, though.......suppose your computer system goes down, while in flight.......where are those Jeppesen manuals then?

There are paper manuals stocked in every flight deck as back up. Those will most likely go to electronic sometime in the future.


User currently offlineAAR90 From United States of America, joined Jan 2000, 3466 posts, RR: 47
Reply 18, posted (10 months 6 days 6 hours ago) and read 2682 times:

Quoting JoeCanuck (Reply 13):
It's not just the cost of paper...it's all the costs associated with paper; printing, shipping and the waste from the outdated matetial.

Reportedly at AA, the "administrative costs" associated with the paper manuals was over 1/2 the total cost savings realized when going iPad/paperless.

Quoting JoeCanuck (Reply 13):
As for the Surface v. ipad...going by my experience, just having usb ports is worth the price of admission...and for me, a tablet with a physical keyboard makes all the difference in the world.

Perhaps, but there is no use for usb port nor typing... during flight. The FAA forbids such activity (at AA).

Quoting JoeCanuck (Reply 13):
Another advantage of tablets over paper is that, in a crunch, the tablet can be used for navigation and communication.

Not legally (any USA air carrier), but I understand the comment.

Quoting JoeCanuck (Reply 15):
For that matter, each plane could have one permanently plugged in which would recieve updates whenever it was in wifi range...or use an aircard.

Not legal (battery issues). FAA prohibits recharging of ANY electronic device in AA cockpits.

Quoting Md88Captain (Reply 16):
This is a hands down brilliant move. It saves money (the fuel savings is huge). It save time. It save personnel (less or no jet librarians/which saves money). It enhances safety in many ways (including real time weather and turbulence depiction).

Not legal to use ANY communication mode in any AA cockpit except when parked at gate.

Quoting Dalmd88 (Reply 17):
There are paper manuals stocked in every flight deck as back up. Those will most likely go to electronic sometime in the future.

No paper manuals in AA cockpits. Never has been as pilots have always carried everything. AA tried to keep MEL in cockpits... once. That lasted less than 6 months. Too expensive to keep current. Even the few "index" pages of the maintenance logbook have now gone digital. The admin cost savings alone being the driving force for that.



*NO CARRIER* -- A Naval Aviator's worst nightmare!
User currently offlineLAXintl From United States of America, joined May 2000, 24893 posts, RR: 46
Reply 19, posted (10 months 5 days 6 hours ago) and read 2213 times:

Good move going with a windows based platform.

I hope US carriers wake up from their iPad induced novelty stupor.

As many foreign airlines have found the cockpit can use something more than just a reader, but often needs calculation horse power.
For example many European airlines now have various performance related programs that crews can run such as recalculating cost index and navigation while enroute, to calculating runway performance parameters. Virtually all the software vendors are based on windows, and they either have no way to properly redesign the program to run on iOS or Apple's walled garden approach blocks the business case for such.

In addition airlines that utilize iOS are discovering they are having to develop more and more of their own custom apps adding to complexity and cost often at reduced capability versus having crews just being able utilize PC compatible programs out there.

While the iPad might be a great reader, iOS falls far short in the world of compatibility and actual horse power.



From the desert to the sea, to all of Southern California
User currently offlinetugger From United States of America, joined Apr 2006, 5433 posts, RR: 8
Reply 20, posted (10 months 5 days 6 hours ago) and read 2182 times:

Quoting AAR90 (Reply 18):
Not legally

My guess is that this will likely be changing in the near future. The current ongoing review of electronics is not only covering passenger use but all use.


It was asked in another briefly lived thread on this topic "Why the Microsoft tablets? Everyone else is using iPad and Android."

My answer was:
Why Airbus or Bombardier and not Boeing for aircraft? It comes down to just whatever is the best value and works the best for the airlines need. Quite frankly I am positive that the MS product will have the better enterprise support structure behind it. Not that the iPad isn't robust and an excellent product with great backend support as well. MS may have also provided more assistance from cost and backend support. Also quite honestly there is less stuff to "play" on it so it is more likely to be used for work only.

Tugg



I don’t know that I am unafraid to be myself, but it is hard to be somebody else. -W. Shatner
User currently offlineORDBOSEWR From United States of America, joined Jun 2011, 426 posts, RR: 0
Reply 21, posted (10 months 5 days 6 hours ago) and read 2115 times:

Quoting blueflyer (Reply 1):
If Delta is ditching anyone, it is Nokia.

Yeah, but Microsoft is buying that portion of Nokia (the handset/tablet business). So in effect Microsoft is poaching another Microsoft customer....


User currently offlinetugger From United States of America, joined Apr 2006, 5433 posts, RR: 8
Reply 22, posted (10 months 5 days 2 hours ago) and read 1918 times:

Quoting AAR90 (Reply 18):
Reportedly at AA, the "administrative costs" associated with the paper manuals was over 1/2 the total cost savings realized when going iPad/paperless.

And if what Delta is saying on fuel savings is true:

Quote:
This means crews will be able ditch the traditional 38-pound "flight bags," which contain this material in paper form and must be maintained onboard for each pilot. The weight reduction is expected to reduce fuel usage by an estimated 1.2 million gallons per year and cut the airline's paper usage by 7.5 million sheets annually.
http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2425028,00.asp

So with a cost of around $3/gal for Jet A, that's $3.6M in savings. Not bad.

Quoting AAR90 (Reply 18):

You point out that there are currently legal issues due to FAA rules/regulations. This applies to that and I assume means that this will address the issues you noted regarding the ability to use tablets in the cockpit (from the same article noted above):

Quote:
Delta expects to receive approval from the FAA to use the tablets during all phases of flight next year. That approval will follow an extensive testing period onboard the Boeing 757 and Boeing 767. Approvals for all fleet types are expected by the end of the year.

Also since Delta uses the Lumia 820 handset for its FA's so they already have MS backend support (also from the same article).

Quote:
The move towards a paperless cockpit comes after Delta over the summer embraced the Windows Phone-powered Nokia Lumia 820 . The airline deployed the handset to its 19,000 flight attendants, who use it to access customer and flight information.
http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2425028,00.asp

Tugg



I don’t know that I am unafraid to be myself, but it is hard to be somebody else. -W. Shatner
User currently offlineblueflyer From United States of America, joined Jan 2006, 3942 posts, RR: 2
Reply 23, posted (10 months 5 days 1 hour ago) and read 1870 times:
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Quoting tugger (Reply 20):
"Why the Microsoft tablets? Everyone else is using iPad and Android."

The other answer would be that Delta had already decided for a Windows environment, albeit using Nokia hardware, so switching to another Windows-powered device when the availability of Nokia's became in doubt was the fastest and cheapest choice by far.

Quoting ORDBOSEWR (Reply 21):
So in effect Microsoft is poaching another Microsoft customer....

At this point, neither Microsoft nor Nokia will confirm whether the Nokia Sirius will be launched next month as scheduled. Replacing a device with suddenly questionable availability by a device already available isn't poaching, it's good business decision.



I've got $h*t to do
User currently offlineDTW2HYD From United States of America, joined Jan 2013, 1766 posts, RR: 2
Reply 24, posted (10 months 5 days 1 hour ago) and read 1823 times:

Quoting LAXintl (Reply 19):

That was an excellent summary. With Lumia 820 for cabin crew, Surface 2 to flight crew and Windows Desktop/Laptop at back office Delta got it right. Uniform interface cuts learning curve, training time and cost.

If Surface 2 is not sufficient they can always upgrade Surface 2 Pro, which is as powerful and versatile as a laptop. In-house IT and software vendors will be able to port applications easily to Surface.

iPad lacks real multi-tasking capability, only one app in the foreground, a major headache in some cases. Good for games and watching movies though!


25 cjg225 : Thanks for this good summary of the business value of the move. That's actually useful information for people regardless of industry. I've been askin
26 cmf : In fairness to Apple they have tools to distribute IOS applications on internal devices. In fairness to Microsoft they make Apple look like amateurs
27 LAXintl : Also the world of Windows tablets is only getting going now. Besides new notebook Intel Haswell processors making into tablets like the Surface, there
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