Wednesday, March 27, 2013

iPads soar to new heights with Massey pilots

Massey University flight instructor George Minors tests an iPad during a training flight with student McKenzie Lewis.

Massey University’s School of Aviation is trialling the use of iPads as an “electronic flight bag” on board its aircraft. The trial has consent from the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) and is the first of its kind to be undertaken by a flight-training center in New Zealand.

“In modern commercial aircraft the advanced technology cockpits are fitted with an electronic flight bag that provides easy access to the charts and manuals that pilots are required to carry on board,” says School of Aviation chief executive Ashok Poduval.

“In most aircraft, though, pilots have a carry-on flight bag that contains paper-based reference materials – manuals, booklets of technical information, maps and charts, etc. With this proof of concept trial we are trying to emulate the electronic flight bags of the commercial airlines, but in a practical and cost-effective way.”

The two-month trial has only just begun, but the flight instructors using the iPads are already discovering some key advantages.

“There’s some massive advantages to having all the paperwork in an electronic format,” says flight instructor and trial coordinator George Minors. “For example the AIP [Aeronautical Information Publication] is available as a free app for the iPad. When you download it, it streams from the website so it’s always the latest version and you can update it with the press of a button.

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