The following is a guest post from Mike Wysocki, director, Delta Flight Operations Technical and Operational Support.
On Monday, Delta announced its partnership with Microsoft to equip each of our more than 11,000 pilots with Surface 2 electronic flight bag devices operating on Windows RT 8.1. The innovative handheld tablet puts in the hands of our talented group of aviators the right tools to do their job and do it well as they fly more than 160 million passengers safely every year.
Stored on the Surface 2 will be thousands of pages of easily accessible electronic documents, charts, navigational aids, checklists and other key reference materials previously kept in heavy flight bags. Once rolled out to the entire fleet, Delta will see an immediate fuel and cost savings as the cumbersome and heavy paper documents are removed from onboard our aircraft. In fact, the airline expects to eliminate the use of 7.5 million sheets of paper annually while reducing carbon emissions by 26 million pounds on 1.2 million fewer gallons of fuel.
While the environmental benefits of the Surface 2 tablet are remarkable, so too is the interface of this intuitive device. Our pilots will benefit from a tablet that puts at their fingertips key information about their flight right when they need it. Gone are the days of thumbing through charts and reference material in large binders; now, our cockpit crews can pull up navigation information almost immediately, and zoom in on and identify safe and comfortable routes of flight while working through necessary checklists. The Surface 2 effectively changes the paradigm in the cockpit by making processes more efficient and giving Delta’s pilots more time to fly the aircraft. The device’s unique suite of features including Live Tile software pushes and real-time updates to our pilots, giving them greater visibility into the airline’s operation.
The advantages of the Surface 2 tablet don’t end there. Delta has been an innovator in the technology sphere to give our customers tools to manage their travel while developing resources for our employees to better serve them. To that end, Delta spent years developing and planning the rollout of the Microsoft-supported electronic flight bag to ensure we provided our cockpit crews with a device that not only served their immediate needs but also allowed us to look for opportunities to expand its use in ways that other tablet devices can’t support.
The Windows RT 8.1 operating system has significant commonality with our existing software solutions, giving Delta ease and flexibility of implementation. Delta will continue to work with Microsoft to pursue technology and software innovations to integrate the Surface 2 to take full advantage of its capabilities in driving operational improvements, and ultimately a better experience for our customers.