Microsoft has revealed today that the Surface 2 tablet has earned Federal Aviation Administration authorization for all phases of flight. This makes the timeline for deployment significantly less when airlines decide to deploy Microsoft's Windows RT-based tablet.
"Today, we’re happy to share that Surface 2 tablets have achieved Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) authorization for Class 1 or 2 EFB needs for all phases of flight. Through this authorization process, we’ve completed rigorous environmental and situational testing of the Surface 2 tablet, streamlining the approval process when airline operators want to use Surface 2 tablets as a Class 1 EFB during flight operations," Microsoft stated in an official blog post today.
With this authorization, the Surface 2 can be used as more than just a document reader. In fact, the Surface 2 tablet can be used as a fully equipped PC. "While airlines are still obligated to define their specific use requirements with the FAA and request specific device approval, our completion of these tests for Surface 2 satisfies a lengthy and important part of that authorization process," Microsoft explains.
Delta Air Lines recently deployed Microsoft's Surface 2 tablet, having over 11,000 pilots go paperless. In fact, by switching over to the Surface 2, Delta has been projected to reduce the airline's paper usage by 7.5 million sheets annually and save an estimated 900 trees each year. With this FAA authorization, we can expect to see more airliners picking up the Surface tablet for use in-flight.
Jeppesen has also unveiled today that FlightDeck Pro app for Windows 8.1 is now available, allowing pilots to see charts side-by-side with weather or gate information using Snap mode. "FliteDeck Pro app, a complete electronic flight bag solution designed specifically for the Windows platform. FliteDeck Pro gives airlines a data-driven, interactive navigation solution ready for commercial use. The solution also provides access to Jeppesen’s global library of terminal charts, change notices and text, as well as data distribution and deployment support," Microsoft explained.
Microsoft also revealed today that RAM Mounts for the Surface will become available to airliners, allowing them to quickly adopt the Surface tablet and place them in cockpits.
"With RAM Mounts as a Surface partner, and thanks to their innovative modular mount design, we can quickly help commercial airline customers include the best mounting system for their Surface 2 EFB across virtually any type of commercial aircraft and ensure a smoother transition from traditional, paper-based flight bags," Microsoft explained.