Microsoft's Surface Pro 3 tablet has now been approved by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) for use as a pilot's Electronic Flight Bag, which means it will replace the old fashioned bulky paper flight manuals.
The older Surface 2 tablet is already being used by Delta Airlines pilots for their EFB but today's announcement on the Surface Pro 3 also comes with news that pilots will also be able to use the tablet with some special software and accessories. One of them is a special mount developed by navAero that the Surface Pro 3 can sit in while in the cockpit of a plane. Microsoft says:
"These mounts leverage the same single connection found on the Surface Pro 3 Docking Station – allowing Surface Pro 3 to plug directly into the plane's electronics through a unique interface to provide simultaneous power, data and display connectivity through one simple connection. For pilots, this means added benefits such as automatic updates to navigational and operational content and access to critical real-time information like weather, wind and turbulence data. Pilots can also easily remove their Surface Pro 3 from the mount and use them as their laptop replacement outside the cockpit."
In addition, the FliteDeck Pro app for Windows 8.1, developed by Jeppesen, lets pilots use Snap mode on the Surface Pro 3 to view flight charts next to other information like weather conditions and more. Do you think it's a good idea for tablets to replace flight manuals on airplanes?