ARINC upgrades pilot iPad app and connectivity

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ARINC Direct has announced it is adding more real-time functionality to its existing iPad "paperless cockpit" system aimed at business aircraft pilots.

ARINC claims the system is more flexible than when it launched its iPad app a year ago at the Las Vegas National Business Aircraft Association convention.

Through the company's work with Inmarsat as joint distributor of its SwiftBroadband (SBB) service, ARINC Direct director James Hardie says that SBB-enabled in-flight connectivity, combined with the functionality of its iPad app, can provide crews with "a completely dynamic aviation information platform that surpasses traditional means of obtaining flight data".

Hardie says the iPad app/SBB combination will soon enable pilots to flight plan within the system, to perform last-minute weight and balance calculations, and to get a real-time ground weather radar overlay for the route.

ARINC has also incorporated a system to enable pilots to report problems down the route so other crews who use the app can be warned - a kind of self-generated Notam (notices to airmen) system.

Hardie adds that the iPad continues to reduce the amount of paper information pilots need to lug around. "ARINC Direct has a number of customers working on getting approval to go paperless by virtue of using this app," he claims.

If ARINC also provides the operator's flight-management service, the app/SBB combination should provide services as diverse as on-screen GPS positioning and real-time hotel booking confirmation, says Hardie.

Meanwhile in the cabin, ARINC Direct says it can field a combination of SBB and its Cabin Hotspot service to provide total connectivity for passengers' electronic devices. Hardie says this is proving popular because the system allows direct credit-card billing for customers.