Boeing's Jeppesen unit this summer will roll out the Jeppesen Mobile FliteDeck, an iPad application with en route moving map functionality that will further assist operators in implementing a truly paperless environment in the cockpit.
Last summer, during the EAA AirVenture show in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, Jeppesen introduced its Mobile TC terminal chart application, which turns the iPad into a Class 1 EFB, enabling pilots to search and view terminal charts. Executive Jet Management is now using the solution as the sole reference for electronic charts - including during taxi, takeoff and landing - on several aircraft types in its fleet. Many other operators are following suit.
Around the time of this year's AirVenture show, the company plans to launch the Jeppesen Mobile FliteDeck, "which will include all the terminal charts, embedded document browsing and also an en route moving map", revealed Jeppesen chief strategist, aviation Rick Ellerbrock.
"We're really excited about the en route moving map because it will be the first of its kind in the world generated on a database in real time. And it will be the first data-driven product that is truly a paper elimination candidate. It will have all the content that is currently on paper and every map feature is completely searchable for access to its attributes or to immediately centre the map feature in the current view."
Jeppesen is working with a large number of airlines around the world on iPad-as-EFB implementation projects. "Over a hundred airlines have expressed strong interest," said Ellerbrock, noting that there are four models that Jeppesen has seen emerge.
The first model entails what Alaska Air Lines is doing in its first phase - providing the iPad to pilots as a productivity tool, which augments what they already have on board. The productivity tool cannot be used under 10,000ft so it must be stowed for take-off and landing.
The second model is using the iPad as a back-up or companion to existing EFB solutions. These must also be stowed under 10,000ft "but in the case of emergency back-up, it is absolutely usable, plus it is a productivity tool as well", said Ellerbrock.
A third model is using the iPad as a Class I EFB. "That is what Executive Jet Management did and others are doing, especially in the business aviation market. It is an EFB for all phases of flight, secured to the pilot normally by a kneeboard" said Ellerbrock. "To gain that Class I status, the iPad needs to go through rapid decompression testing, which Jeppesen has conducted. We provide test results at no charge for Jeppesen customers, and we've done that with over 100 customers already. We want to help them to be successful in their programmes."
The other major component for offering the iPad as a Class I EFB is non-interference testing to ensure the device does not interfere with avionics. "We don't do non-interference testing at Jeppesen. It is an operator's responsibility and that is very specific to the airplane/avionics combination. The FAA has provided a straightforward way to do that through the FAA order 8900.1. I can say that the iPad non-interference testing with customers has been pleasantly clean."
The fourth model for the iPad is as a Class II EFB, where the device is mounted to the airplane. "There has been significant interest among many of our airline customers. Class II is also extremely interesting to us because we really see a lot of potential for mounted version with lots of advanced capabilities. As soon as you offer moving maps [such as the en route moving on the new Jeppesen Mobile FliteDeck], the iPad ideally belongs in a higher field of view than a kneeboard," said Ellerbrock." "By definition, Class II also opens the door to additional connectivity to airplane systems, enabling more capability."
While Jeppesen is developing iPad-as-EFB applications, it is also engaged in prototyping on other platforms, including Android-based systems. "Driven by customer interest, we are preparing ourselves and watching those markets as they develop. There are three of four kinds of platforms that are emerging, but our customers need assurance that they are mature and robust for mission-critical uses," said Ellerbrock.
"Part of what we'll do is help our customers adopt when they're ready at the pace they're ready to go. All the capabilities are modular so we partner with them and help guide them through that adoption process. When we bring the Jeppesen Mobile FliteDeck [to operators], the melding of other functions becomes possible - weather and flight plan overlays, for instance. Then, when wi-fi kicks in [and is permitted in the cockpit], just imagine the possibilities."