Feature Article

February 13, 2014

Microsoft's Surface 2 Tablet Approved by FAA for Pilot Use

As most of us probably remember, using electronic devices like cell phones and laptops had been banned from use in most commercial airliners. Then, the FAA loosened these restrictions by allowing most of these devices to be used, although they still prohibited usage during sensitive flight operations like take-off and landing. As of last year, the FAA had announced that it was okay for passengers to use almost all electronic devices during any phase of flight.

In light of this, pilots too have been clamoring for the go ahead to use electronic devices in flight themselves. Even though pilots must be aware of their surroundings and instrumentation at all times, once the auto-pilot takes over the plane things can actually get rather boring. Thankfully, Microsoft has made several changes to their Surface line of tablets in order to make sure that they cannot interfere with the sensitive instrumentation within the cockpit. Microsoft has been working closely with the FAA on this endeavor, and has finally reached a solution.

“Given the growing interest among airline operators to adopt mobile technology as a means to simplify day-to-day business operations,” said Cyril Belikoff, Director of Microsoft, “The Surface team has been working hard to make it easier for these airlines to modernize. Today, we're happy to share that Surface 2 tablets have achieved Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) authorization for Class 1 or 2 EFB (Electronic Flight Bag) needs for all phases of flight.” Ideally, these tablets will help to reduce and even outright replace paper-based reference material that pilots have in their carry-on bags.

Now, pilots can bring bulky aircraft operating manuals, navigational charts, and even crew operating manuals along with them to the cockpit in the convenient package of a Surface 2 tablet by Microsoft. Since several airlines even offer in-flight Wi-Fi, pilots will even get to spend some of their free time browsing the Internet, and perhaps even communicating with the friends and family they've left behind on the ground.

Edited by Ryan Sartor

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