4 Ways Tablets Meet the Challenge of Aviation

The United States sees an average of 87,000 flights a day, from commercial carriers to military and air cargo flights. These flights create thousands upon thousands of data points that airline crews on and off the ground must accurately track and record in order to keep flight schedules running smoothly and safely.

From the cockpit to the ground crew, mobile solutions using rugged tablets are helping to enhance workflows, increase efficiencies and promote productivity across a variety of aviation settings. Airline crews count on mobile devices for a variety of tasks, and need flexible technology that can accommodate the variety of environments they encounter each day. Operations managers and IT managers are recognizing that to keep their crews productive they need to provide devices that are reliable and offer a purpose-built design to help these professionals stay on task and improve productivity on the job:

  • Electronic flight bag: In the past, commercial airline crews and flight attendants would carry flight bags to bring aboard charts, licenses, manuals, flight plans, passenger manifests, checklists and other paperwork, which could weigh up to 35 pounds or more. Today’s airlines are moving towards paperless cockpits, replacing these large, heavy bags with electronic flight bags (EFBs) on mobile tablets to easily store electronic documents. The military is also testing EFBs in its aircraft as an effort to make these tasks less burdensome for pilots. Not only can these electronic “bags” lighten the load, they also reduce the risk of pilots using out-of-date maps and airport information, as electronic documents are more easily and quickly updated. Successfully moving to EFBs requires a reliable, secure, purpose-built device, designed to meet the working conditions of pilots and crews. For example, a consumer device without a daylight viewable screen can be difficult to view in the cockpit. If a pilot can’t see the screen the value of a mobile solution is lost. Pilots need to know that they will have reliable technology with them without fear of device failure or inaccessible data. Mobile devices should work in the environment and under the conditions that your workers do.
  • Maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO): Maintenance has become increasingly tied to computers for workers to successfully complete their jobs. MRO professionals no longer rely solely on a mechanic’s toolkit, but now also rely on mobile technology to carry out airplane maintenance – quickly and easily accessing flight and maintenance logs. Tablets allow technicians to order spare parts in real-time, rather than documenting an issue on a clipboard and returning to a workshop to place an order. By keeping workers connected, airlines are able to reduce the time it takes to resolve aircraft issues, leading to fewer cancelled and delayed flights. With the enormous amount of commercial flights today, and the tight schedules between connecting flights, one delay can have massive ripple effects, impacting customers and service across the country. In order for MRO workers in the field to gain the most from a mobility solution, features like glove-sensitive touch screens and weather-proof conditions are critical. Flights need to be repaired in all types of environments. If workers are reliant on a mobile device to complete their job but can’t expose it to the rain or snow, the solution will end up impacting efficiency and delaying tightly managed flight operations.
  • Airline ground operations and handling: The ability to access accurate and real-time data is key for airport management, ground operations and services staff to make sure that efficiency and punctuality – the most important objectives in an airport environment– can always be met. Using purpose-built, rugged devices, workers can access schedules, service requests, and technical manuals in all kinds of extreme weather environments for faster sign-off and approval processes before departure. Speeding up processes on the ground helps boost customer satisfaction and keeps the enormous amount of plane schedules running smoothly.
  • In-plane usage: Flight crews are able to use mobile devices during their flights to optimize in-journey services. Attendants can use devices to help customers with entertainment, Wi-Fi, or other purchases during flight. Rugged devices are tested to withstand vibration from plane movements as well as drops, ensuring a longer lifespan.

In order to access the considerable benefits that mobile solutions provide, it’s important to make certain that the tool or device selected is the right one for the job. In an aviation setting, workers are constantly on the move and can find themselves in a variety of locations and working conditions. The devices they carry may hold customer information and other sensitive data. It’s important to select durable, enterprise-grade devices that will work in all environments withstand the everyday, constant usage while keeping valuable data secure. Consumer-grade devices may seem less costly but ultimately they may cost the airline far more than their purchase prices when they frequently need to be replaced or repaired because of weather damage, drops and spills. Choose a mobile device that is purpose-built for the work environment and the job requirements and will last your workforce for years to come.

For more information on Panasonic’s line of rugged Toughpad tablets visit http://business.panasonic.com/toughpad/us/best-rugged-tablet.html.