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Introducing the “Pilot Pad” – Airlines & Manufacturers Go Mobile

Following the example of American Airlines, Air France was the first European airline which announced the future use of iPads in the cockpits of their aircraft. All their Boeing 777- qualified pilots have been using it on a daily basis since June 2012, and all the Company’s 4100 pilots will be equipped by summer 2013. The iPad will offer training and refresher e-learning modules, i.e., aircraft system revision, self-service briefings, flight path and airfield recognition. Air France is also working to replace paper documentation on board with an electronic format thanks to another adapted tool (the Electronic Flight Bag – in short EFB) which will ultimately save weight and therefore fuel and CO2 emissions. According to American Airlines removing the 35-pound paper kitbag and replacing it with an Electronic Flight Bag from each plane will save an estimated $1.2 million of fuel annually based on current fuel prices. The Airbus EFB solution for iPad was announced at the Farnborough Air Show last year. Qantas has become a launch customer for the ‘FlySmart with Airbus’ cockpit applications on iPad. In addition to the EFB functions Airbus pilots will be able to compute their aircraft performance calculations to provide them with optimised and accurate results on any runway of their operational route network.

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  • As an airline, Saudia could see the value of extending e-learning facilities to pilots. One of our Strategic Business Unit – Prince Sultan Aviation Academy, recently replaced the orthodox CBT with SAP powered e-learning solutions and is now offering its trainees (mostly cadet pilots) various aviation courses beyond the traditional classrooms. Extending the e-learning facilities to pilots in cockpit hopefully would replace paper documentation completely.

    Another area of business operations where we’re using e-learning is our MRO business unit which provides training to aircraft technical staff. Thanks to SAP’s LSO & Personnel Development components and it’s interfacing capabilities with other technical systems, the technicians receive notifications on their mobile devices for upcoming trainings, their qualifications expiry, licenses renewal etc.

    Saudi Arabian airlines is pursuing excellence in all of its operations and particularly interested in automating its processes with best-run and available technology.

    • If we see the topic from “e-learning” perspective, the value of using different tools (i-pad applications or SAP-centric solutions) by airlines could be determined. The mentioned airlines are using i-pad applications for some training modules useful while aboard and to limit paper documentation while Saudia is using SAP learning solution to extend learning opportunities from traditional classroom to virtual learning to pilots.