Delta Air Lines is equipping its 11,000 pilots with electronic flight bags using the Microsoft Surface 2 tablet, according to Microsoft. Device rollout to pilots flying the Boeing 757 and Boeing 767 fleets will start later this year and all Delta cockpits are projected to be paperless by the end of 2014.

The Surface 2 will run on the Windows RT 8.1 platform and provide flight crews with real-time access to essential tools and the most up-to-date flight-related resources including key charts, reference documents and checklists.

“Delta’s electronic flight bag running on Surface 2 continues the technological strides Delta has been making to give our crews the best tools to keep them flying safely and efficiently,” Capt. Steve Dickson, Delta’s senior vice president, Flight Operations, said in a statement. “This intuitive device puts key information at their fingertips right when they need it. By eliminating paper, we’ll reduce clutter and minimize time spent looking for flight information allowing our pilots the opportunity for greater situational awareness in the air and on the ground.”

Delta’s electronic flight bag will leverage Jeppesen’s FliteDeck Pro application built specifically for the Windows 8.1 platform. The interactive software gives flight crews quicker and more efficient access to key, real-time information and resources such as dynamic charts and navigation utilities, which help them better manage the safe operation of their aircraft.

Delta expects to receive approval from the Federal Aviation Administration to use the tablets during all phases of flight next year, a process that follows an extensive period of testing on board Boeing 757 and Boeing 767 aircraft. Approvals for all fleet types are expected by the end of the year. According to the announcement, rolling out the Surface 2 tablets across the entire fleet and eliminating paper in the cockpit means the carrier will remove traditional 38-pound pilot flight bags maintained on board aircraft for each pilot. That weight reduction is expected to reduce fuel usage by an estimated 1.2 million gallons per year. 

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