Avionics News March 2017 - 18
S T O R Y
o denying it, no avoiding it - "it" being the
digital revolution. In a few short years, the
explosion of portable computing devices
delivered to humanity some profound benefits, changes
and challenges. And few other places exist where these
advances show up more visibly than in the aviation
community - more specifically, in the cockpits of the
aircraft pilots fly.
Consider the iPad.
The iPad became nearly ubiquitous as the go-to device
for running and displaying electronic flight bag software
within months of the first shipments - almost singlehandedly killing the then-emergent market for purposebuilt EFBs. Almost single-handedly - because where
D A V E
H I G D O N
computer devices are concerned, it takes two to tango.
The second partner in this dance team: The various
software producers whose engineers wrote the codes
needed to give iPad hardware its EFB functionality - the
things to show pilots.
But the digital revolution's invasion of aviation
cockpits continued, rapidly, well beyond the iPad.
Shortly after the iPad's introduction in late January 2010,
smartphones began arriving capable of performing pretty
much all the same functions of Apple's top-selling tablet
- with one exception. Pilots make phone calls on the
pocket-size computers - and still display graphics, run
EFB software, help pilots navigate and more.
If a tablet - including those running Android software