Tag Archives: Pilot

Delta Airlines selects Microsoft Surface 2 for electronic charts in cockpit

deltalogoDelta Airlines has decided on the Surface 2, From Microsoft as the tablet of choice for it’s 11,000+ pilots. The new devices will replace the 38 lb flight bag that pilots have lugged around for years. The tablets will contain all the charts, checklists and manuals needed to operate the airliners once the FAA signs off on the idea. (Expected early next year)
The lighter devices are expected to save the airline $13 million a year in fuel usage and other costs over the heavy flight bags and paper charts. Pilots will be able to access flight and weather information through apps such as FliteDeck Pro and the Weather app. The company also says it may come up with it’s own apps.


“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,” said Capt. Steve Dickson, Delta’s senior vice president – Flight Operations. “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.”

American and United, have bought Apple’s iPad for that purpose. One reason for going with the Surface 2 (according to Capt. Dickson) is “It’s easier to give the pilots separate areas for company and personal use.”

In August, Delta said its flight attendants will get Windows phones to process in-flight sales of food, better seats, and other items.

Here is a link to the press release: Delta to equip 11,000 pilots with Microsoft Surface 2 electronic flight bags

Pilot Frixion Rollerball Pens

Although it seems that the Pilot Frixion rollerballs have been out for about a year, the first I knew of them was while looking for stocking fillers in a local newsagent’s. Pilot claims that these are erasable but I suspect many of us have purchased erasable pens in the past only to find that they erase by scratching a hole in the paper.

In this instance, Pilot says that it’s the heat generated through friction between the pen’s “eraser” and the paper which rubs out the ink.  And it actually does work. Take a look at the two pictures below – the top one shows the writing, the bottom one shows where I’ve rubbed out the ink.

Ok, so you can see a faint trace but in practice, if you re-wrote over the (erased) writing, you’d never know.  You’ll also see that the paper is undamaged.  The “eraser” on the end is a rubberised nub that doesn’t seem to wear out or leave bits of rubber behind.

So if you are looking for an erasable pen, pick up one from your nearest good stationery retailer. Available in 8 colours and also in a stylish executive version.

Some Companies Still Don’t Get “Online”

When it comes to web technology there are still some companies that are back in the 1980’s.  Okay, I know, there was no web in the 80’s, but there might as well be no web today for those certain companies.  I had the misfortune of dealing with two of them this evening.

It all began when I stopped to get gas at a Flying J on my way home from work.  It’s a station I frequent for two reasons –  low prices and proximity (a few miles away) to my house.  As always, after swiping my debit card at the pump, I was prompted to either swipe my Rewards Card or press Enter.  And, again as always, I thought “I really need to get a Rewards Card and get the discounted prices”.

The difference today was that, when I arrived home, I actually remembered and went to their web site to request a card.  And that is where this story takes a turn for the outdated.

After logging onto their website (and knowing what I do now I am surprised that either company in question even has one) I located the link for the Rewards Card.  A nice page explained the benefits which, based on my habits, would save about $0.20 per gallon on my costs.  However, there was no “Apply” link.  I tried several approaches to this problem without luck.  I searched the site and found a page that contained an “Apply” link, but, when I clicked it I receive an error.  I was using Firefox, so I opened IE and tried again, but got the same error.

Frustrated, I called Customer Service.  An nice rep informed me that they no longer did this because they had merged with Pilot and Pilot now handled it.  “So, I need to go to their site?”.  “Yes”.

So, they thought letting users get an error message when clicking on “Apply Now” was tantamount to letting them know that the service was no longer offered through Flying J?  And we could just ascertain, somehow, that they had merged with Pilot and that that Pilot now offered the service?!

Okay.  I went to Pilot’s website.  Here, though, I can find no link to apply, even with a site search.  So now I call Pilot customer service.  I am informed that they do not offer an online application, but that I can pick up an app at any Flying J or Pilot location.

Really?!  No way to apply online?  No link from one site to the other, after the merger, to let users know where to go?  Just let them get an error message instead?  I don’t think I have encountered this kind of online ineptitude since the 90’s.  To be fair, both offer great prices at the pump and both had very friendly customer service reps.  But maybe they could wake up to current technology and learn how the modern web works.  They need to find the last great innovation before the next one leapfrogs them again.