Airline pilots now have the ability to use the Microsoft Surface 2 tablet in the cockpit after receiving Class 1 or 2 electronic flight bag project authorization from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). Powered by Windows RT, Microsoft was able to work the tablet through different testing phases before being authorized for in-flight use.
"While airlines are still obligated to define their specific use requirements with the FAA and request specific device approval, our completion of these tests for Surface 2 satisfies a lengthy and important part of that authorization process," Microsoft noted in a blog post. "So when airline looks to select Surface 2 for their EFB initiatives, their timeline to deployment can be significantly decreased."
Pilots are anxious to leave behind paper maps, bulky manuals and other non-digital products, though the FAA has stringent testing that includes environmental testing to make sure the device doesn't interfere with aircraft electronics.
This is an important victory for Microsoft, because the software giant wants to show its Windows-powered mobile devices can be used as real-world work devices.