Aeronautical chart provider Jeppesen is experiencing first hand some of the angst that can accompany a business’s transition to the brave new world of digital product and service marketing. In Jepp’s case problems arose from glitches with its FliteDeck electronic approach chart software, a recent version of which wreaked serious havoc by locking up users’ computers.
Several new services and alliances have been added to Flightneeds.com, a Web site providing weather data, FBO information, airport descriptions, charter guides and other flight-planning resources. Among the new additions is “FBO pre-advisal,” which permits pilots to go online, contact participating FBOs and order fuel, rental cars, hotel reservations, ramp space, conference rooms, newspapers and other amenities.
Jeppesen announced it has been selected to provide worldwide weather information and forecasts for use by subscribers of the Merlin airborne weather system in development by Dulles, Va.-based Satellink Technologies. Scheduled for availability this spring, Merlin will provide real-time weather to aircraft in flight, including high-resolution color weather charts and Notams supplied by Jeppesen.
Gulfstream Aerospace received an STC for the installation of the Northstar Technologies Flight Deck Organizer in the GIV and GIV-SP. The system combines a complete Jeppesen approach chart database with a moving-map display. System cost, including installation, is about $50,000, not including the chart subscription. The Savannah, Ga. manufacturer is working to obtain an STC for the system on the GII, GIII and GV.
As the FAA continues to wrestle with the issue of whether to allow portable electronic devices to be used for viewing approach charts during commercial IFR operations, pilots of Part 91 business jets who have been flying with the so-called electronic flight bag (EFB) computers for the past year are expressing generally favorable opinions of the devices.
Jeppesen and Honeywell have announced an alliance whereby Jeppesen’s integrated navigation data service will be offered to buyers of Honeywell INAV (interactive navigation) avionics, under development for Gulfstream’s PlaneView and Dassault’s EASy cockpits.
With more and more pilots bidding farewell to paper approach charts and turning to the convenience of handheld flight-deck computers, official word from the FAA stipulating exactly how such devices may be used in the cockpit has been eagerly anticipated by the industry for some time.
Aeronautical data specialist Jeppesen is investing heavily in a move from paper-based to electronic products that should enhance flight and ground operations while helping eliminate the need for paper manuals and charts.
EFBs are becoming not just accepted but entrenched in business aviation, with hundreds of professional pilots today powering up lightweight pen tablet computers rather than using cumbersome Jeppesen chart binders. Gulfstream recently certified a two-EFB installation for the GV that uses Northstar CT-1000 computers, while fractional provider Flight Options last year went entirely paperless in its fleet of about 90 pre-owned jets.
Tucson, Ariz.-based Universal Avionics announced receipt of a TSO certifying the company’s Universal Cockpit Display, a handheld tablet computer with an 8.4-in. touchscreen. At a list price of $33,500, the handheld device is more expensive than other electronic flight bags (EFB) on the market, but it has the advantage of interfacing directly with the airplane’s FMS.