British Airways subsidiary, BA CityFlyer, today became the first UK airline to deploy Panasonic's rugged Toughpad tablets for flights operating out of London City Airport. The Toughpad FZ-G1 tablets, with the latest generation Windows 8 Professional operating system, are being used by engineers and flight crew on each of the airline's aircraft.
The Panasonic Toughpad acts as a Class 1 Electronic Technical Log, which does not require any hugely expensive aircraft modifications or technology infrastructure changes. The device is used to record the aircraft flight details, technical data associated with each flight and provides the real time maintenance status of the aircraft. Flight and technical details are entered into the Toughpad using the touchscreen and the information is transmitted immediately to servers which feed into the BA CityFlyer maintenance system, eliminating the need for manual data inputting, while also providing optional PDF prints of the technical log pages.
BA CityFlyer engineers and crew are able to access real time information on the aircraft status through a web-based application as well as the BA CityFlyer maintenance system. More accurate and efficient than traditional paper methods, the process speeds up the availability of information to the airline's maintenance control and provides crew and engineers attending the aircraft with real time visibility of the aircraft's technical status. This in turn can speed up aircraft turn-around times and facilitate more efficient maintenance planning. The ETL also provides the fuel data to produce reports for carbon emissions trading and other additional information such as de-icing procedures in cold weather.
BA CityFlyer tested the new Panasonic Toughpad tablets with the latest ETL application from NVable. The Panasonic Toughpad tablets have replaced the Panasonic CF-19 Toughbook notebooks that the airline had been using for the past four years.
"The BA CityFlyer team turned to the new Toughpad because of the amazing track record of performance and reliability they had experienced with our Toughbook devices - not a single device returned for repair in 4 years of service," explained Kevin Tristram, general manager, UK & Ireland Toughbook Group. "The Panasonic Toughpad FZ-G1 is perfect for this new deployment because it is 50% lighter than the previous Toughbook computers but is still built to last in a testing aircraft and engineering environment. The next generation Windows 8 Professional operating system also makes inputting data so much easier. The unit is an improvement in both Health & Safety and flight deck ergonomics."
Dave Cooper, line maintenance manager, BA CityFlyer, added: "The combination of the Panasonic Toughpad tablets and the ETL application from NVable is providing more accurate and up to date information, and also helping our flight crew and engineers further improve the quality and speed of our turnaround times at airports, benefitting our business but more importantly improving the service we offer to our customers. It is no doubt a contributing factor to the airlines improvement in on-time-performance."
Launched in January 2013, the Toughpad FZ-G1 is Panasonic's first fully rugged Windows 8 Pro tablet, which has been designed for mobile workers who spend much of their time working outside or in vehicles. The thin and lightweight device, weighing only 1.1kg, has been designed to take full advantage of the new functionality offered by the Windows 8 Pro operating system and offers two-way touch input with its capacitive 10-finger multi-touch screen and digitizer pen for tasks such as recording signatures.
The first fully rugged device to use the latest IPSa Panel technology, developed by Panasonic, the FZ-G1 provides new levels of viewing quality for tablet users working outside. The 10.1in Full HD (1920x1200) Resolution screen is purpose built to perform in any light conditions.
The Panasonic Toughpad FZ-G1 has a MIL-STD-810G rating to cope with 120cm drops as well as an IP65 ingress protection rating for resistance to dust and water.
With built-in battery-saving technology such as its ambient light sensor, the Toughpad FZ-G1 can operate for 8 hours on its standard 6-cell battery and with an optional 9-cell battery can run for 16 hours. Batteries can also be switched in the field to ensure the device is operational as long as the user requires it and offering businesses better total cost of ownership than traditional tablets.
The FZ-G1 comes with a high quality HD 720p front web camera as standard and optional 3MP rear camera with double flash capability for clear document, asset or site photos whatever the light conditions.
Using its Flexible Configuration Ports, the device can be configured exactly for the needs of the business, offering USB 2.0, Micro SD, True Serial port, LAN Connector, GPS and integrated smartcard reader optional. USB 3.0, Bluetooth® 4.0, HDMI and Wireless LAN capabilities are standard.
The Toughpad is powered by 3rd generation Intel® Core™ i5-3437U vProTM 3MB cache, 1.9GHz, up to 2.9GHz with Intel® Turbo Boost Technology and comes with 4GB of RAM and 128GB SSD as standard with a 256GB SSD option.
For further information on the Toughbook product range visit www.toughbook.eu.