The South African Air Force (SAAF) is evaluating an iPad-based electronic flight bag for use in its Hawk jet trainers.
The device, developed by BAE Systems, has been uploaded with apps for conversions, landing trajectories and weather forecasts, in addition to the technical publications for the aircraft. The tablet computers also have been tested to deal with rapid decompression of the aircraft as well as to see whether the iPad would interfere with aircraft’s electrical systems or the magnetic compass.
Lee Franks, head of engineering for Hawk Product Development at BAE Systems, said: “It was a case of looking at the tablet as being no different to taking a book into the cockpit. It is not a new display, and it is independent of the display software in there.”
The tablets were handed over to SAAF officials to begin testing in September.
During the trials, BAE Systems engineers found that traditional pilot’s flying gloves were not suitable for typing characters with the tablets, so they added gripping tips to the gloves to ensure that touch-screens could be used by glove-wearing pilots.
BAE System says it is now working to make more of the tablets ready to trial by other nations using the Hawk, including the U.K., the and the .