Windows 8 tablet demo shows its use in military fighter jets

You might think that a military fighter pilot is going to have access to a lot of high tech equipment, but when it comes to flying, most pilots still have to use paper notebooks in the cockpit. Today, as part of the Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference, a new solution was shown that's based on a Windows 8 tablet.

During the day 3 keynote address, a video was shown of a Windows 8 tablet with a software solution that replicates the paper notebook content for a fighter pilot. The tablet and software were created by a company called PaceBlade, which has offices in the Netherlands and the US.

After the video was shown, Microsoft's partners division leader Jon Roskill brought up former fighter pilot and current PaceBlade representative Erik Cornelisse on stage to talk more about the Windows 8 tablet solution. Cornelisse said that he and other pilots tried to use the iPad as a replacement for their notebooks while serving in Afghanistan, but the 'iPad didn't work" for three reasons.

One was that the regular iPad was too big and the iPad mini is too small to use, while PaceBlade has an eight inch tablet that is apparently "just right" for fighter pilots. The second reason was that the iPad's software made it hard to organize the content needed for pilots. Finally, the iPad's security features were not good enough compared to those found in Windows 8.

PaceBlade is hoping to expand its secure Windows 8 tablet products beyond its military use to civilian aircraft, along with police, emergency responders, government and health care uses.

Source: Microsoft | Image via Microsoft

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28 Comments

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You know, all of these emergency procedure manuals and trajectory notes on tablets are efficient for pilots. I just wouldn't want to be the pilot if the battery died without a a good ol' fashioned notepad or book.

I don't understand why would you need a tablet, something which you have to operate with both hands, while flying. Seems more distracting to me. I mean you already have a ton of displays in front of you, can't you fit one more 8" screen on there somewhere?

AsherGZ said,
I don't understand why would you need a tablet, something which you have to operate with both hands, while flying. Seems more distracting to me. I mean you already have a ton of displays in front of you, can't you fit one more 8" screen on there somewhere?

In aviation it costs millions to certify anything to be installed on/in a panel, Thus these EFB solutions based on common tablets are exploding into the market.

For example, it may cost me 40,000 bucks to install a new garmin GPS unit in my dash while I could buy an ipad with wingx pro for 900 bucks and have another 1000 left over to buy an ADSB receiver too.

spudtrooper said,

In aviation it costs millions to certify anything to be installed on/in a panel, Thus these EFB solutions based on common tablets are exploding into the market.

For example, it may cost me 40,000 bucks to install a new garmin GPS unit in my dash while I could buy an ipad with wingx pro for 900 bucks and have another 1000 left over to buy an ADSB receiver too.

900$ + 1000$ = 40,000$?

SirEvan said,

900$ + 1000$ = 40,000$?

Adsb receiver is about a grand. What you do with the there 38k is up to you. I was on my phone, I figured people would be intelligent enough to discern my meaning..

The computers used in such contexts primarily need to be incredibly reliable, rather than offering the flexibility and power Windows does.

Is Windows 8 really as reliable as a paper notebook?

singularity87 said,
The computers used in such contexts primarily need to be incredibly reliable, rather than offering the flexibility and power Windows does.

Is Windows 8 really as reliable as a paper notebook?

One would just carry paper backup. The point of EFBs or "Electronic Flight Bags" is to have more information available than you can with paper. These EFB's can connect to GPS/Traffic systems and show ADSB weather overlays and so much info that it makes flying safer. "the more you know"

Lots of pilots & airlines already do this with IPADS.. so its just a matter of time WIndows 8 got some love.

SpyderCanopus said,
So that's who Win8 was designed for. The government and their idiot employees who can't use a computer.

^This

SpyderCanopus said,
So that's who Win8 was designed for. The government and their idiot employees who can't use a computer.

Why can't they handle a computer? Fighter jets are powered by computers.

yeah, I know! every fighter pilot should be using a desktop and 8 monitors in their cockpit, but they can't, cause they're too DUMB to use a mouse and keyboard like A REAL MAN. LINUX.

ono_sendai said,
yeah, I know! every fighter pilot should be using a desktop and 8 monitors in their cockpit, but they can't, cause they're too DUMB to use a mouse and keyboard like A REAL MAN. LINUX.

Hold on, I have to install the package needed to arm and fire my weapons. Can someone tell the enemy pilot to hold off for just a sec? "sudo..."

SpyderCanopus said,
So that's who Win8 was designed for. The government and their idiot employees who can't use a computer.

something easy to use in a stressful environment with multiple factors and distractions. how does that not sound helpful?

ono_sendai said,
yeah, I know! every fighter pilot should be using a desktop and 8 monitors in their cockpit, but they can't, cause they're too DUMB to use a mouse and keyboard like A REAL MAN. LINUX.

Yay, kernel panics when trying to launch a missile. *grin*

SpyderCanopus said,
So that's who Win8 was designed for. The government and their idiot employees who can't use a computer.

This is an "EFB" - electronic flight bag with an IFR approach plate shown. If the "EFB" fails they would simply pull out a piece of paper and follow that. These approach plates are used for "instrument flight rules" however if all hell breaks lose one could do a VFR approach, divert or use whatever alternative flight plan was done.

EFB's are pretty popular and available on Android and iOS already and they offer so much more than the traditional knee board with paper on it. New EFB's can do GPS, Traffic & Weather with ADS-B incoming (and some with ADS-B reporting for traffic avoidance)

It's cool stuff, please learn something before you open your trap next time.

These don't replace flight computers, they supplement what was traditionally done by paper however some flight decks do offer integration with EFB's.. (such as on some Civilian GA aircraft running Avidyne or Garmin flight computers/GPS systems)

SpyderCanopus said,
So that's who Win8 was designed for. The government and their idiot employees who can't use a computer.

So simplicity is suppose to make things better but you think a pilot needs to worry about using a complex system for a few changes or request of information on his aircraft? what a fuuuuuu id8.

SpyderCanopus said,
So that's who Win8 was designed for. The government and their idiot employees who can't use a computer.

First Win8 was too hard to use and now it's too easy to use?

Dot Matrix said,

Hold on, I have to install the package needed to arm and fire my weapons. Can someone tell the enemy pilot to hold off for just a sec? "sudo..."


You need to recompile the kernel dude

laserfloyd said,

First Win8 was too hard to use and now it's too easy to use?


Anything to trash windows 8 by the looks of it

Dot Matrix said,

Hold on, I have to install the package needed to arm and fire my weapons. Can someone tell the enemy pilot to hold off for just a sec? "sudo..."

You need to recompile the kernel to load that module first..

spudtrooper said,

This is an "EFB" - electronic flight bag with an IFR approach plate shown. If the "EFB" fails they would simply pull out a piece of paper and follow that. These approach plates are used for "instrument flight rules" however if all hell breaks lose one could do a VFR approach, divert or use whatever alternative flight plan was done.

EFB's are pretty popular and available on Android and iOS already and they offer so much more than the traditional knee board with paper on it. New EFB's can do GPS, Traffic & Weather with ADS-B incoming (and some with ADS-B reporting for traffic avoidance)

It's cool stuff, please learn something before you open your trap next time.

These don't replace flight computers, they supplement what was traditionally done by paper however some flight decks do offer integration with EFB's.. (such as on some Civilian GA aircraft running Avidyne or Garmin flight computers/GPS systems)

finally a comment with sense, quite rare this days. A tablet with this software has many applications and uses and if for some reason fails one can use paper again, it's not an exclusive component you know?

Supposedly Jeppesen has been working on a windows 8 flight bag application, I wonder if this is hints of that. I sure hope so! (And I hope other flight apps join in on 8)