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Pilots dismiss issues of air controls blanking and explain their need for real-time updates as carriers come closer to an agreement with FAA and tech companies to ensure their connectivity.
Certainly, there are operational and security considerations for allowing pilots to access a cabin Wi-Fi link, though some carriers are taking tentative steps in that direction. Delta Air Lines, which has fitted its entire mainline domestic fleet with Gogo inflight Wi-Fi, last year started testing iPads and other PEDs as electronic flight bags (EFBs), saying it could ultimately push important information to pilots regardless of location in real time.
More recently, American Airlines – also a Gogo customer – has been working to equip its pilots with iPad-based EFBs, and the FAA has given the green light for them to use the devices during takeoff and landing.
Neither US major airline has announced a formal plan to exploit the connectivity pipe for pilots, even though it can be soundly argued that Class 1 portable EFBs won’t reach their full potential without a broadband connection.