American airline Delta is to give 11,000 of its pilots the Microsoft Surface 2 tablet, in a move which hopes to eliminate paper resources.
The recently launched Surface 2, which runs the Windows RT 8.1 platform, will provide crews with charts and navigation tools via a customised app, data which they normally have to carry with a flight bag which can weigh up to 17kg.
The company expects all its cockpits to be paperless by the end of 2014.
Delta had previously tested Apple iPads as potential Electronic Flight Bags (EFB), but has recently embraced Microsoft devices.
It equipped 19,000 of its flight attendants with Nokia Lumia 820 smartphones in August, which run on a Windows operating system.
Electronic alternatives have been available for years, and EFBs are common with single seat and recreational pilots, but this is the first blanket move by an Airline to arm their pilots with them.
Delta's senior vice president, Capt Steve Dickson, said the Surface tablets would "minimise time spent looking for flight information", and allow pilots the "opportunity for greater situational awareness in the air and on the ground".
The tablets will feature a custom-built app called FliteDeck Pro, developed by aerospace technology company Jeppesen, a subsidiary of Boeing.
The new Windows 8.1 platform allows users to view two applications side-by-side, a feature which Delta said made the Surface 2 tablets an attractive option for its cockpits.
Delta says it will roll out the device to pilots on its Boeing 757 and Boeing 767 fleets later this year, subject to approval by the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).
The airline estimates the weight reduction resulting from the switch to a paperless cockpit will reduce fuel usage by 1.2 million gallons per year - leading to a reduction in carbon emissions of 26 million pounds (12 million kg).
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