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Jeppesen marches toward 'paperless' worldJeppesen marches toward 'paperless' world

Savannah/Hilton Head International Airport in Savannah, Ga. Savannah/Hilton Head International Airport in Savannah, Ga.

Jeppesen outlined a future of paperless cockpits that update ground and air navigation information in flight, yet eliminate extraneous information not relevant to an individual flight. Key components of the plan are coming together.

All that is needed to make it work for all aircraft is a universal acceptance of the paperless cockpit, a goal Jeppesen officials have sought for 13 years. Yet, Jeppesen said, the company still prints one billion pieces of paper a year (down from two billion in the pre-digital age).

Components of future ramp-to-ramp operations include a newly signed agreement between Jeppesen and Satcom Direct to sell a bundled solution combining flight planning services and cockpit communications. Dispatchers and maintenance personnel can monitor aircraft through automated takeoff and landing reports and e-mail messages, and can see the position of the aircraft at any time.

Jeppesen has also been certified to design, flight validate, and maintain Required Navigation Performance (RNP) procedures requiring special aircrew and aircraft authorization. As a part of the process, Jeppesen designed a public RNP procedure for Runway 28 at Savannah/Hilton Head International Airport in Savannah, Ga. The procedure will be operational late this year.

Speeding the paperless revolution is a letter from the FAA for reusable software components, allowing Jeppesen electronic charts to be integrated quickly and efficiently with onboard aviation navigation systems. It is only the second such letter issued by the FAA. It will speed manufacturing by avionics partners working with Jeppesen.

But to use all the new capability, pilots must still accept paperless cockpits. “There are some who will always want a paper backup,” a Jeppesen official said. The pace of acceptance has increased recently. The future cockpit, once the revolution as planned is complete, will show routing on the ground for taxi clearances, label an airport map with “hold” instructions, and even report whether a runway is occupied. Notam information will be included automatically for taxiways that are closed. The cluttered navigation charts of today may be simplified in future cockpits once in the air with just the route of the aircraft, showing only necessary information.

Alton Marsh

Alton K. Marsh

Freelance journalist
Alton K. Marsh is a former senior editor of AOPA Pilot and is now a freelance journalist specializing in aviation topics.

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