Pana­sonic FZ-G1 Tough­pad, priced at £1,650 up­ward, de­pend­ing on spec­i­fi­ca­tion

Pilot - - BOOKS & GEAR -

A pro­fes­sional grade ‘elec­tronic flight bag’

In the com­mer­cial fly­ing world, the air­lines have been us­ing con­sumer tablets as ‘elec­tronic flight bags’ com­bin­ing all the usual avi­a­tion data, nav­i­ga­tion charts and man­u­als with the abil­ity to per­form com­plex cal­cu­la­tions for take­off, land­ing and fuel reck­on­ing. How­ever one thing that has be­come an is­sue is the fail­ure rate — up to five times higher than us­ing spe­cial­ist rugged tablets, claims man­u­fac­turer Pana­sonic. Ac­cord­ing to re­search into the re­li­a­bil­ity of mo­bile de­vices by the an­a­lyst group VDC, 18% of non-rugged de­vices need re­plac­ing in year one, the to­tal rises to 39% by year two and 83% of de­vices will have been re­placed by year three. Com­pare that to rugged de­vices with a 3% re­place­ment rate in year one, 8% in year two and just 18% by year three.

In the air, ipads and the like can be dif­fi­cult for pi­lots to read in both bright sun­light and at night. Con­sumer tablets come with nar­row ad­justable bright­ness ranges of 50cd/sq m (can­de­las per square me­tre) to 410cd/sq m, when 0.5 to 800cd/sq m is re­quired, ac­cord­ing to Pana­sonic. Con­sumer tablets also lack ded­i­cated but­tons for the es­sen­tial con­trols, mak­ing them slower to op­er­ate than is ideal.

The FZ-G1 Tough­pad is de­signed to avoid these prob­lems. It is cer­tainly very sub­stan­tial and we plan to test it in the cock­pit en­vi­ron­ment — although it is rather to bulky and heavy (just over two kilo­grams) to be used read­ily in the ed­i­to­rial Cub! (Mini ipads and smaller Pana­sonic units are a bet­ter choice when space — or lack of it - is the prime is­sue.)

For il­lus­tra­tion only we have shown the Sky­de­mon nav­i­ga­tion page, but be­ware that this soft­ware is pri­mar­ily in­tended for Ap­ple and An­droid sys­tems and of­fers lim­ited func­tion­al­ity with Win­dows Pro, which is what the FZ-G1 runs on (and is the air­lines’ pre­ferred op­er­at­ing sys­tem). You can cer­tainly plan flights on the Pana­sonic, but you may need to con­nect it to a re­mote GPS to use it for nav­i­ga­tion. PW

A pot­ted his­tory

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