The Changing Flight Deck: On Approach to EBACE 2015

With EBACE 2015 just a few weeks away, today I found myself reflecting on the tremendous changes we’ve seen in business aviation since attending my first EBACE ten years ago. During the decade we witnessed an all-time peak in new airplane deliveries and flight utilization, felt the headache of a financial crisis, and then pulled up for our industry climb out.

Many new airplane models have arrived on the Geneva PALEXPO static display for the first time, and many others have moved into post-production life stages. I know many of us who are drawn to aviation look to experiences such as these as sources of lessons that will help us learn more about our craft and grow as people and professionals.

It was almost exactly halfway back – April 2010 – that Apple first introduced the iPad. Even though we had electronic charts, EFBs and such back in 2005, there was still quite a bit of paper to be found around the airplanes and pilots on the PALEXPO tarmac. Now it’s pretty rare to see anybody using paper for anything.

Within the technical community, our conversation has advanced beyond “devices in the flight deck” and into an era where our airplanes and avionics are in the middle of the digital ecosystem. Smartphones and tablets are just one of many ways we interact with the connected flight operations apps, services, and information that we rely on to complete our missions and run our operations. What I learned here: sometimes when you feel a revolution has occurred, as I did when I first saw electronic charts and later used tablets in the flight deck, the revolution is truly just beginning.

Back again to 2005 - I have crystal clear memories of respected experts around that time stating emphatically that we would “never” see touchscreen flight displays certified on business airplanes. I’ll be the first to admit I didn’t debate with those experts at that time. Now as we prepare for EBACE 2015, touch screen primary flight displays are in fact... hold on, sorry, I need to stop this thought for right now. All I can say is watch this space.

By experiencing all of the amazing dynamics in our industry over the past ten years, I’ve learned a ton on so many fronts. The most salient lesson however, is that with the present pace of progress in and around our aviation industry, anytime an expert emphatically tells you “never!” about something in the future  – well, like I said, watch this space.


Adam Evanschwartz is a type rated commercial pilot and a multi-engine/instrument flight instructor. During his nine years with Rockwell Collins, he has served in various business development roles focused on advanced flight deck systems, apps and services for business and airline aircraft. Currently, he lives in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, with his wife Sarah and their three kids, and works as Rockwell Collins’ Director of Business Aviation Marketing.

Story posted: May 6, 2015

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