Amidst the Google Glass backlash, two pilots at Adventia European College of Aeronautics in Spain set an aviation milestone as they wore Google Glass in the cockpit for the first time using special tools that demonstrate the potential benefits of using the devices while flying an aircraft.
A Google developer partner called Droiders created the pilot training app in partnership with Adventia, based off the surgery checklist app that is in use with Google Glass at Stanford University's Faculty of Medicine. On the test flight, pilots Juan Riquelme and and Diana Rodriguez used Google Glass for their pre-flight checklist, takeoff procedures, navigational maps, landing checklist and final approach for their Beechcraft King Air C-90.
Adventia points out some advantages of having Google Glass for pilots. In the safety realm, pilots can see flight data while never taking their hands off the controls. While the video demonstration shows what a VFR (Visual Flight Rules) application would look like, I don't see why the Heads-Up Displays or Heads-Up Guidance System couldn't also be integrated for an IFR (Instrument Flight Rules) application. The option of removing those systems from a plane would help cut down in the weight and maintenance cost.
Adventia estimates a 10 percent increase in productivity, as a benefit of real-time updates for meteorological data, NOTAMS, navigational information and checklists. For airlines still using the cumbersome paper flight bag, it can provide a substantial weight reduction when paired with the electronic flight bag — which in turn would reduce weight and fuel burn, therefore saving money. As seen in the video, pilots can work through checklists by validating each item with a voice command. The app would not allow checklist items to be skipped, reducing the possibility of mistakes.
It's true that this is a very small-scale test, but a proof of concept will open the door for Google Glass to make its way onto commercial airline flight decks at some point. And with the recent announcement that Oakley and Ray Ban will be making stylish versions of Google Glass, pilots won't have to worry about losing that cool factor in the public eye.