Regional Express (Rex) airline chooses the way of the warrior with Zebra’s RW420 mobile printers
Regional Express (Rex) airline is one of the top 200 companies in Asia-Pacific, and is Australia’s largest independent regional airline with regular regional air services across 35 destinations throughout New South Wales, Victoria, Tasmania, South Australia and Queensland. Rex operates more than 40 SAAB 340 aircraft and has recently commenced phased introductions of the latest generation SAAB 340B-Plus whilst phasing out the first-generation SAAB 340A aircraft for regular public transport services.
One issue with the SAAB aircraft was the lack of inbuilt "Flight Bags" – an in-cabin computer and printer wirelessly linked to the airport terminal program that calculates the load weight and balance of the aircraft prior to lift-off, as well as other assorted information including expected flight weather and passenger seating. Without this system, the First Officer is required to leave the plane during a flight turnaround, go to the airport terminal, run the program on the computer system and return with a printout of the information for the next flight. This procedure meant less efficiency during turnarounds.
Purchase of an inbuilt Flight Bag for any aircraft requires supply and installation by the aircraft manufacturer and hardwiring into the aircraft instrumentation. This is an expensive exercise, which would require installation into every aircraft in the Rex SAAB fleet of 40 SAAB aircraft. As such, Rex sought an alternative solution that was more cost effective, could remain independently portable and provide at minimum the same level of reports and flight information in compliance to the aviation regulations. The alternative would also need to be rugged and reliable enough to survive constant in-cabin use.
The final solution of flight deck tablet computers, called the SAAB Flight Bags (SFB) was a portable tablet PC with wireless connectivity and Zebra Road Warrior RW420 portable thermal printer for each aircraft. The SFB enables pilots to complete the aircraft weight and balance, flight planning as well as download and print pre-flight briefings via a wireless connection between the tablet PC to the computer program within the terminal. Peacock Bros. initially provided evaluation units for testing back in 2007 and now there are approximately 40 SAAB aircraft using the solution.
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