NTS Completes Successful Rapid Decompression Testing for FltPlan Android Tablets

July 29, 2014

For many professional pilots, paper charts can be extremely cumbersome when dealing with thousands of different airports and multiple pages for each. It can also take several hours for pilots to revise their paper charts each 28 day cycle.

A snapshot of the FltPlan app

As a solution to these challenges, FltPlan, a Connecticut based flight planning company designed a new app, FltPlan Go, to work on Android tablets as opposed to iPads, the current standard. The app shows graphical flight plan routes and in-flight access to weather briefings, approach plates and a myriad of tools and calculators for measuring weight, balance, wind and temperature.

In order to replace paper charts with this new app on an Android device, part 135 and 121 operators (air charter and commercial) must obtain approval from the FAA. One component of this approval process is rapid decompression testing.

In a worst case scenario, a plane at cruising altitude (ranging from 31,000 to 51,000 feet above sea level) could have a rapid loss of cabin pressure. Overhead masks will deliver enough oxygen to crew and passengers for approximately ten minutes while the plane rapidly descends from cruising altitude to sea level. FltPlan brought their app to NTS to ensure the information on the device could withstand this type of event.

Recording pressure during the test
Recording pressure during the test

The testing was completed on four different types of tablets with Android operating systems. They were looking to ensure the battery did not overheat, glass did not fog (leaving the screen unreadable), and the case did not crack. Our Boxborough lab placed the devices inside a pressure chamber and brought them up to a simulated 51,000 ft. and rapidly dropped to sea level. The outcome was very successful and the app ran on each tablet with no interruption.

Ken Wilson, president of FltPlan, was pleased with the findings. “NTS was recommended to us from several other testing facilities that didn’t do pressure testing.” he commented. “Location was also a factor, as one of your labs was only 2 1/2 hours away.”

For a quick look at the testing process, see this video created by FltPlan!

If your product requires pressure testing, or any other of NTS’ wide range of services please contact us at 800-270-2516.


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