Purdue aviation technology students receive iPads, Apple Pencils

“Electronic Purdue Bags” connect 900+ Purdue Polytechnic students to instructors, data

Purdue staff members distribute new Electronic Purdue Bags, each with iPad, Apple Pencil & Logitech keyboards, to students in the School of Aviation and Transportation Technology

WEST LAFAYETTE, IND., JAN. 8, 2019 – Enthusiasm for aviation-related education programs in Purdue Polytechnic’s School of Aviation and Transportation Technology (SATT) continues to soar with the arrival of iPad and Apple Pencil for each of the nearly one thousand students and faculty. Undergraduate programs in SATT include professional flight, aeronautical engineering technology, aviation management and unmanned aerial systems.

Dubbed an Electronic Purdue Bag (EPB) — a nod to the Electronic Flight Bag (EFB) that replaced pilots’ paper-based flight information in the cockpit during in the 1990s — the new 9.7-inch cellular iPad, Apple Pencil and Logitech keyboard and case provide Purdue’s aviation students with a competitive advantage by preparing them for the technologically advanced aviation industry where most major airlines use iPad in the cockpit. Students now have access to the latest technical documents, including operating manuals and navigational charts, can generate multimedia safety reports on the spot, and will leverage the latest virtual and augmented reality (AR) tools on iPad. Eventually, students will develop their own apps and customize their learning experience.

Aviation technology students each unbox their Electronic Purdue Bag's iPad and Apple Pencil

“Our EPB program represents a giant leap forward for Purdue’s aviation program and for collegiate aviation as a whole,” said Manoj Patankar, the Raisbeck Engineering Professor of Aviation Technology and head of SATT. “The EPB program is much more than a tool. It’s an upgrade of the entire learning process. We can push the latest instructional content to our students, who will take an active role in selecting, customizing and responding to the learning experience. From tracking their progress in a specific course to application of advanced analytics and graphic tools, our students will work and learn in the most engaging learning environment possible.”

Aviation technology students learning about the components of their new Electronic Purdue Bag (EPB)

The Polytechnic’s new EPBs will assist faculty as well. Instructors can now record the precise documentation required for classroom grading and professional certification. iPad’s advanced cameras connect instructors to students via video, enabling students in a lab or in flight to communicate with faculty located anywhere. Those same cameras, combined with iPad’s powerful A10 Fusion chip, big display and sophisticated sensors, also allow faculty to deliver immersive new AR learning experiences to Purdue aviation students. In addition, faculty can further advance their research in areas such as the Hangar of the Future lab, operational performance dashboards and holistic airline operations simulations.

Zach Miller, a sophomore in professional flight, uses his EPB“Faculty will no longer be tethered to an office,” continued Patankar. “It’s like ‘tele-medicine,’ but for aviation.”

Zach Miller is a sophomore in professional flight from Omaha, Neb. Because he also is a flight instructor at Purdue, Miller was an early adopter of the EPB, having received his set-up last November. He’s a big fan of the Apple Pencil.

“The drawing function is what sets it apart,” said Miller. “It’s perfect for visual learners. So many aspects of flying require having a visual cue for determining the position of the aircraft. As a flight instructor, I can give my students the Pencil and they can draw the various maneuvers and aircraft profiles for different phases of the flight, such as approach, landing, takeoff and cruise.”

This first student distribution of the new EPBs, which include the new 9.7-inch iPad (6th generation) Wi-Fi + Cellular models, Apple Pencil, and Logitech’s Rugged Combo 2 keyboard and case, will be completed on January 10. Purdue plans to upgrade each iPad every two years to ensure SATT students always have the latest technology and functionality right at their fingertips.

For more information about Purdue’s EPB distribution, visit polytechnic.purdue.edu/epb.

The Electronic Purdue Bag’s iPad screen displaying a VFR (Visual Flight Rules) Sectional Chart. The pink line indicates the direct course between airports. The app also allows users to overlay weather conditions and other data.

About Purdue Polytechnic Institute

The Purdue Polytechnic Institute is one of 10 academic colleges at Purdue University, offering undergraduate and graduate degrees in a range of disciplines: aviation, computing, construction management, engineering technology, technology leadership and technology education. In addition to Purdue University’s main campus in West Lafayette, Ind., Purdue Polytechnic offers select degree programs in nine Indiana communities.

About Purdue Polytechnic’s School of Aviation and Transportation Technology

Purdue University’s School of Aviation and Transportation Technology, one of six departments and schools in the Purdue Polytechnic Institute, administers seven world-class undergraduate majors and a graduate program, including an aviation-focused Ph.D. program in Technology. It is one of the most recognized programs for the quality of its graduates. Faculty members work closely with undergraduate and graduate students and all segments of the aviation industry to conduct research related to grand challenges in sustainability, safety and quality.


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