With its new Mobile FliteDeck iPad app, you might think Jeppesen has only recently begun a strategy to move away from paper charts, but you would be wrong. During a recent visit to Jeppesen headquarters in Denver, I was once again reminded of a strategy put in place a decade ago by the company’s leadership to transition away from paper.
While the true paperless cockpit is just now arriving, the transition has been successful, if not complete. Not many years ago, Jeppesen printed some 8 billion (that’s with a “B”) pieces of paper–paper en route charts and terminal procedures. This year it will only be about 1 billion. An even bigger difference is that now, most of that printing is done as print-on-demand instead of offset printing on mammoth presses.
The digital print-on-demand process is much more efficient and cost-effective. Today, if you special order an approach book, for example, chances are it will come off the digital press today and be in the mail today. No longer must Jeppesen guess how many people will want that book and then print extras on the offset press.
Take a look at the video link at the top of this post for a quick look at how the print-on-demand presses work and stay tuned as Jeppesen continues to work with its customers to transition to an all-digital world.
A more indepth video look at Jeppesen’s charting operation is on AOPA Live.
The best replacement yet for paper charts is the iPad. A look at Jeppesen’s new FliteDeck Mobile app is also on AOPA Live.