Cessna Connects in the Clouds

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Cessna Aircraft Company, a Textron Inc. (NYSE: TXT) company, introduced a custom-designed interactive online portal today at the Sun ‘n Fun International Fly-In & Expo in Lakeland, Fla. Cessna ConnectTM is a customized, cloud-based program that provides a simple way for Cessna owners or operators to streamline their record keeping, track flights, log expenses and tax reports, and connect with other owners and enthusiasts.

The subscription-based service is currently designed to work with a desktop computer as well as an iPad or iPhone. Fully automated aircraft record-keeping will keep users connected to Cessna Authorized Service Facilities, allowing for automated service requests or reminders as well as electronic record-keeping. Pilots will also be able to keep maintenance facilities informed about their aircraft. “With Cessna Connect, a pilot may use an iPad to scribble a question or problem, and instantly their Authorized Service Facility and/or the Cessna factory will have them on our radar,” said Kirby Ortega, Cessna pilot chief.

The system is billed as a complete aircraft management experience, and it can function as a pilot’s logbook as well as track maintenance and other paperwork. “For the first time, a Cessna pilot or owner will be able to pick up an iPad and within seconds they will have complete access to maintenance records, flight records, and their group of aviation friends. This is an important development because it streamlines the record keeping and opens up the social aspect of flying, all with a single application,” said Lori Lucion, Project Manager for Cessna Connect.

One of the key features of Cessna Connect is the ability for pilots to use it even outside of network coverage. “I fly the plane and Cessna Connect keeps track of all the details. I can record a squawk in the air, or confirm my flight right from my iPad and my account will be instantly updated,” said Ortega. The system also features comprehensive aircraft status and pilot currency details, provides a direct connection to Cessna Product Support and Cessna Authorized Service Facilities while using iPhone and iPad apps for online and offline use. Pilots may also use the system for analysis of the Garmin-equipped MFD data logs, maintenance tracking, schedules and reminders, flight-path generation with Google Earth 3D, as well as a logbook function complete with hours and expiration warnings.

Cessna Connect also provides a customizable platform to the user to share their enthusiasm for flight with the aviation community. Pilots will be able to interact, see who has been where and show off their plane and their accomplishments. They might also share flights and photos through a live feed, and invite fellow owners into their Cessna circle of friends to exchange ideas and discuss flying. Applications are currently in development for use on other mobile PDAs or tablets.

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