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Case Study: How Daher Uses PSPDFKit to Provide a Seamless User Experience for Its Pilot Owner/Operators

Obren Jankovic
Illustration: Case Study: How Daher Uses PSPDFKit to Provide a Seamless User Experience for Its Pilot Owner/Operators

Daher is an aircraft manufacturer, manufacturing, industrial services, and logistics provider.

Daher’s Aircraft Division produces two airplane types — the TBM, and the Kodiak — both of which are single-turboprop aircrafts. Nearly 1,500 of these aircraft are currently in service, and the primary customers are owner/pilots and operators.

Since 2013, Daher has used PSPDFKit for iOS to help its users accomplish the following:

  • Access operating manuals, operational literature, cockpit posters, an illustrated parts catalog, maintenance manuals, etc.

  • Synchronize a complete library for offline usage (typically in the aircraft cockpit).

  • Add notes, bookmarks, and other annotations for quick reference.

  • Search through documents.

“Our use case comes down to providing an excellent customer experience,” said Raphael Maitre, the Vice President of Customer Support at Daher’s Aircraft Division. “Daher is a premium brand for passionate customers. We are committed to providing a personalized customer experience in every aspect of aircraft ownership. And this includes the ability to view PDF documents with ease.”

The Challenge

Daher’s customers aren’t commercial aircraft operators, but rather individual pilots or small operators who need to directly learn how to operate and maintain their airplanes. Airplane owners tend to be very demanding and curious and have high customer service expectations. They value their time and want to be capable of accessing information quickly and efficiently.

“Our customers deserve — and expect — a top-of-the-line aircraft from Daher. They expect flawless service, which is the competitive edge in the aircraft industry. Providing easy and convenient access to information — especially safety-related content that is always up to date — is part of Daher’s customer user experience,” said Jeffrey Lenorovitz, the Vice President of Communications at Daher.

The application that would adequately serve Daher’s customers needed to display PDFs and various documents, including the Pilot’s Operating Handbook, the maintenance manual, illustrations, and the line maintenance manual.

iPad Enters the Cockpit

In the past, Daher provided customers with PDF manuals and important documents that were hosted on a dedicated web portal. However, while accessing documents via the portal on a desktop was acceptable, doing this on mobile devices was generally a poor user experience.

That said, iPad had taken over as the technology of choice in the cockpit, which meant more and more of Daher’s customers were using it and expecting the technology to keep up.

Users were given the choice of viewing documents in the browser or via a third-party application. While the latter scenario might have included applications capable of handling PDFs, it took users out of the portal and into another application, which was complicated.

Viewing PDFs on mobile devices just didn’t hit the mark. Users complained that the mobile interface was clumsy and complex — and ultimately unacceptable.

The Solution

Daher wanted to create an easy PDF viewing experience, but it wasn’t intended to be a commercial product. So, before selecting PSPDFKit, Daher considered budget alternatives.

However, there were only a couple options: “Pay more and go great” with PSPDFKit, or “go economy class” with fewer capabilities and the risk of negative customer user experience (UX). Daher tested several solutions that fit in the latter category, and all of them had poor user interfaces (UIs).

“I was convinced that it was better to pay more for something robust that we could rely on, instead of a low-cost solution that might collapse tomorrow,” Maitre confirmed.

It was during this research stage that Maitre tested the PSPDFKit for iOS demo app to evaluate the PSPDFKit SDK, and what he found delighted him. Its ease of use exemplified the value of high-fidelity rendering and a fully customizable UI.

“It was amazing that I could test drive the product using the remote PSPDFKit SDK app,” Maitre added. “That was very important, because I won’t buy something I haven’t tried.”

At that point, the choice was simple: PSPDFKit. To adequately satisfy the needs of its customers, Daher decided to use PSPDFKit for iOS to build a native app that could provide direct access to documentation on customer devices, without the need for a third-party viewer. Thanks to PSPDFKit, Daher’s PDF documents are accessible with a few clicks. Customers also can add notes, create bookmarks, and create annotations to help them better tailor Daher’s documentation to their needs.

“With Daher’s app, pilots have access to a high-quality reference library where they can easily download a document from cloud-based storage before a flight,” Maitre said.

The Results

“With PSPDFKit, customers have an easy, natural, and simple experience. All they do is access the app. We handle all the rest, such as the library management,” Maitre explained.

One of Daher’s most important benefits with PSPDFKit is its cloud access for downloading and syncing. It provides both document updates and notifications on when to download the latest version.

Daher’s PDF Viewer App

Daher app

Daher’s PDF Viewer App Dashboard

Daher app dashboard

Daher’s PDF Viewer App Bookmarks/Table of Contents

Daher app bookmarks

Daher’s PDF Viewer App Annotation Options

Daher app annotations example 1

Daher app annotations example 2

Daher app annotations example 3

“The TBM aircraft is a very sophisticated machine that goes very fast — almost as fast as a jet,” said Lenorovitz. “At such speeds, things can change very quickly. Therefore, pilots must have up-to-date documentation for the TBM’s advanced avionics and systems. And pilots need access to documentation with the latest and most accurate information. It’s vital, and it contributes to the highest levels of flight safety.”

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