Electronic Flight Bags (EFBs)

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EFB News

App Developer Who Urges 'Sterile iPad' Approach to Present at Chicago Forum
August 19, 2013
Robert Creek was one of the first half-dozen business pilots approved to use Apple's iPad in the cockpit, and he was so convinced of the benefits that technology presents that he became an aviation app developer himself. His company, CockpitApps.com, is now marketing two pilot apps for Apple iOS devices. Creek, who will present a session titled "A Pilot's Guide to Using iPads in the Cockpit" at NBAA's Business Aviation Regional Forum at Chicago/Waukegan Airport in Illinois on Sept. 12, advocates the notion of a "sterile iPad" in the same sense that safety experts promote a "sterile cockpit," where there is nothing to distract the flightcrew from the tasks at hand. Listen to this week's NBAA Flight Plan podcast for more about the use of iPads in the cockpit.
Apple Issues New Compliance Data for iPad EFB
August 27, 2012
In an Aug. 24 posting to its iPad support knowledge base, Apple listed its international battery safety certifications, thereby meeting the requirements of Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Advisory Circular (AC) 120-76B. “Basically, the compliance statement means the iPad 100 percent meets FAA requirements spelled out in the new AC,” said Rick Ellerbrock, director of aviation strategy at Jeppesen. “That deals with UN transport safety requirements and also Underwriters Laboratories requirements. That’s a statement that any operator can reference with their principal operations inspector (POI) and put into their authorization package.” Read more about the new iPad compliance data.
FAA Updates EFB-Approval Procedures
August 27, 2012
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) recently issued an update to the EFB Advisory Circular (AC 120-76B), which includes guidance on electronic flight bag (EFB) systems aimed specifically at certificated operators and operators of large and turbine-powered multi-engine aircraft. The updated AC, which was years in development, was finalized after NBAA provided input regarding the draft circular. For example, the Association was concerned about language in the draft that seemed to indicate that FAR Part 91F operators would be required to obtain specific approval from the FAA. In the final version, that is not the case. However, the AC does mandate that certain requirements be met and records kept by Part 91F operators. Read more about the update to AC 120-76.
NBAA Highlights Changes in FAA’s Revised Guidance on EFB Use
July 24, 2012
NBAA's Operations Service Group has reviewed the changes that the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) made to the agency’s Advisory Circular on the use of electronic flight bags (EFBs) in flight operations, and has clarified the new provisions, which had confused many aircraft operators. “Do I need to seek FAA approval to use an iPad in the cockpit?” is the most common question NBAA receives from pilots and flight department managers evaluating the use of tablet devices. With the rapid advance of EFB technology, the FAA has been working to create guidance that keeps pace with how pilots are using the devices. Read more about the FAA’s guidance on EFB use.
Webinar Discusses International Flight with Digital Charts
July 23, 2012
A record number of participants – more than 300 Members – took part in a free NBAA webinar July 18, which discussed international flights using digital charts. The third in a series, Jeppesen sponsored and presented the hour-long session that focused on the Mobile FlightDeck, the company's iPad electronic flight bag (EFB) app, said moderator Jo Damato, NBAA director of educational development & strategy. Read more about the webinar.
FAA Publishes Revised EFB Advisory Circular
June 11, 2012
The FAA has released an updated version of Advisory Circular (AC) 120-76B on EFB use. The AC explains that Part 91 operators, even those operating under Part 91F (large and turbine-powered multi-engine aircraft) do not require specific authorization for EFB use. While formal authorization is not required, compliance with numerous items such as non-interference testing and backup procedures must be documented by the operator prior to EFB use. Learn More.
Senate Committee Questions FAA's Plan for E-Chart Fees
May 11, 2012
The Senate is stepping in to ensure stakeholders are able to provide input to a plan by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to impose user fees for electronic chart data. The new charges, originally expected to take effect April 5, 2012, are now likely on hold until the FAA seeks formal public comments and justifies its pricing to lawmakers.

An Electronic Flight Bag (EFB) is a device that allows flight crews to perform a variety of functions that were traditionally accomplished by using paper references. In its simplest form, an EFB can perform basic flight planning calculations and display a variety of digital documentation, including navigational charts, operations manuals, and aircraft checklists. The most advanced EFBs are fully certified as part of the aircraft avionics system and are integrated with aircraft systems such as the FMS. These advanced systems are also able to display an aircraft's position on navigational charts, depict real-time weather, and perform many complex flight planning tasks.

Using an Apple iPad or other Tablet Device in Part 91 Operations

With many pilots using iPads to display approach plates, airport diagrams and other digital documentation, the FAA released InFO 11011 to clarify when authorization is needed to use the device as a Class 1 EFB. For Part 91 operators, authorization is not required to utilize an iPad in this capacity. If an operator plans to install a mounting device or power source, requirements found in Advisory Circular 120-76A are still applicable.

When transitioning to a paperless cockpit, FAA approval is not required, however it is recommend that operators carry paper backup materials during the initial transition period. The pilot in command of the aircraft is ultimately responsible for ensuring that the proper aeronautical charts are available for the flight, so it is important to validate the reliability of the iPad during the transition.

Part 91 operators should also validate compliance with FAR 91.503 (flying equipment and operating information for large/turbine powered aircraft) and FAR 91.21 (portable electronic devices) when using an iPad.

The information in AC 120-76A mostly applies to certificated air carriers or fractional providers, but Part 91 operators should refer to the document for guidance on developing EFB training programs and making the transition to a paperless cockpit.

iPad Approval Process for FAA Certificated Operators

Part 135 air carriers, fractional providers and other FAA certificated operators must seek approval before using an iPad as a Class 1 EFB. The procedures on obtaining this approval are contained in FAA Order 8900.1 and AC 120-76A. OpSpec/MSpec paragraph A061 is used to authorize the iPad or any similar EFB device. At the end of a successful evaluation period, the operator will receive authorization to use the iPad in lieu of certain paper references.

During the approval process, the operator will need to develop training programs and operational procedures to utilize the EFB in compliance with FAA guidance.

iPad Resources

EFB Hardware and Software Classifications from AC 120-76A

The following classifications, created by the FAA, help operators determine what type of approval is necessary to use an EFB.

Hardware Class Description
Class 1 Hardware Portable hardware with no mounting device (docking station, swing-arm, cradle, or kneeboard) and has read-only connectivity to other aircraft systems.
Class 2 Hardware Attached to the aircraft by a mounting device (docking station, swing-arm, cradle, or kneeboard) and may connect to aircraft power and data ports.
Class 3 Hardware Permanently installed aircraft equipment that may share data with the FMS or EICAS.
Software Class Description
Type A Software The least complex software providing electronic documentation such as flight manuals but no navigational charts.
Type B Software Provides all Type A information and also can display approach charts, calculate weight and balance, and deliver weather information.
Type C Software Provides all Type A and B information and can display "own-ship" position on approach and airport charts.