June 19, 2020

Electronic plotting charts are growing in popularity for transoceanic operators, but do they clear all regulatory and usability hurdles?

During the June 18 NBAA GO International Operators Conference 2020 (IOC2020) live session, “Flight Planning Best Practices,” experienced flight planners discussed the emergence of products that simplify cross-checking navigational performance and course compliance.

“The industry is in a state of transition, and that’s a good thing,” said Steve Thorpe, director of training and standards at Merck, which is currently transitioning to electronic plotting. “This is something that will be everywhere within the next few years.”

Thorpe said that an expanding range of quality products is fueling interest in electronic plotting demand. Two other participants – Nat Iyengar, captain with Jet Aviation Hong Kong, and Paul Scurio, chief pilot at Netflix – said while their companies still use paper plotting, they are currently beta testing a wide variety of platforms to determine the best fit for their needs.

“They’re constantly improving the product,” Scurio noted. “We haven’t adopted one yet but it’s in the near future.”

Guy Gribble, president and general manager of International Flight Resources, LLC.  explained that these products meet regulatory compliance through AC 91-70B, Appendix D, which outlines three approved plotting methods: paper chart, navigation display for aircraft equipped with an FMS, or “other approved methods.” Regarding the latter, Gribble cautioned that everything must be approved through the proper channels.

“The big point is that you can dream up anything but you have to put together the normals, abnormals and contingencies – typically the contingency is the paper plotting – then give it to your POI for approval and put it in your ops manual,” Gribble said.

Iyengar advised that, above all else, operators prioritize having accurate records ready to present to any regulatory authorities.

“The important thing is that at the end of your flight, you have the necessary information in order,” Iyengar said.

The next live IOC session, “International Regulatory Updates,” will be held on July 9 at 11 a.m (EDT).

Learn more about the Virtual 2020 International Operators Conference and register today.