Airlines Launch First-Ever Charting Solution for Electronic Flight Bags
By Mike Mitchell
June 20, 2011 - The Allied Pilots Association (APA), a
certified collective bargaining agent for the 11,000
pilots of American Airlines announced that the carrier
has begun final testing of Apple iPad tablet computers
equipped with electronic-charting functionality.
“Last year American Airlines became the first carrier
authorized by the Federal Aviation Administration to use
iPads as electronic flight bags for pilots,” said First
Officer Hank Putek, a member of the APA Safety Committee
who has led the union’s efforts to develop and deploy
EFBs. “American Airlines has now become the first to
deploy iPads with an electronic-charting solution.”
Electronic charting provides pilots with a digital image
of their flight route. The final testing phase is a
prelude to FAA approval of the devices to serve as Class
1 Electronic Flight Bags (EFBs) during all phases of
“By eliminating bulky flight bags filled with paper, EFBs mean less weight for pilots to carry, reducing the possibility of injury on duty,” Putek said. “In addition, they enable pilots to immediately download updates, rather than waiting for paper versions of required documents to be printed and distributed.”
lower paper printing and distribution expenses, reduced fuel
consumption represents another EFB benefit. The devices weigh
approximately 1.5 pounds and replace paper flight manuals easily
weighing 35 pounds or more that pilots are required to carry
while operating a commercial flight.
American Airlines and Jeppesen collaborated on the development
of the electronic-charting solution for the iPad. The final
testing phase involves Boeing 777 pilots from the airline’s Los
Angeles crew base.
recent announcement that Alaska Airlines will soon be issuing
iPads to all of that carrier’s pilots to serve as EFBs, it’s
clear that American Airlines stands at the forefront of a
significant industry trend,” Putek said. “I’m extremely pleased
that APA was able to play a role in bringing this effort to
Hardware: The iPad is commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) electronic hardware that is not approved or certified by the FAA. However, it can be authorized for use by a principal operations inspector if it meets the EFB criteria discussed in FSIMS, volume 4, chapter 15, section 1 and AC 120-76A.
holders and 14 CFR part 91 subpart K (91K) program managers, operation
specification or management specification (OpSpec/MSpec) paragraph A061
must be issued to authorize the use of EFBs. For part 91 operators other
than 91K, FAA authorization for use is not required. However,
installation and airworthiness requirements specified in AC 120-76A are
Jeppesen Mobile TC App displays approach plates, terminal procedures,
and airport diagrams and is defined as a Type B software application per
AC 120-76A. The display of en route chart aeronautical information was
not part of this particular evaluation or authorization. To be used in
critical phases of flight, an EFB displaying Type B software must be
secured and viewable. A kneeboard is one way to accomplish this.
Class 1 EFBs with Type B software must not display the aircraft’s position, also referred to as “own-ship position,” in accordance with current policy (see AC 120-76A, paragraph 7c, and Appendix B). The Jeppesen Mobile TC App inhibits own-ship position.
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