FAA Issues InFO Bulletin On Tablet EFB Authorization


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FAA Issues InFO Bulletin On Tablet EFB Authorization


April 1, 2011 - FAA bulletin provides guidance for operators interested in gaining FAA authorization of tablet computing devices as an electronic flight bag (EFB). The process used to authorize the Jeppesen Mobile TC App for iPad as an alternative to paper aeronautical charts for a certificated operator has been noted by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in a recent Information for Operators (InFO) bulletin.   

The bulletin provides guidance for operators interested in gaining FAA authorization of tablet computing devices for electronic flight bag (EFB) use in flight.  

In the bulletin, the FAA instructs operators that are seeking EFB authorization for use of tablet computing devices such as iPad to coordinate with their principal operations inspector and to follow normal processes defined in the FAA Flight Standards Information Management System 8900.1 process. The Jeppesen Mobile TC App authorization is referenced in the bulletin as a model for achieving this type of authorization with an operator. 

?This FAA bulletin works to define the authorization process for tablet EFB solutions and cites the Jeppesen Mobile TC App for iPad as an established example,? said Tim Huegel, director, Jeppesen Portfolio Management, Aviation.

?The industry precedent set by this process may help others seeking to deploy EFB solutions on tablet computing devices such as iPad and we are able to provide guidance to help promote safe and efficient operations using iPad and the Jeppesen Mobile TC App.? 

The authorization process noted by the FAA allows the operator to use iPad and the Jeppesen Mobile TC App as the sole reference for electronic charts, even during taxi, takeoff and landing.  Since the original FAA authorization in February, numerous Jeppesen customers have either received authorization or are in the process of seeking authorization for Mobile TC on iPad, following the same process model. 

Jeppesen Mobile TC currently displays approach plate charts, terminal procedures and airport diagrams.  Further flight information capabilities and additional Apps are planned for introduction in the near future for the general, business, commercial and military aviation industries.


Below is the FAA on the Tablet EFB Authorization.  

Subject: The Apple iPad and Other Suitable Tablet Computing Devices as Electronic Flight Bags (EFB) 

Purpose: This InFO provides information about the use of the iPad and other suitable tablet computing devices as EFBs. In addition, it provides information about EFB use and the Flight Standards Information Management System (FSIMS) process that may be helpful to operators seeking authorization to use an EFB. 

Background: Recently, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) authorized a certificated operator to use an iPad as a Class 1 EFB. In this particular case, the operator is using the iPad with the Jeppesen Mobile TC App to display approach plates, terminal procedures, and airport diagrams. This operator worked closely with their certificate holding district office, Jeppesen, and Apple during the application and evaluation process. 

Applicable Guidance: 

- FAA Order 8900.1, Flight Standards Information Management System, volume 4, chapter 15, section 1, Electronic Flight Bag Operational Authorization Process, and volume 3, chapter 18, section 3, OPSPEC/MSPEC/LOA A061, USE OF ELECTRONIC FLIGHT BAG. 

- FAA Advisory Circular (AC) 120-76A, Guidelines for the Certification, Airworthiness, and Operational Approval of Electronic Flight Bag Computing Devices. Note: This AC is currently being revised to harmonize with the FSIMS sections cited above. 

- FAA AC 91-78, Use of Class 1 or Class 2 Electronic Flight Bag (EFB), has information for those conducting operations under Title 14 of the Code of Federal Regulations (14 CFR) part 91. 

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. For certificate 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 still applicable. 

Software: The 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. 

Note: 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. 

Operator Authorization: The authorization process the FAA uses for certificate holders and program managers is contained in FSIMS, volume 4, chapter 15, section 1. Although the iPad is a relatively new computing device, when using it as an EFB it is treated the same as any other COTS device, subject to the authorizations and limitations applicable to portable Class 1 or 2 EFBs.  

OpSpec/MSpec A061 is used to authorize EFB devices. Non-standard text can be added to document an evaluation period. At the end of a successful evaluation period, the operator is authorized to use the iPad as an EFB to replace certain required paper products. 

Operators that desire to use the iPad or any other suitable tablet computing device as a substitute for paper products, including aeronautical information such as approach plates, terminal procedures, and airport diagrams, must show compliance with the guidance in FSIMS and/or AC 120-76A. Each authorization process is considered unique, because of differences in each operator?s aircraft types, training programs, operational procedures, intended function of the EFB, etc. 

For part 91 operators other than 91K, the use of an EFB in lieu of paper is the decision of the aircraft operator and/or the pilot in command. AC 91-78 and AC 120-76A contain guidance on replacing paper products, including aeronautical charts, with an EFB.  

Operators transitioning to a paperless cockpit should undergo an evaluation period during which the operator should carry paper backups of the material on the EFB. During this period, the operator should validate that the EFB is as available and reliable as the paper-based system being replaced. Part 91, subpart F operators must ensure compliance with 14 CFR part 91 ? 91.503 at all times. All part 91 operators should also document compliance with ? 91.21, Portable electronic devices.

    Contact: Questions or comments regarding this InFO should be directed to Steve Morrison, Future Flight Technologies Branch, AFS-430, at (202) 385-4936.

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