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Electronic Flight Bag

Electronic Flight Bag – EFB

What is an Electronic Flight Bag (EFB)?

An Electronic Flight Bag (EFB) is a portable electronic device designed to provide the pilot with on demand access to electronic aircraft publications from his/her seated position in the cockpit.

The legal requirements for implementing an EFB program are issued by the aviation Authority and the most important documents are listed below :

  • Federal Aviation Administration Advisory Circular (FAA AC) 120-76B dated October 1st, 2008 – Guidelines for the Certification, Airworthiness and Operational Approval of Electronic Flight Bags. Rev B is still in DRAFT status.
  • FAA AC No: 91.21-1B – Use of Portable Electronic Devises onboard aircraft.
  • FAA AC No: 91-78 – Use of Class 1 or 2 EFB.
  • Joint Aviation Authorities Temporary Guidance Leaflets (TGL) 29 – Guidance concerning the use of PED units on board aircraft, and TGL 36 – Approval of EFB units.
  • EASA AMC 20-25, still in DRAFT STATUS.
  • Transport Canada Policy Letter No. 500-017.
  • TC Advisory Circular No. 0231.

For the purpose of certification the EFB devices (hardware) are legally divided in three classes

Class 1

From an operational use perspective, Class 1 EFB systems are:

  • Generally Commercial-Off-The-Shelf (COTS)-based computer systems used for aircraft operations.
  • Portable.
  • Not attached to a permanent aircraft mounting device.
  • Not required to go through an administrative control process for use in the aircraft (if using only Type A applications);

Class 2

From an operational use perspective, Class 2 EFB systems are:

  • Generally COTS-based computer systems used for aircraft operations.
  • Portable, or may have strap-down server component.
  • Connected to an aircraft mounting device during normal operations.
  • Required to go through an administrative control process to add, remove, or use in the aircraft.

Class 2 EFB system power, data connectivity, installed antennas, and mounting devices require AIR design approval via type certificate (TC), supplemental type certificate (STC), amended type certificate (TC) or technical standard order authorization (TSOA).

Class 3

From an operational use perspective, EFB systems are installed equipment that requires AIR design approval, except for user modifiable software that may be used to host Type A and B applications.

A basic Tablet PC or iPad is considered Class I EFB.

The software for the devices is divided in two types

Type “A” Software Applications

  • May be hosted on any of the hardware classes
  • Require regulatory authorization for use
  • Do not require an AIR design approval
  • Used only during non-critical phases of flight

 Type “B” Software Applications

  • May be hosted on any of the hardware classes
  • Require regulatory authorization for use
  • May require aircraft evaluation
  • Do not require an AIR design approval
  • May be used during all phases of flight, including terminal operations

The last item in the Type B definition classifies Jepp TC and Jepp FD as type B applications also if you choose to have Electronic Checklists which to use in all phases of flight then they shall be classified as type B applications. The reason which this is important is because if you have class I devices with type A software you do not have to go through an administrative control process in order to implement the EFB. (Although that EFB which doesn‘t replace the 20 kilos of jepp manuals is rather useles, not to mention the revisions for these manuals which can be big pain)

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