- Michelle Bassanesi
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By Michelle Bassanesi
An emerging technology in the aviation industry and the human factors implications of introducing this technology into the general aviation world.
The Apple iPad as an Electronic Flight Bag
For the past year I have been evaluating, for my own personal use, the suitability of the Apple iPad as a tablet computing device to be used as an Electronic Flight Bag (EFB).
This paper is a perfect excuse to put all my thoughts together in one place. I know that the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and Joint Aviation Authorities (JAA) have published guidelines as suggested best practices to adopt a paperless cockpit and many of them contain Human Factor considerations. One of my major reasons for using an EFB would be weight and the need for less paper reference materials in the cockpit. I have watched the iPad make its way to the airline and business aircraft flight decks. I have interviewed pilots and will share their thoughts in relation to the paperless flight deck. I have also included a personal account of using the iPad whilst flying and as an observer watching other pilots use the iPad.
It was on this particular trip I noticed how this could be a huge safety issue: this reminded me of similar issues relative to the glass cockpit of Technologically Advanced Aircraft (TAA), and the emerging need of appropriate scenario based training syllabi. Something similar could be adapted for the use of the iPad as an EFB, or more simply, be integrated in the FAA Industry Training Standards (FITS) curricula, under the voice ‘Aircraft & Equipment Specific Training Curricula.’ Seeing that knowledge sharing within the industry is one of the cornerstones of the FITS program, FITS would make the perfect platform for ‘iPad as an EFB’ users.
What is an EFB?
The FAA defines it as: an electronic display system intended primarily for cockpit use and a device that can display a variety of aviation data or perform basic calculations, such as performance data, and fuel calculations; and an electronic information management device that helps flight crews perform management tasks more easily and efficiently, in a less-paper environment.
As EFB are designed to replace the heavy and cumbersome traditional pilot flight bag, these systems are relatively small and light (only e few pounds at most). They typically consist of a screen and a control unit that may be installed, mounted or contained in one sole portable unit. EFBs can electronically store and retrieve documents required for flight operations, such as the General Operations Manual, Minimum Equipment List, Airplane Flight Manual, and other controlled documents/data (FAA, 2003).
Further reading of the full paper in the attachment.
Embry Riddle Aeronautical University
SFTY 320 Human Factors in Aviation Safety
Dr. Gary Tindall
Images courtesy of ForFlight.