Electronic Flight Bag

Introduction

The term Electronic Flight Bag refers to an electronic device that allows a flight crew to perform various functions that were conventionally achieved using paper-based references. In other words, an EFB has the capability of performing basic flight planning computations, as well as display various digitized documents, such as aircraft checklists, operations manuals, minimum equipment list  and navigational charts. Some of the basic calculations that can be performed by these EFBs include fuel calculations and performance data as approved by the GCAA. EFB also covers any portable electronic device with a display intended for cabin use or flight deck. Besides displaying documents, they can also store an array of flight related documents. The purpose of this paper is to create an EFB certification project plan intended to facilitate the provision of electronic flight bags to both private and commercial operators in the UAE.

 

Significance of an EFB

In the UAE aviation industry, training and certification of operators is not only a necessity, but also the GCAA approach to ensuring that its aviation industry is up-to-date with global aviation industry trends and regulations. Typically, certification project plans are created after an analysis of an organizations environment. From a strategic perspective, certifications projects are elements of the resource-based view framework for creating competitive advantages. Expectedly, all certified personnel will be issued with EFBs; thus, improving operational efficiency which is a competitive advantage. In other words, investing in the EFB certification project will capture values of rare and valuable human resource that line within an organization. The underlying certification program will fortify skill and competence in the use of portable computerized devices to accomplish in-flight tasks.

As pointed above, most of the cabin and flight deck functions that needed documentation were paper-based. This implies that flight crew had to rely on physical documents to make references and carry out manual calculations. The whole paper-based process translated to more work, reduced efficiency, possibility of document loss and low motivation among the flight crew. In line with operational efficiency and improved safety, the introduction of EFB was postulated to address some of the operational bottlenecks when creating, processing, storing and retrieving paper-based documents related to in-flight tasks. Typically, most of the in-flight tasks were accomplished using physical documents on board or paper-based data provided by flight dispatch organization. The reason was to reduce paper-based processes and facilitate digitization of traditional paper-based functions or processes. As noted by the GCAA, one of the key propellers for adopting EFBs is to reduce and eventually reduce the use of paper as reference material in modern cockpits. GCAA and other operators have continued to acknowledge the benefits of adopting portable electronic computing devices. These devices include commercially available portable computers and handheld devices like iPads. In recognition of the fact that most of the operators work under a tight schedule, this project will have flexible schedule to ensure that there is continuity in operations. In other word, operators will attend the one-day training EFB certification course when they are off-duty. The certification will consider factors such as, training facilities, work schedules and ager among others. The training will be formal; hence, the process of generating certification project plan was handled cautiously to ensure that both GCAAs and organizational objectives are met. A quick needs assessment of compels both private and commercial operators to be EFB certified.

Certification Needs as Identified through a Certification Need Analysis

Typically, a certification need analysis is used to determine the training or certification needs that exist, as well as the corresponding certification designed to fill the skill gap. From the case presented and the aviation industry analysis, flight or cabin crew operating from the UAE needs the fundamental skills for using electronic flight bags as provided by the GCAAs CAAP 18. In the UAE, the Civil Aviation Authority Publication 18 Electronic Paper Bag provides information and the General Civil Aviation Authority policy pertaining to the acceptable compliance method the airworthiness, certification and approval of both installed and portable electronic flight bags. CAAP 18 is based on the information contained in the Federal Aviation Authority Advisory Circular AC 120-76-A, which is the universally accepted reference on electronic flight bags. The guidelines apply to both private and commercial operators in the UAE seeking EFB approval. Therefore, the provision of the EFBs targets commercial and private aircraft operators in the UAE. The CAAP 18 will serve as the baseline of the certification.

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Certification Resources and Time Breakdown

Training cost will be covered by the operators employee (airline). The certification fee will cover comprehensive course material (printed and electronic) and certificate of achievement. The training content will cover the functions of EFBs, classifications and regulations. As of this writing, advanced EFBs were certified as an integral part of the modern aircraft avionics systems. In addition, advanced EFBs have also been integrated with vital aircraft system such as the aircraft flight management system. In that regard, EFB aid flight pilots in the automation of an array of in-flight tasks; hence, reducing the workload of the crew to extent that modern civilian aircraft does not need to carry navigators and flight engineers. Advanced EFB systems have the capability to depict real-time weather, display an aircrafts position on digitized navigational charts, and perform numerous complex flight-planning tasks. Are Electronic flight bags may also include hosted applications and databases. That is to say, they may also be internet enabled to improve communication between the flight crew, ground operations and air traffic controllers. Consistent with the fact that these devices as used for various functions and display different types of data, they used a number of technologies, document formats and forms of communication. Given that EFBs are more of miniaturized computers, they may be refereed to Auxiliary Performance Computer. In preparation for the training, all operators and individuals seeking EFB approval should access the CAAP 18 documentation online from the official GCAA website. The project manager must also get an initial approval authorizing the training in line with the EFB curriculum. Furthermore, the project manager must ensure that that the EFB curriculum as well as training materials and equipment are approved by the GCAA.

Performance Metrics Certification Objectives Based on CAAP 18 Electronic Flight Bag Guidelines

Operator satisfaction of the fundamental of electronic flight bags

Reduced use of paper-based manuals

Learning Outcomes:

  • Functions and benefits of an EFB
  • Classification of EFBs (Functionality and Hardware Types)
  • EFB Approvals and Software update
  • Understanding of EFB controls, symbology, display and failure modes
  • Any controller/ pilot procedure for the use of EFB is a green or paper-less cockpit (Mounting device, Stowage area and Cabling)
  • Description of any flight operations, procedures and maneuvers that operators are authorize to undertake when using any EFB

Target Audience

The certification targets all air operators certificate holders and AOC applicants. In additional all private pilots are encouraged to go through the CAAP. CAAP provides guidance to individuals and operators seeking to apply for approval of the use of EFBs . Aircraft operators based in the UAE must obtain an EFB from the GCAA before adopting these devices. The main prerequisite is working experience in the professional aviation environment. Other people who can take this certification course include instructors, training managers, compliance/quality managers, EFB inspectors and EFB administrators.

Training Location and Date

This one-day training will be held either online or onsite depending on the operators needs and capabilities. One of the advantages of online presentation is that it reduces commuting expenses because it is accessible anywhere. In that regard, the participants time and money is saved. Additionally, participants enjoy professional and less distraction. The only challenge regards the internet connectivity. The training will be held on the date chosen by the operator or individual in order to ensure that there are no disruptions in their work shifts.

Training Breakdown and Agenda

Morning session:

  • Introduction to electronic flight bags
  • Functions and benefits of EFBs
  • Regulations

Afternoon Session:

  • Classification of EFBs
  • Evaluation and Closing

Table 1 presents a summary of typical one-day training program. It is customized to meet the needs of various participants.

Table 1 Training Plan

Time

Morning Session

Introduction to EBPs

Functions and benefits of EBPs

Procedure for using EBP

10AM-10:30AM

 

Regulation

12PM-1PM

Afternoon session 

Classification of EBPs

3PM-4PM

 

Bonus time with trainer for additional questions

Closure

The bonus hour is intended to give the participants an opportunity for participants to get clarifications regarding the subject. After this one-day training and resumption to normal duties, participants will be encouraged to continue learning about EBPs through after-training self-directed exercise included in the training manuals.

Conclusion

The main objective of this paper was to create a project plan to control relevant activities aimed at achieving the electronic flight bag certification as required by the UAE General Civil Aviation Authority. The certification targeted both private and commercial operators in the UAE. The underlying goal is to provide flight crew with EFB instead of paper-based manuals; thereby, increasing operational efficiency and safety. Besides the training manuals, additionally resource will be provided to improve the participants understanding of the EBFs.

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