Electronic Flight Bag (EFB)

The Electronic Flight Bag (EFB) is an electronic storage and display system designed to replace traditional paper products in the cockpit.  EFB devices can also store and display a variety of aviation data or perform calculations such as performance and weight and balance. 

The use of an EFB introduces a wide variety of hazards and risks which if identified and carefully mitigated can significantly improve the operation.

Contrary to common perception, the application process for use of integrated Class 3 EFB's on M-Registered aircraft is considerably simpler than most applicants initially thought, requiring significantly less evaluation than Class 1 EFB's. The IOMAR fully encourage the use of flight crews taking advantage of the full functionality of Class 3 EFB's wherever possible.

An EFB is defined as:

“An electronic information system, comprised of equipment and applications for flight crew, which allows for storing, updating, displaying and processing of EFB functions to support flight operations or duties”.

When does a Portable Electronic Device (PED) become an EFB?

A PED becomes an EFB when:

  • it is used to display operational information during the flight;
  • it is used to calculate operational information relating to the flight, i.e. performance and/or weight & balance;

or

  • it is used as a back-up for a Class 2 or 3 EFB

For detail about the software types considered to be EFB function, see Registry Publication 4 section 5.3.5.3.

The Isle of Man Aircraft Registry is required to “establish criteria for the operational use of EFB functions to be used for the safe operation of aeroplanes/helicopters” and ensure that:

  • The EFB equipment and its associated installation hardware, including interaction with aeroplane/helicopter systems (if applicable) meet the appropriate airworthiness certification requirements.
  • The operator/owner has assessed the risks associated with the operations supported by the EFB functions.
  • The operator/owner has established requirements for redundancy of the information contained in and displayed by the EFB functions.
  • The operator/owner has established and documented procedures for the management of the EFB functions including any databases it may use.
  • The operator/owner has established and documented the procedures for the use of, and training requirements for, the EFB functions.

Before applying for EFB approval, see RP4 section 5.3 for all the information you may need.

Subsequently an application for the approval of an EFB system should be submitted for each registered aircraft by the Operator/Flight Operations Representative (FOR) on Form 91 “Application for Approval of an EFB System” which includes the minimum Operational Risk Assessment (ORA) requirement acceptable to the Registry.

The ORA should be completed after the EFB system has been assessed by the EFB Administrator against the standards and guidance in this document.

As part of the ORA, the operator must consider the risks associated with a lithium battery fire and the effects of a rapid decompression.

The following information is available to assist the EFB Administrator/Operator.

Lithium battery fire and THERMAL RUNAWAY

Lithium batteries are incredibly popular these days. You can find them in iPads, laptops, mobile phones, AEDs, portable power packs etc. Faulty, poorly manufactured and misused lithium batteries can experience something called ‘thermal runaway’.  This results in them getting so hot that they can catch fire, explode and ignite other adjacent battery cells.  Such an occurrence on the flight deck could significantly disrupt the operation of the aircraft and cause serious injury to flight crew. Similarly, if such a thermal runaway occurred in the passenger cabin it could cause serious injury to a passenger or crew member.

There are videos and additional information available online which will provide support and guidance concerning the potential threat of the lithium batteries within an EFB (or PED) overheating, and the action required to manage a thermal runaway.

Some examples can be found below:

FAA video - Laptop battery fires 

FAA SAFO - Fighting Fires Caused By Lithium Type Batteries in PED

UK CAA video - Lithium batteries:guidance for crew

Transport Canada - Procedures for Fighting Fires Caused by Lithium Type Batteries in PEDs

RAPID DECOMPRESSION TESTS

Jeppesen have conducted rapid decompression tests on Apple iPad products which can be found on their website.