EFB Advisory Circular Changes Outlined

 - August 13, 2012, 4:25 PM

NBAA’s Operations Service group published a document for members on July 24 designed to help flight crews and bizjet operators better understand the requirements to bring an EFB–such as the iPad–into the cockpit as a replacement for paper charts. iPads in the cockpit operate on apps such as Jeppesen’s Mobile FD.

As the FAA began revising the EFB guiding document, AC120-76, last year, NBAA’s involvement included emphasizing the need for clarity in detailing specifications while maintaining operational flexibility for operators. FAA Order 8900.1 is also important reading for any operator considering adopting cockpit EFBs.

If the EFB is not replacing anything installed in the aircraft, a pure Part 91 operator needs no FAA approval to use an iPad. However, the updated AC does demand new EFB testing and documentation for operators of aircraft weighing more than 12,500 pounds and those operating under Part 91K.

Thatch Vandenbergh, Jeppesen’s senior regulatory liaison, told AIN it is imperative that pilots be able to prove the database in use is current should they be approached by aviation officials for a ramp or SAFA check. “There are some places where the guidelines appear to be mutually contradictory when it comes to demonstrating compliance,” he said. One key element, according to Vandenbergh, is that “multiple EFBs must be on board to comply with the AC’s guidelines, except when flown in a single-pilot operation.”

While Part 91 operators are not required to follow the guidelines in AC120-76B, following those suggestions can certainly make demonstrating compliance much easier, Vandenbergh said. Particularly useful as well is FAA Letter 11011, which details the FAA’s take on EFBs, something Vandenbergh says can be quite helpful to Part 91 operators who find themselves under the spotlight of a ramp check, especially outside the U.S.