With more and more pilots bidding farewell to paper approach charts and turning to the convenience of handheld flight-deck computers, official word from the FAA stipulating exactly how such devices may be used in the cockpit has been eagerly anticipated by the industry for some time.
Aeronautical data specialist Jeppesen is investing heavily in a move from paper-based to electronic products that should enhance flight and ground operations while helping eliminate the need for paper manuals and charts.
EFBs are becoming not just accepted but entrenched in business aviation, with hundreds of professional pilots today powering up lightweight pen tablet computers rather than using cumbersome Jeppesen chart binders. Gulfstream recently certified a two-EFB installation for the GV that uses Northstar CT-1000 computers, while fractional provider Flight Options last year went entirely paperless in its fleet of about 90 pre-owned jets.
Tucson, Ariz.-based Universal Avionics announced receipt of a TSO certifying the company’s Universal Cockpit Display, a handheld tablet computer with an 8.4-in. touchscreen. At a list price of $33,500, the handheld device is more expensive than other electronic flight bags (EFB) on the market, but it has the advantage of interfacing directly with the airplane’s FMS.
About 30 TAG Aviation pilots have made the switch from paper to electrons, replacing the Jeppesen approach chart binders in their business jet cockpits with small, lightweight Fujitsu touch-screen computers.
Through its JetPlan flight planning service, Jeppesen for the last couple of years has been offering RAIM (receiver autonomous integrity monitoring) prediction reports to customers who use its JetPlan flight planning service. The Colorado firm is reminding pilots who use GPS Rnav for primary navigation about a new U.S. requirement for such reporting that went into effect on March 31.
It seems as though every few months Internet message boards erupt with complaints about Jeppesen’s JeppView electronic chart and navigation database service. Now-familiar stories about servers going down, NavData downloads locking up and hardware incompatibility issues clearly are making some users yearn for the good old days–when electronic nav database updates came in the mail on CD-ROM.
MedAire is introducing a series of computer-based training classes designed to give flight crews a way to stay current on their medical training, including staying qualified in CPR and automated external defibrillator (AED) use without attending formal classes. MedAire’s e-Learning courseware is part of Jeppesen’s new distance-learning system called FliteCrew DLS.
During last month’s NBAA Convention, Rockwell Collins announced certification of the company’s integrated flight information system (IFIS), an add-on to the baseline Pro Line 21 avionics platform that brings electronic charts, graphic weather and enhanced map overlays to cockpit multifunction displays.
Officials for Jeppesen report that the company has identified and corrected many of the irregularities in its NavData boundary data, but at press time about 350 of the more than 20,000 boundaries included in the latest update of the database, effective March 20, had not yet been fixed. The error arose from problems with a software upgrade when data was pulled from a database containing airspace boundaries worldwide for the March update.