Improved Electronic Flag Bag (EFB)
Enhancing Safety Without Regulatory Requirement
Technology is advancing aviation safety and environmental performance in so many ways. This announcement by UTC and Hawaiian Airlines exhibits that symbiotic relationship. What is particularly encouraging about this innovation is that this new, significantly improved Electronic Flight Bag is being introduced with neither the push nor the pull of any FAR or proposed rule. Such action, independent of any regulatory requirement, seems to be indicative of the new cooperative, proactive relationship between the carriers and the FAA.
The pilots will be pleased to abandon, or lessen the load of, the 40+ pound flight bags and even excited that they no longer have to manually replace the paper pages of all of those materials.
Here’s what’s coming— the pilots of the carrier’s Airbus A330 (23), Boeing 717 (18) and Boeing 767 (8) aircraft will carry state-of-the-art Electronic Flight Bag systems. EFBs are not new to airlines, but these new UTC developed pads will deliver enhanced functionality, greater safety and stronger cybersecurity. This level of connectivity will be delivered by a custom-tailored network-security architecture. These EFBs are modular, tablet-based, and maximize aircraft in-flight data connectivity through satellite communications systems and Aircraft Communications Addressing and Reporting System.
The FAA evaluated transmission of communications data over SB-S on the first-ever commercial flights to utilize Inmarsat’s next generation, IP-based broadband service on the flight deck. This new system relies on the secure broadband capabilities of SB-S to enhance airline safety and operations through more powerful and flexible communications and the availability of real-time, in-air information for pilots, crew and air traffic management.
What are the specific benefits of this new technology?
- Smarter, safer and more secure = improved basis to evaluate aircraft performance, to address weather conditions
- Tablets can now function as full-scale EFBs = these tablets transmit real-time updates from the aircraft and airline network through the aircraft’s secure data connectivity
- A clearer, real-time picture of flight = air-speed and fuel optimization in real time, access to aircraft health and maintenance data, and on-aircraft software upgrade capability
- The new system has received FAA supplemental type certification
In the near future, other airlines will be implementing this real time additions to their safety systems.