EFB Approval. Seriously?

Now that ‘Electronic Flight Bags’ are simple and accessible to all EASA have decided it is the right time to introduce regulations for approval of EFBs. With effect from July 2019 any commercial air transport operator using ‘Type B’ EFB applications must have a specific approval from their competent authority [SPA.EFB.100]. Most European Authorities have been issuing EFB approvals for years but hasn’t been a clear legal basis for these until now. EASA have produced 14,000 words of regulation and guidance. In summary, operators need to make a risk assessment and establish EFB procedures in a manual. Introduction of new type B applications will require an operational demonstration to show that the application is as good as using paper documents.

When I started flying, we got manual updates posted to our home address and had to go through each page removing and replacing according to a set of update instructions. When we went to collect an aircraft from maintenance, we had to take the ‘aircraft library’ with us. This consisted of two large canvas bags weighing 50 kilos. For aircraft in-service the manuals were updated by a team of guys who drove around in vans to every operating base and changed the documents overnight. If we needed a performance calculation, we’d ‘phone the performance department and they’d try and find the fleet performance expert. One day I opened the DV window at the holding point and all the charts blew away. It would be an interesting exercise to make a risk assessment of using paper documents instead of an EFB!

More (sensible) information about EFB approval is available on our website.