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Electronic Flight Bag - Better?  
User currently offlineRemcor From United States of America, joined Feb 2006, 358 posts, RR: 0
Posted (7 years 3 months 5 days 3 hours ago) and read 3190 times:

Seems like the trendy new thing these days is electronic flight bags. I see them talked about lots of times on aircraft / airline news websites.

My understanding is that an electronic flight back is an electronic version of all the maps, charts, airport information, etc. that a pilot would normally carry with him/her.

I'm wondering if it's really better to have this in electronic form. Personally, when I read technical documentation I prefer to have it in front of me on paper. You can't really make notes or dog-ear pages in electronic form.

I guess my question is for pilots, is having an electronic flight bag really better / faster / more convenient than having everything on paper?

27 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineCosmicCruiser From United States of America, joined Feb 2005, 2255 posts, RR: 15
Reply 1, posted (7 years 3 months 5 days 3 hours ago) and read 3183 times:

We are having it installed on our jets now and I've flown a few MD-11s with it installed and working. I can't find too many criticisms except for right now you must enter the route manually in order to have the route highlighted on the enroute charts. In the future it will be uploaded from the FMS. The LIDO product has great color added as well as topography. Your choice of adding or eliminating info on the enroute charts is handy too. One really nice feature is the ability to zoom in or out on a chart and on the airport taxi chart it's sooo much easier to zoom in to where you are so you see at a glance and the F/O can drag the chart along the taxi route as you go which will drag the capt.s as well when synced. In the future you will be able to print too. There is a day/night function to use if you choose.

User currently offlineStarlionblue From Greenland, joined Feb 2004, 17068 posts, RR: 66
Reply 2, posted (7 years 3 months 5 days 3 hours ago) and read 3172 times:

Nothing like the feeling of dead tree media, but I don't think we are going back. I have seen fantastic products and abysmal products in most IT fields. To make an electronic flight bag work, it needs to be more than just as good. It needs to be much better (and not just from a cost standpoint). So it should support hyperlinking, upload to FMS (as CosmicCruiser is waiting for) and so forth.

Quoting Remcor (Thread starter):
You can't really make notes or dog-ear pages in electronic form.

Good reference software does support bookmarking and notes.



Didn't the dead tree media flight bags involve a lot of work with paper management? Like putting new pages in the binders and ripping out old stuff?



"There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots."
User currently offlineCaptoveur From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 3, posted (7 years 3 months 5 days 2 hours ago) and read 3172 times:

Quoting Starlionblue (Reply 2):
Good reference software does support bookmarking and notes.

I don't know about you but after I get about 10 bookmarks in a web browser I start having to actually look to click on one. I can put 50 or more post its in a book and flip to the right place every time.

Plus some pilots are older and the flight bag panel is about an arms reach away. It may mean more taking on and off of the reading glasses to read detail.

Just a few of my totally outside thoughts on the matter.

I also wonder what happens in a power failure. Is the flight bag essential and thus powered? Paper doesn't take batteries.


User currently offlineRemcor From United States of America, joined Feb 2006, 358 posts, RR: 0
Reply 4, posted (7 years 3 months 5 days 2 hours ago) and read 3164 times:

Quoting Starlionblue (Reply 2):
Nothing like the feeling of dead tree media, but I don't think we are going back. I have seen fantastic products and abysmal products in most IT fields. To make an electronic flight bag work, it needs to be more than just as good. It needs to be much better (and not just from a cost standpoint). So it should support hyperlinking, upload to FMS (as CosmicCruiser is waiting for) and so forth.

I guess it all comes down to whether it's properly designed.

IDEA: Let Apple develop the user interface for an EFB, so it'll be uber user friendly! It can be called the iBag.


User currently offlineStarlionblue From Greenland, joined Feb 2004, 17068 posts, RR: 66
Reply 5, posted (7 years 3 months 5 days 1 hour ago) and read 3150 times:

Quoting Remcor (Reply 4):
IDEA: Let Apple develop the user interface for an EFB, so it'll be uber user friendly! It can be called the iBag.

 rotfl  That almost made me spray coke all over my monitor. In all seriousness though, it's not a bad idea.

Quoting Captoveur (Reply 3):

I don't know about you but after I get about 10 bookmarks in a web browser I start having to actually look to click on one. I can put 50 or more post its in a book and flip to the right place every time.

Well, web browser bookmarking tools are not really an ideal way of presenting such information. Something like the iPhone interface would work better. But I will agree that paper still has some big advantages.

Quoting Captoveur (Reply 3):
I also wonder what happens in a power failure. Is the flight bag essential and thus powered? Paper doesn't take batteries

A good modern 14 inch laptop with extended battery has a good 4-7 hour battery life depending on usage. And you can always change batteries. Some laptops support this "on the fly".

And btw if there is a power failure in the cockpit I imagine the flight bag is the last of your concerns.  Wink


While we are on batteries, have you checked out the Sony ebook reader? Instead of taking a PDA and converting it, they went with a clean slate. It is black and white (like a book) and the screen is specially developed for text. But the neat part is that it powers down when it's just sitting there. When you flip the page (by pointing at an "upturned" corner, it instantly powers up, loads the next page, then powers down again. The papers stays on screen through a patented persistent display technology that requires no power unless there is a change. http://www.sonystyle.com/webapp/wcs/...0151&langId=-1&partNumber=PRS500U2

Why is this relevant? Well, it indicates that in many cases it is better to design from a clean slate starting with the true requirements rather than adapting general purpose software and hardware. The iPhone is another good example. No new functions, just vastly better interface.



"There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots."
User currently offlineRemcor From United States of America, joined Feb 2006, 358 posts, RR: 0
Reply 6, posted (7 years 3 months 5 days 1 hour ago) and read 3145 times:

Quoting Starlionblue (Reply 5):
Quoting Remcor (Reply 4):
IDEA: Let Apple develop the user interface for an EFB, so it'll be uber user friendly! It can be called the iBag.

rotfl That almost made me spray coke all over my monitor. In all seriousness though, it's not a bad idea.

I can see the commercials now:

[low key guitar music]

Say you're watching a movie on your Flight Bag...

or

You can find a lot of surprising things on Youtube.
But perhaps the most surprising thing is finding Youtube, on your Flight Bag.


User currently offlineStarlionblue From Greenland, joined Feb 2004, 17068 posts, RR: 66
Reply 7, posted (7 years 3 months 4 days 23 hours ago) and read 3116 times:

Quoting Remcor (Reply 6):

I can see the commercials now:

[low key guitar music]

Say you're watching a movie on your Flight Bag...

or

You can find a lot of surprising things on Youtube.
But perhaps the most surprising thing is finding Youtube, on your Flight Bag.

"Hi, I'm an iBag."
"And I'm a big pile of binders"



"There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots."
User currently offline3201 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 8, posted (7 years 3 months 4 days 3 hours ago) and read 3034 times:

Quoting Starlionblue (Reply 2):
Didn't the dead tree media flight bags involve a lot of work with paper management? Like putting new pages in the binders and ripping out old stuff?

Similar logistical effort still exists -- updating all the EFB's with new data (and tracking what is on which airplane). It's not a brand-new problem, since FMS data needs to be updated also, but it's a lot more complicated than FMS data, which is pretty much all-or-nothing (or two components, basic navigational data and company routes).

Quoting Captoveur (Reply 3):
I also wonder what happens in a power failure. Is the flight bag essential and thus powered? Paper doesn't take batteries.

There are three different classes of EFB. I think the installed class-3 systems, which interact with avionics, are in fact on essential power. I would guess the others are not, but as Starlionblue said, they likely just run on independent battery power anyway (at least as a backup). You can also have a paper backup on the plane for emergencies. It's still a lot easier to manage than having every crew member have a full set of everything and do all the revisions, it's many fewer sets and updated less frequently.

Quoting Starlionblue (Reply 5):
And btw if there is a power failure in the cockpit I imagine the flight bag is the last of your concerns.

Not if you need your manuals to help you with procedures and troubleshooting in the case of cockpit power failure.  Smile


User currently offlineLimaNiner From United States of America, joined Oct 2006, 403 posts, RR: 0
Reply 9, posted (7 years 3 months 4 days 2 hours ago) and read 3026 times:

Quoting 3201 (Reply 8):
Similar logistical effort still exists -- updating all the EFB's with new data (and tracking what is on which airplane).

I take it these things are currently updated using "SneakerNet (TM)", i.e., you physically shlepp some media (CD-ROM, USB flash drive, EPROM chip (shudder), ...) to the cockpit, plug it into the EFB, and upload the latest data to the EFB? That would indeed be a pain to manage -- just like managing software on PCs in the pre-networked days (remember them?).

I'd imagine that sooner or later, this stuff will be updatable wirelessly...


User currently offline3201 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 10, posted (7 years 3 months 4 days ago) and read 3011 times:

Quoting LimaNiner (Reply 9):
I take it these things are currently updated using "SneakerNet (TM)", i.e., you physically shlepp some media (CD-ROM, USB flash drive, EPROM chip (shudder), ...) to the cockpit, plug it into the EFB, and upload the latest data to the EFB? That would indeed be a pain to manage -- just like managing software on PCs in the pre-networked days (remember them?).

I'd imagine that sooner or later, this stuff will be updatable wirelessly...

Some of it is wireless, for certain operators who have that technology at certain gates, etc. But you still need the administrative tracking of what's where. And some of it is indeed done using physical media.


User currently offlineCosmicCruiser From United States of America, joined Feb 2005, 2255 posts, RR: 15
Reply 11, posted (7 years 3 months 3 days 23 hours ago) and read 3003 times:

Quoting 3201 (Reply 8):
Not if you need your manuals to help you with procedures and troubleshooting in the case of cockpit power failure.

The QRH and MEL are still on board in paper as well. Other than that you can really do without all the other stuff.


User currently offlineStarlionblue From Greenland, joined Feb 2004, 17068 posts, RR: 66
Reply 12, posted (7 years 3 months 3 days 21 hours ago) and read 2991 times:

Quoting 3201 (Reply 8):
Quoting Starlionblue (Reply 5):
And btw if there is a power failure in the cockpit I imagine the flight bag is the last of your concerns.

Not if you need your manuals to help you with procedures and troubleshooting in the case of cockpit power failure. Smile

Very good point! Big grin

Quoting LimaNiner (Reply 9):
SneakerNet (TM)

Having once been a part of SneakerNet, I must say I am not a big fan.  Wink



"There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots."
User currently offlineHAWK21M From India, joined Jan 2001, 31684 posts, RR: 56
Reply 13, posted (7 years 3 months 3 days 17 hours ago) and read 2969 times:

Quoting Remcor (Thread starter):
My understanding is that an electronic flight back is an electronic version of all the maps, charts, airport information, etc. that a pilot would normally carry with him/her

Interesting data on EFB & its classes

Quoting Remcor (Thread starter):
Personally, when I read technical documentation I prefer to have it in front of me on paper.

Reading an IPC on hard copy is def preffered,But I guess we need to adapt to the times & technology.
regds
MEL



Think of the brighter side!
User currently offlineCosmicCruiser From United States of America, joined Feb 2005, 2255 posts, RR: 15
Reply 14, posted (7 years 3 months 3 days 16 hours ago) and read 2960 times:

Quoting HAWK21M (Reply 13):
Quoting Remcor (Thread starter):
My understanding is that an electronic flight back is an electronic version of all the maps, charts, airport information, etc. that a pilot would normally carry with him/her

Plus anything else the co. wishes to put on it. We will have the CFM, MEL and PAT on ours. It's all there. There will still be paper copies of the QRH and the MEL.

Quoting HAWK21M (Reply 13):
Reading an IPC on hard copy is def preffered,But I guess we need to adapt to the times & technology.

It only takes a few flights before you won't want to go back. In the beginning we had folks that bitched and moaned but now most guys go to the jet saying "does this one have an EFB?" It's easy to use, looks good and when the flights over you don't have any charts to put up.


User currently offline9VSIO From United Kingdom, joined Dec 2006, 724 posts, RR: 2
Reply 15, posted (7 years 3 months 3 days 9 hours ago) and read 2921 times:
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Quoting Starlionblue (Reply 5):
When you flip the page (by pointing at an "upturned" corner, it instantly powers up, loads the next page, then powers down again. The papers stays on screen through a patented persistent display technology that requires no power unless there is a change.

That explains a lot actually, I had always wondered why the screen looked so odd when it changed pages... I was thinking about getting one, any one know if it's worth the money?

Quoting Starlionblue (Reply 7):
"Hi, I'm an iBag."
"And I'm a big pile of binders"

hehe - that almost resulted in coke all over my screen :P



Me: (Lining up on final) I shall now select an aiming point. || Instructor: Well, I hope it's the runway...
User currently offlineStarlionblue From Greenland, joined Feb 2004, 17068 posts, RR: 66
Reply 16, posted (7 years 3 months 3 days 7 hours ago) and read 2917 times:

Quoting 9VSIO (Reply 15):
That explains a lot actually, I had always wondered why the screen looked so odd when it changed pages... I was thinking about getting one, any one know if it's worth the money?

Well, if you do read ebooks on the go I wouldn't consider any other technology.



"There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots."
User currently offlineRalgha From United States of America, joined Nov 1999, 1614 posts, RR: 6
Reply 17, posted (7 years 3 months 3 days 3 hours ago) and read 2886 times:

Quoting Starlionblue (Reply 5):
IDEA: Let Apple develop the user interface for an EFB, so it'll be uber user friendly! It can be called the iBag.

It will cost twice as much and have half the functionality as comparable products from other vendors. It sure will look nice though. Apple marketing will cause the fanboys to buy it for their cars even though it will serve no functional purpose for them.

On the plus side, it will blend.



09 F9 11 02 9D 74 E3 5B D8 41 56 C5 63 56 88 C0
User currently offlineStarlionblue From Greenland, joined Feb 2004, 17068 posts, RR: 66
Reply 18, posted (7 years 3 months 3 days 2 hours ago) and read 2872 times:

Quoting Ralgha (Reply 17):
It will cost twice as much and have half the functionality as comparable products from other vendors. It sure will look nice though. Apple marketing will cause the fanboys to buy it for their cars even though it will serve no functional purpose for them.

On the plus side, it will blend.

Hehe. It will have the functionality you actually need.  Wink



"There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots."
User currently offlineRalgha From United States of America, joined Nov 1999, 1614 posts, RR: 6
Reply 19, posted (7 years 3 months 3 days ago) and read 2854 times:

Quoting Starlionblue (Reply 18):
Hehe. It will have the functionality you actually need.

Well the iPhone is lacking quite a bit of functionality that comparable devices have, and even some that much lesser devices have.

Can't add custom ringtones.

Lacks a full keyboard, so that when you want to type punctuation you have to open a new window (elipses, for example, requires 9 taps instead of 3 with a keyboard).

Lacks the tactile response of things we call "buttons" so you can't dial a number without looking at it.

Can't record video.

Can't send MMS messages.

Can't replace the battery yourself. You must send the entire phone to Apple at the cost of $79 for the battery, $6.95 shipping, three business days of your time, and the total wipe of all data on the phone. If you want a loner phone for the three days, it costs another $29.

Lacks voice dialing.

Lacks voice recording.

Lacks instant messaging.

Can't copy and paste text.

Now some of these are more necessary than others, some can be "fixed" by hacking the phone. However, for $600 I shouldn't have to hack anything to get it up to the functionality of cheaper devices.



09 F9 11 02 9D 74 E3 5B D8 41 56 C5 63 56 88 C0
User currently offline9VSIO From United Kingdom, joined Dec 2006, 724 posts, RR: 2
Reply 20, posted (6 years 7 months 3 weeks 3 days 22 hours ago) and read 2497 times:
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Sorry to dig this up, but I have finally gotten a Sony Reader and was wondering about it's usage in flight. Since the device is supposedly off when the page isn't being turned, would I be able to use it during t/o or landing as a passenger as if I were reading the newspaper?

I've put some airport charts on it, but my main criticism is that they limit the amount of zoom avail on pdfs, thus making it impossible to read the charts without holding it close to the face, esp if the airport is complicated. Instrument charts seem fine though. I hope that they fix this in an update.



Me: (Lining up on final) I shall now select an aiming point. || Instructor: Well, I hope it's the runway...
User currently offlineN231YE From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 21, posted (6 years 7 months 3 weeks 3 days 11 hours ago) and read 2419 times:

It might be faster for reference, but I would not consider replacing paper (i.e., not taking any paper up with you) with it. For example, my university's fairly new Avidyne Entegra-equipped PA-28-201R has a digital Jepp chart database, can even fly the approaches, but the FAA makes it clear that a pilot must have paper charts as with him/her.

I may have an electronic E6B, but I still carry the "whizwheel" around with me just in case the batteries die.


User currently offlineCosmicCruiser From United States of America, joined Feb 2005, 2255 posts, RR: 15
Reply 22, posted (6 years 7 months 3 weeks 3 days 11 hours ago) and read 2412 times:

No one's saying you have no other sources if you use an EFB. We have the capability to print from the EFB if needed and there will always be a paper set on board. Having said that it's a great tool and I'll take it over paper anyday.

User currently offlineN231YE From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 23, posted (6 years 7 months 3 weeks 3 days 7 hours ago) and read 2372 times:



Quoting CosmicCruiser (Reply 22):
No one's saying you have no other sources if you use an EFB. We have the capability to print from the EFB if needed and there will always be a paper set on board. Having said that it's a great tool and I'll take it over paper anyday.

Sorry, I mistook the thread starter and assumed he wanted to ditch paper entirely for the electronic version. It is fine, as long as one has a paper set of approach plates/maps/etc. on him/her. One may never use the paper, but it would really suck in actual IFR to have your EFB to fail or have its batteries die, resulting in no approach plates/charts/etc.

But I will agree with you, I'd take an EFB over paper any day as well.


User currently offlineCosmicCruiser From United States of America, joined Feb 2005, 2255 posts, RR: 15
Reply 24, posted (6 years 7 months 3 weeks 3 days 6 hours ago) and read 2362 times:



Quoting N231YE (Reply 23):
have your EFB to fail or have its batteries die, resulting in no approach plates/charts/etc

It doesn't use batteries, it uses ship's power and even one can be deferred. And really let's say you did lose both you still can pull up any app. in the FMS.


25 Post contains images DavecFlyer : As somebody who works in a company that designs EFB solutions for airlines, I am very much in favour of them. It is not just electronic charts and man
26 Post contains images KELPkid : Wonder when electronic flight bag tech will become affordable for us weekend warrior GA drivers?
27 Post contains images KELPkid : Ever tried using a manual E6B in flight? Better have a co-pilot or a working autopilot...one of those things that sounds good on paper, but sucks in
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