Electronic flight bag -- a taboo phrase?

By Joseph Normandin

Posted by John McHale

During conversations I've had recently with several experts on avionics systems on our Avionics Europe Conference Advisory Board and with electronic flight bag (EFB) designers, I've learned that EFB is more and more becoming a bad word with airline procurement managers.
During conversations I've had recently with several experts on avionics systems on our Avionics Europe Conference Advisory Board and with electronic flight bags (EFBs) designers, I've learned that EFB is more and more becoming a bad word with airline procurement managers.

Apparently avionics engineers at airlines are having a hard time justifying purchase of EFB Class 1 and Class 2 products just to enable a paperless cockpit .

Bill Ruhl, marketing manager for Astronautics in Milwaukee, Wis., told me that this hurts the retrofit market. The FAA is allowing new functionality such as airport moving maps on Class 2 EFBs has helped in this area, but it is becoming more of a competitive and cultural problem than one of capability, he said. The larger airlines do not want their pilots to be able to take the EFBs -- loaded with sensitive company data -- off the airplane, Ruhl said.

This is also why EFB designers have been adding more capability top the products, Ruhl said. They have evolved beyond the original EFB concept. He noted that Astronautics likes to call their systems single processor or dual processor solutions as opposed to EFB, because they go beyond the original concept in terms of capability.

During our Advisory Board meeting last week the members echoed these comments and for next year we decided not to have a stand alone session just on EFBs, but rather one called "Cost Efficient Avionics -- EFBs and Beyond."

Yes, we left EFBS in there because quite frankly it was one of our best attended sessions last year in Amsterdam -- despite the fact that we placed it the end of the conference, when attendance can lag.

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The Mil & Aero Bloggers

John Keller is editor-in-chief of Military & Aerospace Electronics magazine, which provides extensive coverage and analysis of enabling electronic and optoelectronic technologies in military, space, and commercial aviation applications. A member of the Military & Aerospace Electronics staff since the magazine's founding in 1989, Mr. Keller took over as chief editor in 1995.

Ernesto Burden is the publisher of PennWell’s Aerospace & Defense Media Group, including Military & Aerospace Electronics, Avionics Intelligence and Avionics Europe.  He’s a father of four, a runner, and an avid digital media enthusiast with a deep background in the intersection of media publishing, digital technology, and social media. He can be reached at ernestob@pennwell.com and on Twitter @aero_ernesto.

Courtney E. Howard, as executive editor, enjoys writing about all things electronics and avionics in PennWell’s burgeoning Aerospace and Defense Group, which encompasses Military & Aerospace Electronics, Avionics Intelligence, the Avionics Europe conference, and much more. She’s also a self-proclaimed social-media maven, mil-aero nerd, and avid avionics geek. Connect with Courtney at Courtney@Pennwell.com, @coho on Twitter, and on LinkedIn.

Mil & Aero Magazine

February 2014
Volume 25, Issue 2
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