Improvement Plans (Part Three)

Electronic Flight Bag (EFB)

The electronic flight bag (EFB) is a system for pilots or crewmembers that provide a variety of electronic display, content manipulation, and calculation capabilities. Functions include, but are not limited to, aeronautical charts, documents, checklists, weight & balance, fuel calculations, moving maps, and logbooks.

 

EFB systems may manage information for use in the cockpit, cabin, and/or in support of ground operations and planning. The use of an EFB is unique to each aircraft operator and, depending on the type of operation, EFB use may require an authorization for use from the FAA issued as either an operations specification (OpSpec), maintenance specification (MSpec), or letter of authorization (LOA).

EFBs can be portable [Figure 5-18] or installed [Figure 5-19] in the aircraft. Portable EFBs may have a provision for securing in the cockpit for use during all phases of flight. The hardware device, whether it’s an installed avionics display or portable commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) device, commonly referred to as a portable electronic device (PED), is not considered to be an EFB unless the hardware device hosts and actively displays either Type A or B software application(s). A non-inclusive list of Type A and B software application examples can be found in appendix 1 and 2 of FAA Advisory Circular (AC) 120-76.

Figure 5-18. Portable flight bag.

Figure 5-18. Portable flight bag.

Figure 5-19. Installed flight bag.

Figure 5-19. Installed flight bag.

The purpose, technology, and functions for EFB use are rapidly evolving. New and advanced software applications and databases beyond traditional flight bag uses continue to be developed. The FAA has published and continues to update EFB policy and guidance to educate and assist aircraft operators interested in using or obtaining an EFB authorization as appropriate. The most current editions of the following FAA guidance and policy can be accessed from the FAA’s website (http://www.faa.gov) or FAA’s Flight Standards Information Management System (FSIMS http://fsims.faa.gov).

  • AC 120-76, Guidelines for the Certification, Airworthiness, and Operational Use of Electronic Flight Bags;
  • AC 91-78, Use of Class 1 or Class 2 Electronic Flight Bag (EFB);
  • AC 20-173, Installation of Electronic Flight Bag Components;
  • FAA Order 8900.1 Volume 4, Chapter 15, § 1, Electronic Flight Bag authorization for use; and
  • FAA Order 8900.1 Volume 3, Chapter 18, § 3, Part A Operations Specifications – General
 

Access to Special Use Airspace

Special use airspace consists of airspace of defined dimensions identified by an area on the surface of the earth wherein activities must be confined because of their nature, or wherein limitations are imposed upon aircraft operations that are not a part of those activities, or both. Special use airspace includes: restricted airspace, prohibited airspace, Military Operations Areas (MOA), warning areas, alert areas, temporary flight restriction (TFR), and controlled firing areas (CFAs). [Figures 5-27 through 5-32] Prohibited and restricted areas are regulatory special use airspace and are established in 14 CFR Part 73 through the rulemaking process. Warning areas, MOAs, alert areas, and CFAs are non-regulatory special use airspace. All special use airspace descriptions (except CFAs) are contained in FAA Order JO 7400.8, Special Use Airspace, and are charted on IFR or visual charts and include the hours of operation, altitudes, and the controlling agency. [Figure 5-33]

Figure 5-27. Restricted airspace.

Figure 5-27. Restricted airspace.

Figure 5-28. Prohibited airspace.

Figure 5-28. Prohibited airspace.

Figure 5-29. Military operations area (MOA).

Figure 5-29. Military operations area (MOA).

Figure 5-30. Warning area.

Figure 5-30. Warning area.

Figure 5-31. Alert area.

Figure 5-31. Alert area.

Figure 5-32. Temporary flight restriction (TFR).

Figure 5-32. Temporary flight restriction (TFR).

Figure 5-33. Special use airspace charted on an aeronautical chart.

Figure 5-33. Special use airspace charted on an aeronautical chart. [click image to enlarge]

The vertical limits of special use airspace are measured by designated altitude floors and ceilings expressed as flight levels or as feet above mean sea level (MSL). Unless otherwise specified, the word “to” (an altitude or flight level) means “to and including” (that altitude or flight level). The horizontal limits of special use airspace are measured by boundaries described by geographic coordinates or other appropriate references that clearly define their perimeter. The period of time during which a designation of special use airspace is in effect is stated in the designation.

 

Civilians Using Special Use Airspace

The FAA and the Department of Defense (DOD) work together to maximize the use of special use airspace by opening such areas to civilian traffic when they are not being used by the military. The military airspace management system (MAMS) keeps an extensive database of information on the historical use of special use airspace, as well as schedules describing when each area is expected to be active. MAMS transmits the data to the special use airspace management system (SAMS), an FAA program that provides current and scheduled status information on special use airspace to civilian users. The two systems work together to ensure that the FAA and system users have current information on a daily basis. This information is available 24 hours a day at the following link: http://sua.faa.gov. The website merges information for both special use airspace and TFR making it a single comprehensive source to review airspace closure information.

Figure 5-34. FAA website providing information for both special use airspace and temporary flight restrictions.

Figure 5-34. FAA website providing information for both special use airspace and temporary flight restrictions.

The website contains two tabbed pages, List and Map, that display the scheduling and Notice to Airmen (NOTAM) data for SUAs, military training routes (MTRs), and TFRs. [Figure 5-34] By default, the List tabbed page displays all airspace types, and the Map tabbed page displays all airspace types apart from MTRs and ATC Assigned Airspaces (ATCAAs). Both the List and Map tabbed pages can be filtered to display specific data for an airspace name, type, or group. Groups include SUA, MTR, or TFR. The Map tabbed page provides a graphical depiction of scheduled airspaces that may be customized using a fly-out menu of map display options. This tabbed page also contains look-up functionality that allows a user to locate one or more airports within the map. [Figures 5-35 through 5-38]

Figure 5-35. Center locations and information available to pilots through the FAA website.

Figure 5-35. Center locations and information available to pilots through the FAA website.

Figure 5-36. State information available to pilots through the FAA website.

Figure 5-36. State information available to pilots through the FAA website.

Figure 5-37. Map layer options and information available to pilots through the FAA website.

Figure 5-37. Map layer options and information available to pilots through the FAA website.

Figure 5-38. Airport information available to pilots through the FAA website.

Figure 5-38. Airport information available to pilots through the FAA website.

Additional navigation features are included which allows the user to pan in any direction by dragging the cursor within the map. A permalink feature is also available that enables a user to bookmark a customized set of map layers that can easily be added to their Internet browser favorites list. Once a specific set of customized map layers has been bookmarked, a user may open that customized map display using the favorites option within their browser menu. The List tabbed page allows a user to view all SUA and MTR scheduling data and NOTAM text for a TFR. This text may be viewed for each NOTAM ID by expanding the NOTAM text section within the List grid or clicking the NOTAM ID to open a TFR Details page. The TFR Details page displays NOTAM text in a form layout for easy reading and includes a mapped image and sectional navigation map if available for the TFR.