News Item

iPads pose navigation question

The US FAA tells pilots not to use Apple’s iPad for navigation - it is only authorised as an electronic flight bag (EFB).

Since the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) sanctioned use of the tablet as an EFB, the rapid proliferation of the iPad into commercial, corporate and light aircraft cockpits has been huge.

An EFB is the electronic equivalent of the traditional large flight bag - holding the likes of worldwide en route and terminal charts, approach plates and airport taxi diagrams.

But if the iPad can determine 'own-ship' position by using GNSS signals, it can display this on any selected display - and the upshot is that pilots are using the iPad to navigate - whether or not the FAA approves.

The FAA is clear in its opposition to the display of 'own-ship' position on the iPad and other EFBs. Its opinion is expressed in a draft advisory circular: 'Own-ship position is not authorised for display or used for any application, for navigation or otherwise, on an...EFB in flight...'

The FAA is more willing to allow own-ship display on EFBs for ground operations - but refers those interested to a circular which outlines procedures for design and production approval.

A commercial instructor comments that his preference would be to see the FAA allow own-ship positioning as a reference - but not for primary navigation. He adds that he had flown a dozen aircraft types with the iPad and found it to be consistently stable, simple, easy to use and very, very safe.

Details from AINonline below.

  • 30 August 2011
  • CMAG

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