For the A380 and the A350, operations have been entirely based on the EFB since the first day of operations, providing the necessary information to the flight crew. The A350 and A380 have a laptop receiver, with a dedicated screen and interfaces to use the laptop.
Over the past years, Airbus has continuously enhanced the operational documentation (Flight Crew Operating Manual (FCOM), QRH, MMEL, …) for the A320/A330/A340 Family aircraft and has adapted the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) to EFB-based operations.
As a result, most operators have now successfully introduced the EFB on board the A320/A330/A340 Family fleet, with all the following advantages:
As an intermediate step, at the end of 2020, Airbus removed all paper-based information, performance tables, graphs, and associated information from the Flight Crew Operating Manual (FCOM).
As a final step at the end of 2021, to fully establish EFB-based operations as standard on A320/A330/A340 Family aircraft, Airbus will review the QRH and MMEL to remove information associated with paper-based operations. In this way all the performance tables, as well as associated procedures for both normal and abnormal situations, will be removed.
End 2020: Performance paper-based information removed from FCOM
End 2021: Performance paper-based information removed from QRH and MMEL.
The concept of Electronic Flight Bag is now part of the aircraft operation. EFB contains four main categories of information, each stored in separate applications: performance data, charts, mission information and documentation.
Airbus and its subsidiary Navblue are working on continuously enhancing the product in order to allow easier and smoother operation beyond management of documentation and computation of aircraft performance. Already today, thanks to wifi and 3G/4G, the EFB on-ground connectivity enables securely upload onto the EFB, the mission data such as computerised flight plan and weather . Where available, wi-fi connectivity allows the EFB to be used in flight for real time updates. And future connectivity between the EFB and avionics bay is being developed under a project called ‘Connected FMS’ (Flight Management System). Of course, as for all software development managed by Airbus, and moreover when connectivity with avionics is involved, security concerns are addressed at each stage of the development. The dedicated Airbus department, Aircraft Security, develops solutions to provide all the necessary levels of security.
The next project phase anticipates that as more information is digitised, the offering of apps will increase. To enhance the EFB, ‘Mission+’ will be available within a year, fully integrating all the apps, providing an automated assistant for pilots in the dynamic environment of the cockpit to provide a seamless experience and save valuable time.
Finally at a future stage, Airbus considers transitioning from the EFB as we know it today to an electronic flight assistant for missions that will be fully connected with ground and FMS with the final objective of assisting pilots in their daily work, while enhancing efficiency and safety.