If you are seeking to use iPads in your operation, you have choices. Choices that may save you tens of thousands of dollars and make your operation more productive and efficient.
In February of 2011, Cutter Aviation was issued an OpSpec A061, authorizing this leading operator to utilize the iPad as a Class 1 EFB with Type A and B software. Among the software approved was ForeFlight Mobile, which Cutter is authorized to use in all phases of flight. Cutter Aviation has demonstrated it is possible to 'do it yourself' when it comes to iPad EFB approval. Completing this process independently and saving thousands in the process is a source of pride for many of our operator customers.
We have learned, through discussions with many flight department operations managers, that there is confusion surrounding what it takes to authorization to utilize an EFB like the iPad, and with which specific applications authorization is possible. Frequently asked questions include:
- Has the FAA or does the FAA approve or endorse specific products? (Answer: no)
- Is there only one commercial option available to me in the market? (Answer: no)
- What options are available for my Part 91 operation and how do I go about getting authorization?
- What options are available for my Part 135 operation and how do I go about getting authorization?
- What options are available for my Part 121 operation and how do I go about getting authorization?
- The iPad is the first device in history that has enabled so many operators and flight operations to adopt and use EFBs. As a result, it seems like all operators are, for the first time, considering the iPad as an EFB and thus getting familiar with the FAA's guidelines for using EFBs in the cockpit. Navigating the press releases, news articles, and FAA rules and regulations can make one's head spin. Be not afraid, though: help is available and clarity will follow.
The FAA does not approve or endorse any particular product. Rather, they set forth guidelines that operators follow and use to seek approval with their local FSDOs and PIs. Every operation is different - different aircraft, different training requirements, etc. - and thus each operator has to seek approval independently. The FAA's guidance is holistic - the EFB hardware and software selected is just one part of the overall process of adopting and getting authorization to utilize and EFB.
Getting authorization is not a process to be frightened of. You can do it, as others have. There's paperwork and time and change involved, but at the end of the process, your operation will be more efficient and productive.
If you would like help getting through the approval process, there exists a select group of consultants that focus on iPad approval that can help you through the process. Just send us a note to firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll help point you to some folks that can help. We do not endorse any particular consultant and do not provide consulting services on the process ourselves, but we can point you towards people and resources that can assist and have a good reputation in the market.
Here are some helpful resources you can use to get familiar with the approval process and start down the path towards adopting the iPad and ForeFlight as an EFB.
Example EFB Statement of Compliance for Part 91 Operators (courtesy of Sporty's) (courtesy of Sporty's)