Are EFBs Legal for Use? Are they safe?

We receive a lot of email inquiries asking about the legality of using an iPad in aviation and as an EFB in cockpit to replace paper plates and charts. We typically point to the relevant advisory circulars and publications by experts to help customers determine for themselves if the type of flying they do allows legal use of the iPad as a replacement for paper charts and terminal procedures (we’re not lawyers). This month, we get some additional guidance from an FAA editor in answering the question.

Susan Parson – a flight instructor, pilot, and Editor of FAA Aviation News magazine  – penned an article in this month’s FAA News Magazine titled “Flying Paperless Airplanes“.  It provides more guidance for Part 91 pilots:

Other part 91 operations—including those of us who fly light general aviation aircraft for business or pleasure—do not require any specific authorization for EFB operations, as long as the EFB does not replace any system or equipment required by the regulations. Yet, even if the EFB conditions and restrictions outlined in the AC don’t apply to the kind of flying you currently do, it is still useful to know how the FAA defines and classifies these devices.

So, can or should you fly with an iPad (running, ForeFlight of course) as an EFB? The bottom line:

The bottom line: EFB technology is available here and now, and proper use of any class of EFB system can improve efficiency and safety while eliminating considerable weight in paper. Sounds like I need to shop for my next gadget.

We think this article is a good thing for iPad aviation and helps ForeFlight customers make some more sense of the regulations. Download the article here: Flying Paperless Airplanes’.