Electronic flight bag

Who all in the coop uses an electronic flight bag? I have flown Part 91 for the last 5 years so it hasn’t really come up much for me along official FAA routes, although we pretty much use the equivalent of an electronic flight bag anyway. It’s a really handy tool as long as everything works. Even after years of using it, I still seem to not be able to shake the feeling of longing for at least one paper map as backup.

I don’t care if it is the most current one. Any map will do, just to have one. It’s something about the over-reliance on automation to help me thought the day that just doesn’t sit well with me a hundred percent. Also, it seems that we always end up with multiple iPads and phones, and apps and e-maps ‘just in case’ one of them fails. And fail they do rattling around in 30+ year old helicopters and flying in the heat (or worse, leaving the iPad in the aircraft on a hot sunny day). I might be dating myself but a good GPS and a map as backup always seemed to work for me.

Which, by the way, leads to another question: How many of you have ever had a map sail out the window in flight?

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11 comments on “Electronic flight bag
  1. Bernd says:

    In practice I use my Android tablet for almost everything (SkyDemon, plus the PC version for planning), but I always have current paper backups, and also a small, old (but kept almost up-to-date) aviation-specific GPS (Garmin 196). Then again, I only fly VFR and could probably always get FIS to give me vectors if I really got lost.

    never had anything fly out the window because I have a sliding canopy and have never had it open more than 5 cm with the engine running on the ground, and never at all in flight.

  2. Fbs says:

    In case of Heavy turbulences (or a bad PIC – and as FI, I sometime fly with some… ) , should you be missing paper bags, the map can be folded and used to receive the lunch that is hurrying out of the stomach. If you only have an IPad, you’re in deep shit….(almost literrally)

  3. KenH says:

    You keep,
    Replacing the imbecilic moron behind the stick, would be waaaaaaay cheaper
    And simpler

  4. Lloyd Massey says:

    We used electronic at Kalitta Air in the 747-400, we use it at United Air in everything, and I use it in the Pilatus PC-12. The key is having a good secure place to put the iPad. I am not the techie guy, but they have everything there…De-ice times, airplane manuals, company manuals. But the it comes to emergencies, I still like the old paper checklist.

  5. Fred Wedemeier says:

    To me, using a tablet as a map is like trying to fly the airplane looking through a windscreen the size of a piece of paper. Zoom out and lose detail. Zoom in and lose the context of where you are. When it gets bumpy I can still read a map and fold it over when necessary. With a tablet in bumpy weather, my head is down – not flying the airplane – and I’m trying to stabilize finger position vs. the tablet to poke the right place. If the poke becomes a swipe because of a bump, then the display is likely to be off in the weeds somewhere. Absolutely no doubt an EFB has great safety and information management benefits, but not as a map…

  6. ThisGuy says:

    But, replacing iPads when they fall out the window is much more expensive than replacing paper maps…

  7. Johsua says:

    For all practical flying I use an ipad. I also pull all the jepp approach plates for my flight if I’m IFR but that is just because I prefer jepp over NACO. I’m really looking forward to the Jepp plates coming to Foreflight. Avare (a FREE android app) and an expired sectional are my backup, but the mark I windshield & eyeball rarely fails.

    For most primary flight training I make my students use paper. I only let them use electronics once they demonstrate they can do paper.

  8. Bruce Bergman says:

    Non-Pilot, but as someone who has had both dedicated GPS and various phones & apps crash and reboot in use many times, in heavy traffic with no place to pull over and set the destination again…

    I always have paper as a backup – Thomas Guide, RMN Road Atlas, and/or AAA paper maps. Because after the earthquake data connections will be iffy at best. And even when you know the area if we have a big shaker and all your usual routes are closed, you may need to find a new one on the fly.

  9. FotoJunky says:

    @Bruce: most roadwarrior GPS apps rely on data connections working as they download the map on the fly. (hmm that makes for an interesting pun on words.) Most airwaarior GPS apps rely on predownloaded maps. The mentioned apps and the ever enigmatic EasyVFR all use mapdata that is already on your device, so if the internet is overloaded or all servers have fallen into a mighty crevasse after an earthquake, your device will still work.

    That being said, I have never flown outside the circuit without a paper backup of my flightplan, some spare paper not filled out flightplans and a paper map.

  10. markm says:

    @Bruce: and sometimes the GPS is working, but it’s database is wrong locally. E.g., for about a decade Mapquest, Google maps, and many GPS’s would send someone looking for my place in the country down a one-lane private road. If you know the owner and can get the gates open, it’s a _very_ scenic route – you’d better not only have time for driving at 10mph, but also to wait for a herd of cows to move on out of the way. Sometimes the scenery is worthwhile, but a stranger won’t even get through the gate. That’s not as bad as the database errors that sometimes send an idiot down a boat ramp…

    And sometimes the database is correct, but the route selection is insane. I was going from west Michigan to Tennessee. Looking at an interstate map, I’d go to the Indianapolis beltway, circle around on the beltway, and take I-whatever it was SSE towards Louisville. I was familiar with the route to Indianapolis, and packed a GPS for from Louisville on. But coming into Indianopolis, construction plus a big truck on my left forced me into an unwanted exit. So I found a parking lot and turned on the GPS. It wanted me to turn away from the freeway exit I could see. Eventually I figured out that it was routing me on the old US31 surface streets through downtown!. So I navigated by sight towards the freeway, where I found a sign for the east-bound beltway. Two minutes after I got on the beltway, it finished recalculating the route using the beltway…

    If I’d been in unfamiliar territory without a map, that GPS would have probably got me to my motel around midnight.

  11. LDP says:

    I too have digital map but don’t fly without paper charts, although expired.
    Which reminds me, I need to buy newer sectionals.

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