Display mounted on pull-out tables can be controlled by touch screen or buttons and is usable in all flight phases
Airbus has released more details about its electronic flight bag (EFB) systems interface as the manufacturer works with customer airlines to refine the design. The display, which can present charts and approach plates, will be in roughly the same position as a traditional control-yoke mounted clipboard, with a screen adjustable to be at right angles to the pilots' line of sight.
The EFB combines the Airbus In-flight Information System (AFIS) and the onboard information terminal (OIT). The OIT display is mounted on the pilot's pull-out tray table, but is hinged to rotate upward to give an optimum viewing angle for the pilot without obscuring the main flight instrument panel (Flight International, 9-15 November). This will be usable in all phases of flight, says Airbus. Control of the system is touch-screen or by push-buttons on the peripheral frame, says the company, adding that it is testing a prototype system in one of its simulators. The Rockwell Collins-supplied AFIS is on track for certification by August 2005, when it is due to be delivered to KLM in its first A330s, and Emirates and Thai Airways International on their A340-500/600s.
Teledyne Controls supplies the OIT hardware, which Airbus describes as basically an adapted PC with a Windows XP operating system. At delivery, the AFIS will host a performance calculation system, maps and charts, and it should be ready for wireless "gatelink" uplinking or downlinking of data during turnaround. The system has the ability to host airline and aircraft manuals, but these are not yet ready. In due course it will provide a "position awareness" moving-map display for taxiing at airports, an email communications system, and the ability to provide real-time weather data and Notams via satellite or ACARS datalink.
For text entry, pilots can use a QWERTY "virtual" on-screen keyboard when seats are in the flying position, and can attach a hardware keyboard for filing longer reports when the seat is pushed rearward.
DAVID LEARMOUNT / LONDON
Source: Flight International