Manufacturer opts to locate display on fly-by-wire cockpit's pull-out tray table
Airbus will roll out its first integral Class 3 electronic flight bag (EFB) system when it delivers A330s to KLM and A340-500/600s to Thai Airways International in August 2005. Airbus anticipates certification of the system just before delivery to the airlines.
Airbus pilots will have their EFB display located in the pull-out tray tables unique to Airbus fly-by wire types, with touch-screen keyboard and controls, according to KLM.
The Dutch carrier was the first to operate Class 3 EFBs when it ordered them pre-installed in its Boeing 777s in September last year. The only Class 3 EFB then available was the Boeing/Jeppesen system, but KLM's senior development engineer flight operations Edwin Kleiboer says it is going for the Airbus EFB on its A330s because the aircraft manufacturer has developed it as a total package.
Receiving it ready installed in a new aircraft fleet is an "ideal opportunity" to extend EFB capability to another of its types, says Kleiboer, who explains that the airline is currently weighing up the options for retrofitting EFBs to its Next Generation 737s, 747-400s and MD-11s.
In its existing widebodies, Airbus has had a problem deciding where to put the EFB control/display interface unit, because their flight control sidesticks are located more or less where Boeing/Jeppesen installed its 777 EFB display. The forthcoming A380's totally integrated Onboard Information System has enough space in the side consoles to locate its display ahead of the sidesticks.
The Airbus EFB, for which the main hardware supplier is Teledyne Controls, says KLM, does not have space in the pull-out tray to incorporate a QWERTY keyboard for information entry while the pilots have their seats forward during the flight, so a "soft" touchscreen keyboard will be available. For filing post-flight reports, which tend to be more detailed, the pilots will be able to hook up a hardware keyboard to the display when they have pushed their seats back, says Kleiboer.
DAVID LEARMOUNT / LONDON
Source: Flight International