GUY NORRIS / SEATTLE
Manufacturer speeds designs for Next Generation 737 and 747 families in anticipation of growing market requirement
Boeing is accelerating designs for new production and retrofit applications of its electronic flight bag (EFB) on the Next Generation 737 and 747 families, as well as several Airbus models as Pakistan International Airlines prepares to put the device into service on its new 777s.
"We are coming up with designs for the 737 and the 747, and we are getting interest for several Airbus applications," says EFB project manager, flightcrew applications, Kevin Gosling. "We will work those [Airbus models] through a third party like Lufthansa Technik, which is why it is branded under the Jeppesen name," he adds.
Developed with Jeppesen, the EFB entered commercial service on a KLM-operated 777-200ER in late 2003. It provides a large-format electronic flightdeck display of airport maps, aircraft performance, electronic documents and video pictures from cabin door and other security cameras. New modes are also in development for the baseline EFB, adds Gosling. These include terminal charts and fault reporting and, further into the future, a direct interface with the flight management computer. "It is also designed to interface with ACARS [datalink], and another option is a compatible link to the Connexion by Boeing system which allows you to look at more real-time weather data," he adds.
Boeing has mocked up the EFB in a 737 engineering development simulator to iron out any potential interference issues with the current configuration. "We had to swap over the location of the oxygen mask with the display, but that was about all," says Gosling. Although work on the 737 is well advanced, Gosling adds that the next most likely application will be on a 747. These, however, will be retrofit only, he adds.
The company is also confident of a growing market requirement in Europe in particular "because European airlines realise they're going to need video surveillance at some point, and it is a kind of dual- use application", Gosling says.
Source: Flight International