Qantas will take the first step in its move towards the use of an electronic flight bag (EFB) next month by launching a trial of the electronic manuals and aeronautical charts on its recently delivered Airbus A330-200s. The trial is designed to lead to the phasing out of paper manuals across the carrier's fleet, says Capt Bruce Simpson, Qantas A330 technical pilot and flight operations project leader.

The programme involves Spirent Systems supplying the cockpit hardware, and chart and navigation data specialist Lido providing the software. Qantas took delivery of its first A330, part of a 13-aircraft order, in November and the second in December, with the type initially serving domestic points on the airline's Cityflyer network.

The hardware - Spirent's display tablet on a movable arm - is already installed on the aircraft. As more A330s are delivered, they will be added to the programme. The trial will initially involve paper charts and manuals being carried as back-ups to meet the requirements of the Civil Aviation Safety Authority, but operational approval to use the EFB alone is expected in nine months, says Simpson.

Crews are enthusiastic about the programme, he says. "One of the issues we face is the limited amount of cockpit space for onboard manuals," he says.

Source: Flight International