Joint TAA-OAA Advisory on Obtaining Technical Airworthiness Clearance and Operational Airworthiness Clearance for Electronic Flight Bags

Effective date: 1 June 2012, REVISED: 1 May 2018 (released as a joint TAA-OAA Advisory)

Reference:  TAM Part 2, Chapter 3 and Part 3, Chapter 2

                    OAM, Chapter 3, Paragraph 314

OPI/Telephone: DTAES 6-4, 819-939-4842

                          SSO OA, 204-833-2500, ext. 6649

1. Purpose

2. Applicability

3. Related Material

3.1. Definitions

3.2. Regulatory References

4. Discussion

4.1. Background

4.2. TAC and OAC Aspects

4.3. Electronic Flight Bag Implementation Procedures

Appendix A – Description and Examples of "Type A" Software Applications

Appendix B – Description and Examples of "Type B" Software Applications

Appendix C – Portable Electronic Flight Bag Evaluation Process

Appendix D – Portable Electronic Flight Bag Evaluation Checklist

Appendix E – Electronic Flight Bag Software Applications Evaluation Checklist

Appendix F – Operational Evaluation at the Fleet Level

Appendix G – Operational Evaluation Checklist – Fleet Level

Appendix H – Operational Aircraft Evaluation

Appendix I – Aircraft Operational Evaluation Checklist

Appendix J – Guidance for the Development of EFB Software Applications

1.   Purpose

1.1.       The purpose of this joint Technical Airworthiness Authority (TAA) – Operational Airworthiness Authority (OAA) Advisory is to provide guidelines for obtaining Technical Airworthiness Clearance (TAC) and Operational Airworthiness Clearance (OAC) for Electronic Flight Bags (EFBs).

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2.   Applicability

2.1.     This joint TAA-OAA Advisory is applicable to organizations involved with the TAC and OAC of EFBs.

2.2.     Civilian authorities no longer use Class 1, 2, or 3 EFB designations. The new designations are:

  1. Portable EFBs; and
  2. Installed EFBs.

2.3.      Portable EFBs are those brought on board by the flight crews. Installed EFBs are considered permanent and fully integrated within the aircraft flight deck. (An example of an Installed EFB, would be a modern aircraft with a certified Multi-Function Display (MFD), where that MFD includes the capability to display Aeronautical Charts).

2.4.       Approval of Installed EFBs is covered by existing DND/CAF Design Change policy covering permanent installation of avionic equipment and not included as part of this advisory.

2.5       This joint TAA-OAA Advisory only addresses Portable EFBs. Any reference to an EFB in this advisory means a Portable EFB.

2.6        EFBs should not be used to replace any functions (e.g., navigation, performance calculations, etc.) currently provided by certified aircraft systems and will not be granted airworthiness approval for such functions. EFBs should only carry copies of approved airworthiness data/documentation (e.g., AFM/AOI, approach plates, checklists, maps, etc.).

 2.7       The Operational Airworthiness Manual, Chapter 3, Paragraph 314 provides the following regulatory requirements for Portable Electronic Devices (PEDs):

"If a PED is required for use during critical or tactical phases of flight, on the flight deck, for navigation, and/or for transmitting, the PED must be cleared for use in accordance with the airworthiness clearance process (as if it was an aeronautical product). Even if a PED has been recommended for an unrestricted electromagnetic compatibility (EMC) safety of flight (SOF) clearance, a technical and operational clearance is still required – to ensure that the PED does not interfere with fleet-specific aircraft systems (including egress) and that the aircrew are properly trained to use the PED and to store it when not in use."  

2.8       A TAC and an OAC will be required prior to using EFBs operationally.

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3.  Related material

3.1   Definitions

  1. Electronic Flight Bag (EFB). An electronic display system intended primarily for cockpit or cabin use. EFB devices can display a variety of aviation data or perform calculations, such as performance data and fuel calculations. In the past, some of these functions were traditionally accomplished using paper references, or were based on data provided to the flight crew by base operations. The scope of the EFB functionality may also include various other hosted databases and applications. Physical EFB displays may use various technologies, formats and forms of communication. In the context of this TAA-OAA Advisory, an EFB includes both the hardware and software needed to support an intended functionality.
  2. EFB Administrator. he person appointed by the Operational Commander to be held responsible for the administration of the EFB system within the Fleet or Wing. The EFB Administrator will be the person in overall charge of the EFB system and will be responsible for ensuring that the hardware conforms to the required specification, and that no unauthorized software is installed. This person will also be responsible for ensuring that only the current version of any application and data packages are installed on the EFB system.
  3. Type A EFB Software Application. Software installed on an EFB providing a specific operational functionality, whose malfunction or misuse would have no adverse effect on the safety of any flight operation, that is a failure condition classification considered to be “no safety effect” (refer to Appendix A of this TAA-OAA Advisory).
  4. Type B EFB Software Application. Software installed on an EFB providing a specific operational functionality, whose malfunction or misuse would have a “minor” failure condition classification (refer to Appendix B to this TAA-OAA Advisory).
  5. Viewable Stowage Device. A portable device or component used to secure an EFB, viewable to the pilot (e.g., kneeboards, suction cups, etc.).

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3.2.    Regulatory References

  1. Transport Canada Civil Aviation (TCCA) Advisory Circular (AC) 700-020, Issue 3 dated 28 March 2018
  2. C-05-005-001/AG-001 – Technical Airworthiness Manual (TAM)
  3. B-GA-104-000/FP-001 – Operational Airworthiness Manual (OAM)
  4. ICAO Manual of Electronic Flight Bags (EFBs) Doc 10020, Second Edition – 2017
  5. AF9000 procedure EMT04.059 – Airworthiness Approval, Technical Approval and Technical Airworthiness Clearance of Non-Installed Equipment
  6. C-05-005-044/AG-001 – Electromagnetic Environmental Effects (E3) Control within the Canadian Forces (Air)
  7. C-05-005-001/AG-002 – Airworthiness Design Standards Manual draft chapter: “Aircraft Systems and Network Security” (copies are available on request from DTAES 2-2 staff)
  8. RCAF Flight Operations Manual (FOM), 2.2.8, Part 8 – Electronic Flight Bags, Amended February 17, 2017
  9. FAA Safety Alert for Operators (SAFO) 09013 with subject: “Fighting Fires Caused by Lithium Type Batteries in Portable Electronic Devices”, dated 23 June 2009

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4.   Discussion

4.1.    Background

4.1.1.     EFBs functionality is derived through hosting either Type A or B software applications.

4.1.2.     EFBs perform a variety of functions, traditionally accomplished using paper references, by electronically storing and retrieving documents required for flight operations, such as the AFM, AOI, Standard Manoeuvers Manual (SMM), Checklists, Minimum Equipment Lists (MEL), and Enroute, Terminal and Approach Charts. As such, EFBs may be authorized for use in conjunction with, or as replacement for, some of the hard copy material that aircrew would typically carry in their flight bags.

4.1.3      EFB applications have also been developed to support functions during all phases of ground and flight operations. Numerous applications are available, with varying degrees of complexity. In situations where it is planned to either develop or procure applications that host a more complex functionality, the best practices presented in Appendix J of this TAA-OAA Advisory should be implemented, as applicable. 

4.1.4      While EFBs are not to be authorized for use as a certified navigation system, it is recognized that their use for situational awareness purposes provides improved safety of flight. Therefore, the use of own-ship position for situational awareness purposes may be authorized by the OAA.

4.1.5      The EFB may have wired or wireless aircraft data connectivity, provided it is shown that the EFB does not negatively impact the safe operation of the aircraft.

4.1.6       The EFB may be powered from an internal battery, or powered/recharged through a certified aircraft power source.

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4.2.    TAC and OAC Aspects

4.2.1.     Technical Airworthiness Clearance (TAC)   The TAC process is documented in Reference 3.2.b. Aspects associated with granting a TAC for EFBs can be addressed in accordance with existing approved processes. The TAC covers items that require airworthiness approval, and those that do not.   Airworthiness Approval Aspects. The implementation aspects requiring airworthiness approval in support of a TAC (as applicable to the proposed implementation) include the following:

  1. E3;
  2. Environmental aspects;
  3. Design changes that require modification(s) to the aircraft in support of the EFB (e.g., mounting provisions, electrical and interface wiring provisions, data connectivity provisions);
  4. Stowage;
  5. Human Factors, as they pertain to affecting the already existing certified aspects of the aircraft (e.g., blocking view of required flight instruments, impeding egress, etc.); and
  6. Aircraft systems and network security for wired or wireless connections to aircraft systems (acceptable guidance is provided in Reference 3.2.h)  For convenience, the aspects in relating to airworthiness approval are included in the Appendix D checklist of this TAA-OAA Advisory and annotated as "[CERT]".

4.2.2    Operational Airworthiness Clearance  The OAA is responsible for assessing the operational suitability and functionality requirements associated with the operational use of the EFB and for issuing an associated OAC. The OAC process is documented in Reference 3.2.c.  The OAA has published an amendment to the RCAF FOM (Reference 3.2.i), aimed at providing direction on the use of EFBs in RCAF training and operations.

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4.3.    Electronic Flight Bag Implementation Procedures

4.3.1.     Fleets incorporating EFBs into their operations should carefully review the contents of this TAA-OAA Advisory to determine applicable requirements. For the most part, the level of complexity associated with the operational implementation will depend on whether aircraft design changes will be required to support the EFB, the type of software used and the intended use (e.g., replace all paper approach charts with electronic charts in all phases of flight).

4.3.2      The operational implementation will require a structured sequence of events to ensure that the aircraft equipped with one or more EFBs can be operated safely. Checklists are provided in the appendices to this TAA-OAA Advisory to assist with the evaluation of the TAC and OAC aspects of EFBs.

 4.3.3     Depending on circumstances, the TAC and OAC aircraft evaluations may be carried out separately or as a combined exercise.


On-aircraft evaluations carried out in support of checklist completion (e.g., cockpit compatibility, assessment of operational suitability and effectiveness) are normally carried out by Test and Evaluation (T&E) Agents in accordance with the Flight Test Orders for the Canadian Forces (C-05-020-007/AM-000).  The requirement for on-aircraft evaluation is identified by Finding Authorities (for Airworthiness Approval), Technical Authorities and staff holding Operational Airworthiness authority.

4.3.4     From a process perspective, it is envisaged that the Fleet and/or WSM will:

  1. determine the required EFB capability and mission usage (e.g., CONOPS [1 CAD]);
  2. decide on the type of EFBs to use, based on a number of factors, including the use of this TAA-OAA Advisory [1 CAD];
  3. complete all necessary assessments, evaluations, document updates, training, maintenance schedule changes, etc. [WSM/1 CAD];
  4. fulfill the requirements in the RCAF FOM 2.2.8, Part 8 (Reference 3.2.i) [1 CAD]; and
  5. submit AFM/AFM-AOI amendments, if applicable [WSM/1 CAD].

4.3.5    Technically-oriented evaluations are required as detailed in Appendix C, Appendix D and Appendix E of this TAA-OAA Advisory. Those TAC aspects requiring airworthiness approval are annotated “[CERT]” in Appendix D.

4.3.6    Operational evaluations are required as detailed in Appendix F, Appendix G, Appendix H and Apendix I of this TAA-OAA Advisory.  The first evaluation detailed in Appendix F of this TAA-OAA Advisory is to ensure that Fleets have properly addressed the CAF implementation of EFBs from an organizational process perspective. The associated evaluation checklist is provided in Appendix G of this TAA-OAA Advisory.  The second evaluation detailed in Appendix H of this TAA-OAA Advisory is an aircraft-level operational evaluation, which would normally be conducted by the Operational Test and Evaluation community. An associated operational evaluation checklist is provided in Appendix I of this TAA-OAA Advisory. Depending on the circumstances, this evaluation may be combined with the evaluation detailed in Appendix C of this TAA-OAA Advisory.

 4.3.7     Optional Appendix J – Guidance for the Development of EFB Software Applications contains best practices associated with the development of more complex EFB applications. It is included here for future use. 

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