FAA won't ground your iPad

August 18, 2011

Users of iPads and other tablet computers in the cockpit can breathe a sigh of relief: A proposed advisory circular (AC) that could have limited general aviation operators' use of those devices was not intended to do so, the FAA assured AOPA and the General Aviation Manufacturers Association.

The agency said it is making revisions to the AC, “Guidelines for the Certification, Airworthiness, and Operational Use of Electronic Flight Bags EFB,” to clarify that it is only applicable for Part 135 and 121 operators, not pilots operating under Part 91.

The two associations had voiced concern that applying the circular to “operational use” of all EFBs—not just those being used in situations that require “operational approval”—would significantly broaden its scope, and potentially require substantial testing for each aircraft/EFB for GA operations. The FAA said it would correct references to “operational use.”

“Electronic flight bag technology is a valuable tool in flight and will help enable many expected NextGen capabilities at an affordable cost,” said AOPA Manager of Regulatory Affairs Kristine Hartzell. “The FAA needs to keep this option available to GA.”