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Airbus has chosen Rockwell Collins as its provider for Electronic Flight Bag (EFB) interface and communications units (EICU) for the A320 and A330 aircraft.
An EFB is basically a laptop or tablet for pilots – it gives pilots a wide variety of information at their fingertips. The software on the devices can be used for many different things, such as displaying weather, traffic, cabin video surveillance, surface moving maps, or flight plan information. They can also be used to check necessary documents, checklists, and flight performance calculators.
This EICU can be used with a wired or wireless connection to one of the EFBs in the cockpit. The device itself is lightweight, and uses technology from the on-board information management system used on other Airbus aircraft. It is part of Rockwell Collins’ Secure Server Router product line. "The EICU is another step in the progression of our information management solutions strategy and an extension of the success we've had with Airbus on other aircraft types,” said Rockwell Collins flight controls and information systems vice-president and general manager Greg Irmen.
"This new EFB solution for A320s and A330s is central to on-board and off-aircraft networks. It enables pilots to quickly and efficiently connect with essential decision-making tools to make flight operations safer and more efficient."
EFBs are preferred by pilots and Airbus alike because they are cost-efficient and user-friendly. They are easily upgraded and fully customizable, making them an open-ended computing platform rather than a packaged system. EFBs also reduce costs when it comes to data management and distribution, training costs, and even medical costs for those rare instances when pilots hurt themselves carrying heavy flight bags filled with paper (no, that is not a joke). Airlines in particular are partial to the device because they make a great business case and some airlines are even working directly with vendors to tailor EFB solutions for their specific needs.
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