What is meant by a dead-end EFB solution?
When a Customer needs to purchase a specialized hardware device in order to obtain Performance (Take-off Data Calculations) services. There is no possibility to add further modules to the device, or the Performance module is not compatible with other hardware. Once the customer decides to move ahead toward the goal of a Paperless Cockpit he has to abandon the device and the provider and start from scratch.
What is the benefit of a PFB over other EFB platforms from name-brand suppliers?
Unlike namebrand suppliers who’s EFB platforms are designed to only work with their own modules and applications, the PFB platform is designed to work with 3rd Party applications from various suppliers. This gives the Customer a choice in selecting services from suppliers that are best suited to his needs in terms of price and performance. The PFB is also very flexible and able to accommodate a multitude of new functionalities, which are not available from any single supplier.
How much customization can be made on the PFB platform? What is the cost?
The amount of customization is virtually unlimited. As the Customer needs change so can the PFB be altered to reflect these changes. The cost of customizing is usually fixed in the initial set up fee, which includes a fixed number of developer hours to tailor the system to the particular customer. However, if additional services are required these are charged on a per hour basis.
What is the Set up fee for the PFB?
The set-up cost is dependent on a number of factors, including, but not limited to: the number of aircraft in the fleet that are expected to use the system, the number of modules that need to be integrated from the start, the number of IFS produced modules required by the client, etc. Normally the set-up fee reflects the actual programmer hours required to make the system workable for the client. From this amount a discount is deducted based on the above mentioned factors.
What is the logic behind the PFB pricing?
The PFB platform, although customized for each customer, comes with a number of built in features and includes the Administration function, The Document Library, Security, Back Office Integration and server support. The customer then pays a flat fee for the platform depending on the size of the fleet. In case the customer purchases additional modules from IFS these are added to the monthly fee based on the number of aircraft subscribed.
If services from a 3rd Party are requested IFS normaly only charges the actual set up cost (developer hours used) and a nominal fee for use of the IFS servers, support and maintenance. IFS has a policy not to piggy-back on these additional services.
How difficult is it to add-on 3rd Party applications to the PFB platform?
The PFB is designed to accept 3rd Party applications. IFS is making a lot of effort to make sure that we are able to integrate external services with the PFB platform. If a customer would like to find out in advance if his, for example, Flight Planning Services will be compatible with the PFB we will contact the supplier of the FPS and work together to test the compatibility.
How quickly can the PFB services be supplied?
Depending in the hardware selected by the client and the type of aircraft in the fleet. There are a number of off-the-shelf products available, which can be very quickly introduced into operations. Others will require a some development time. However, IFS is committed to making its customers precise offers with specific timelines.
Can the services be tested?
Yes, a trial version can be provided for the Customer to see how the system will work in real-time.
How much experience has IFS had with EFB systems?
International Flight Support has been providing EFB services to its customers for almost a decade.
How should an Airline decide which EFB system to use?
The first step is to determine why the Airline needs an EFB – costs savings, improved efficiency, better customer service, etc. Step two is to find the right software for achieving these goals. Step three is to find the hardware that can most effectively be used by the crews.
IFS systems work with most hardware systems currently available and our software can be used both on Class I and II systems. We offer the same functionality on PC and on iPad.
What is the best way to introduce and EFB into airline operations?
We recommend a gradual approach. Starting with the introduction of the Document Library and Reporting (Journey Log, Maintenance Log, etc.) This approach gives the crews an easy opportunity to get used to using the device in the cockpit and immediately shows them the benefits of digital data input and access. It also gives the back-office an opportunity to practice monitoring and controlling both the hardware devices and the data generated by them.
The next step would be the introduction of operational modules like Flight Planning, Performance, Loadsheet, etc. The pilots would by this stage be familiar with the devices and can immediately see the benefit of digital vs. paper calculations.
All information related to the airline’s business processes that is in any way generated or entered into
the EFB platform or its modules is collected and sent to the back-end server. This allows the airline access to the basic tools needed to data-mine and evaluate almost any step of its operations. Additional parameters can be easily added to the EFB platform and modules to further narrow the focus of the analysis.
The process of populating data across the EFB platform for use by all the relevant modules. The IFS platform provides for cross-module data transfer integrity which insures that any data, which is input by the operator or is generated by any module is used across the platform in a robust, structured data model. The data is automatically validated in all modules where it will be used and the operator is immediately notified if any
limits are exceeded.
In addition to providing an effective EFB platform, which can incorporate 3rd party Modules, IFS creates a number of custom made modules for its clients. These include LDC, Loadsheet, Reporting and some back-office algorithms for data mining and KPI setting.
The EASA Annex II – AMC 20-25 EFB Guideline Regulations Compliance
The EASA Annex II – AMC 20-25 EFB Guideline regulations are the documents regulating EFB software. The primary criteria for compliance is to insure that Data Flow, Data presentation, Graphic layout and validations all take place in the prescribed manner. It also calls for data encryption and access protection. IFS software meets or exceeds the EASA Annex II – AMC 20-25 EFB rules requirements.
Electronic Flight Bag (EFB)
There is confusion surrounding the scope of this term. Some vendors and customers believe that a single digitizing functionality, which replaces a function previously performed by use of paper charts or tables, constitutes an EFB. However, in IFS’ view an effective EFB is a system (platform) that not only incorporates various digitized modules responsible for specific tasks, but also allows for room to expand into new areas currently covered by pen and paper. Just like the physical Flight Bag which contains charts, graphs, manuals, etc. the EFB should be able to take on more functionality as the airline moves in the direction of a Paperless Cockpit.
Usually defined as a specific functionality having its own clearly defined purpose and area. IFS incorporates a variety of Modules (Performance, Loadsheet, Reporting, etc.) into its platform. Each module serves a specific purpose and satisfies a particular need of the airline and its operations. IFS works with its own Modules and those from 3rd Parties.
Modules (3rd Party)
IFS’ goal is to give its EFB platform customers the freedom to pick and choose the best Modules available on the market. IFS strives to incorporate and integrate these 3rd party services into the EFB Platform. Currently IFS has been successful with Flight Planning (EFF), Crew Management (Rostering), Performance (TODC and LDC) as well, Charts. We are constantly expanding this list of services.