An Electronic Flight Bag (EFB) is a handy electronic information management device that helps pilots and flight crews be more efficient and can literally replace just about all of the paper-based reference materials such as the Aircraft Operating Manual and the navigational charts found in a pilot’s flight bag. However, choosing such a device, let alone one that is affordable and light weight, can be a challenge. Hence, John Ewing of Aviation Mentor has posted a comprehensive post about finding a low-cost method to store and display aviation charts.
John begins by acquiring a small notebook computer (a Dell Mini 0 to be exact) and then he tested various online services that provide electronic charts and procedures. What readers will like about John’s post is the fact that not only does he provide links to some of these services but he also includes graphics showing what you will get with some of these services.
However, it is important to remember that if you intend to use any electronic device to store or view charts during an actual flight, be sure to always have the printed charts handy as backup because you never know when a battery or something else will fail. After all, the Dell Mini that John uses has a 3 hour plus battery life but only if it is left closed and in sleep mode when not in use. However, John points out that he can also buy a cigarette-lighter power adapter for US$15 as an added measure to ensure longer life.
The total cost for John’s poor man’s electronic flight bag? US$300. Not a bad alternative worth considering.