Features Innovative Power-Off Capability
The ARINC eFlyBook display sits innocently among a row of vendor
displays in an Airventure hangar. To most it seems that this is
just another electronic flight book, a copy of many companies all
claiming the best readability. What is different about eFlyBook is
the technology used to create its unique display.
ARINC's eFlyBook is not simply a backlit screen; it utilizes two
laminated layers with thousands of "black spheres" -- similar in
concept to an Etch-A-Sketch -- between the surfaces. An
electromagnetic field pulls the spheres to the surface, and the
eFlyBook actually uses no energy once the image has been made. If
the battery runs out during a flight, the chart on the display will
remain there. This substantially increases the usability and
encourages one to leave behind the approach plates and maps that
clutter a cockpit.
The eFlyBook display is very readable, even in direct sunlight.
The unit is not backlit, because the goal was to create an
electronic chart that behaves exactly like paper. If you are
embarking on a night IFR flight, you'll have to use your flashlight
to view the screen. The unit not only displays the standard charts,
but includes airport diagrams and approach plates. Also included is
a digital copy of the FAR/AIM, and users can add their own
documents, ranging from digital copies of radio manuals to memos.
Using the included stylus, you can write onto the screen just as
you would write onto a piece of paper, allowing the user to fill
out flight plans on the unit itself, as well as write on the
Usable internal memory is 128 megabytes, which is expandable
through SD, USB, and Compact Flash cards. ARINC includes a one
gigabyte SD card with the unit. "Battery life is about eight
hours," says ARINC's Senior Program Manager William Doyen. The
eFlyBook also features wireless connectivity so that you can
transfer documents to it, and the eFlyBook comes with a 400
megahertz processor with 64 megabytes of RAM. The eight inch
display's resolution is 768x1024, allowing for the clarity and size
of comparable paper charts and approach plates.
A new version of the eFlyBook's
software is expected to be released by ARINC within the next three
weeks. Updates will include a complete Airport/Facility Directory
as well as enroute charts that can be moved around the display by
dragging the stylus.
ARINC's Oshkosh booth was busy with attendees studying the
eFlyBook's display, and if that is any indication of interest, the
eFlyBook is likely to rise to the top of the electronic flight book
food chain. The new technology does come at a price, which is to be
expected of any breakthrough product.
ARINC's eFlyBook retails for $1,500, which includes a six month
subscription to chart updates. Once that time period expires,
yearly chart update subscriptions cost an additional $250 per year.
Judging from the interested aviators at ARINC's display, pilots and
aircraft owners are certainly willing to put the eFlyBook's
technology to work in their cockpits.