European low-cost carrier Norwegian Air Shuttle (NAS) has selected Astronics Ballard Technology’s webFB wireless electronic flight bag (EFB) device for its Boeing 737NG aircraft. The webFB, which was already operating on 10 of the carrier’s aircraft due to a year-long operational trial, will now be installed on the rest of NAS’ Boeing 737NG fleet.
“For quite some time, we have been searching for a solution to improve and automate the collection of aircraft data, which is a manual process using physical media,” says Aleksander Geist, senior avionics engineer at NAS. “The webFB, in conjunction with our EFBs, offer a very flexible and cost-effective solution.”
The palm-sized webFB gathers aircraft data and conveys it to custom software or EFB applications hosted on the internal server. The information is then delivered wirelessly to portable EFB tablets. During NAS’ operational trials to validate the device’s operational and economic suitability, the webFB gathered data from the carrier’s aircraft, which was transferred to NAS’ data centered and used for post-flight analysis.
Representatives from both companies were initially introduced at an EFB Users Forum in Dubai. Once Astronics Ballard Technology received a supplemental type certificate (STC) from the FAA and approval from EASA, Transport Canada and Mexico’s DGAC to use the webFB on 737 aircraft, NAS decided to proceed with the operational trial.
“Astronics Ballard Technology has been very responsive in our aircraft trials and we are pleased with the data acquisition performance and the longer-term benefit it will have for our organization,” says Geist.
According to Astronics Ballard Technology President Jon Neal, NAS’ application is an ideal match for the webFB’s data capture capabilities. “They also recognize the tremendous advantage of a simple, easy-to-install solution that minimizes aircraft downtime and allows them to quickly retrofit their fleet and gain immediate benefits,” adds Neal.
NAS did not share details about when the webFB will be installed on the rest of its 737NG fleet, but Neal says the device installs in mere minutes on existing flight data recorder (FDR) system test ports without any additional kit or software needed.
Geist says NAS is already looking ahead to future use cases that will allow the carrier to further leverage its investment in the webFB.