Mode Aviation
Reference No. AR201800104
Date reported 11 December 2018
Concern title Electronic device chargers in the flight deck
Concern summary

Concern regarding use of inferior quality electronic device chargers by flight crew.

Industry / Operation affected Aviation: Air transport
Concern subject type Aviation: Policies & Procedures

Reporter's concern

The reporter has raised a safety concern regarding the use of inferior quality electronic device chargers being used to charge flight crew Electronic Flight Bags (EFBs/iPads®) in flight.

The reporter states that flight crew often utilise their personal iPad® chargers for use in flight, which may be inferior quality brands or counterfeit chargers.

The reporter is concerned that when inferior quality chargers are plugged into a flight deck outlet, there is an increased likelihood that the cable/charger can overheat or short and catch fire, cause a fire in an EFB that is being charged, cause electric shock, or induce electrical interference in aircraft systems.

The reporter has advised that the reason flight crew utilise their personal charging devices rather than the [Operator] supplied Belkin® chargers, is because Belkin® chargers do not charge fast enough to prevent the battery draining while in use. As a result, flight crew are concerned that their EFB’s may not be sufficiently charged during a critical phase of flight or emergency situation.

The reporter believes that Apple® chargers, with the appropriate United States plug configuration, should be issued to each flight bag to mitigate the risk of flight crew utilising inferior quality chargers or adapters.

Operator's response (Operator 1)

[Operator] wishes to thank the ATSB for the management of this REPCON and appreciate the efforts that all have put into the matter. 

In relation to the line of enquiry around the consideration of risk that each operator must exercise when introducing EFBs, [Operator] wishes to advise the ATSB that this was a consideration when EFBs were introduced, CASA were also involved.

Please note that with every system on board an aircraft there is the “chance of a failure in flight” and [Operator] believes it has appropriate procedures in place to manage an inflight failure of an EFB.

[Operator] wishes to advise that since this REPCON, we have updated our FCOM listed policy to state “Only company provided EFB chargers or genuine Apple® chargers with suitable adaptor can be used on the aircraft.”

Should the ATSB have any further concerns related to this REPCON, [Operator] would both appreciate and welcome the opportunity to review and consider them.

Regulator's response (Regulator 1)

CASA has no comment on this REPCON.

Last update 16 September 2020