Advisory Circular (AC) No. 500-022 Issue 1

In-Flight Entertainment Systems

File No.: 5009-32-4 SI No.: 500-022
RDIMS No.: 1193699 V9 Issue No.: 01
Issuing Branch: Aircraft Certification Effective Date: 2006-11-08
Activity Area: Qualification    


1.1 Purpose
1.2 Applicability.
1.3 Description of Changes

2.1 Reference Documents
2.2 Cancelled Documents
2.3 Definitions and Abbreviations


4.1 Design Features
4.2 Other Considerations




This Advisory Circular (AC) describes an acceptable means, but not the only means of demonstrating compliance with regulations and standards.  This AC in and of itself does not change, create, amend or permit deviations from regulatory requirements nor does it establish minimum standards.  The applicant may elect to follow an alternate method, which must be acceptable to Transport Canada.

1.1 Purpose

The purpose of this AC is to provide guidance concerning applications for a limited supplementary type certificate (LSTC) or a supplementary type certificate (STC) for In-Flight Entertainment (IFE) systems such that the assessment of the design and installation ensures that the modified aircraft continues to meet its certification basis.

1.2 Applicability

This document is applicable to all Transport Canada Civil Aviation personnel, delegates and industry.

1.3 Description of Changes

Not applicable. 


2.1 Reference Documents

It is intended that the following reference materials be used in conjunction with this document:

  1. Part V, Subpart 13 of the Canadian Aviation Regulations (CAR)—Approval of Modification and Repair Designs;
  2. Chapter 513 of the Airworthiness Manual (AWM)—Approval of Modification and Repair Designs;
  3. Chapter 523 of the AWM-Normal, Utility, Aerobatic And Commuter Category Aeroplanes;
  4. Chapter 525 of the AWM—Transport Category Aeroplanes;
  5. Chapter 527 of the AWM—Normal Category Rotorcraft;
  6. Chapter 529 of the AWM—Transport Category Rotorcraft;
  7. Staff Instruction (SI) 513-007-Approval of Domestic Modification and Repair Designs;
  8. AC 500-015-Certification Plans;
  9. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Policy Memorandum PS-ANM100-2000-00105, dated 09/18/2000-Interim Policy Guidance for Certification of In-Flight Entertainment Systems on Title 14 CFR Part 25 Aircraft; and
  10. Chapter 529 of the AWM-Transport Category Rotorcraft

2.2 Cancelled Documents

Not applicable.

2.3 Definitions

The following definitions and abbreviations are used in this document:

  1. In-Flight Entertainment (IFE) - means an audio and/or visual electronic system that provides entertainment and/or information to passengers during a flight.
  2. Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB) - the TSB is an independent agency created to advance transportation safety through the investigation of occurrences in the marine, pipeline, rail and air modes of transportation.


1. Following the Swissair Flight 111 accident, an investigation of IFE systems was conducted and recommendations were issued by the TSB. The FAA identified, as part of its review of IFE systems approved via STC, that there are specific design features that should be considered for all IFE systems installations.

2. The results of the TSB recommendations and the FAA’s review have identified the following:

  1. the inability to disconnect the electrical bus supplying power to the IFE system without removing power from systems that are required for continued safe flight and landing;
  2. the inability to remove power from the IFE system, when required, other than by pulling the IFE system circuit breakers due to the lack of a switch dedicated to the IFE system, or a combination of systems, for the purpose of removing power; and
  3. the flight crew member and  flight attendant procedures had not been properly revised to address the removal of power from the IFE system.

3. The investigation also concluded that there was no specific requirement in the applicable airworthiness standards that expressly prohibited the supply of electrical power to miscellaneous, non-required systems from busses that also provide power to essential or critical level systems. The IFE system installations investigated included wire bundles and components in the cabin that could increase the potential for system faults, including pinched wires in the seat track, passengers stepping on or kicking the seat electronic box, and spilled liquid. Since an IFE system has greater exposure to hazards, its potential to adversely affect other systems necessary for safe operation is increased if it is connected to a bus powering systems required for continued safe flight and landing.

4. Accordingly, this document is issued to clarify that IFE system installations are to receive power from busses that do not supply systems required for safe flight and landing.  The most reliable busses supply power to the most critical systems, whereas busses that are the first to be disconnected, either manually or automatically when deemed necessary by the flight crew members or flight attendants, should supply power to non-essential, non-required systems such as galleys, telephones, in-seat power supplies, and IFE systems.  In addition, connecting an IFE system to a bus without a means to disconnect the system inhibits the ability of the flight crew members or flight attendants to remove power from the IFE system when deemed necessary.  Therefore, a means to remove the power to the IFE system is required.


4.1 Design Features

The objective of the design evaluation is to ensure that the level of safety of the aircraft is not degraded by the installation of an IFE system. The applicant should consider the following design features when evaluating the acceptability of the IFE system design and installation, its compliance with the applicable requirements of 5XX.1309, 5XX.1333(c), 5XX.1351, 5XX.1353(a) and (b), and 5XX.1431 of the AWM, and its safety:

  1. The IFE system should be connected to an electrical bus that does not supply power to aircraft systems that are necessary for continued safe flight and landing. IFE system designers should select lower-level electrical busses, such as those used for utility, galley, and ground service equipment;
  2. The design should include a labeled and readily accessible means to disconnect the IFE system from its source of power. The interruption of power should occur as close to the busses supplying power as possible. The disabling or deactivation of components is not considered an acceptable means to remove power. For example, disabling or deactivating the output of a power supply, display, or seat electronic box while remaining connected to electrical power is not acceptable. The means to disconnect the IFE system should be provided to the flight crew members. Each combination, however, of an IFE system with a particular aircraft model is unique and should be evaluated accordingly. It may be acceptable to provide flight attendants with the means to remove the power rather than provide the means to the flight crew members
  3. Reliance on pulling system circuit breakers, as the sole means to remove IFE system power, is not acceptable. The use of circuit breakers as switches will degrade the circuit breaker's ability to trip at its rated current trip point. Results from aircraft inspections showed that some IFE systems had circuit breakers that are not accessible during flight requiring the flight crew members to leave their seats to locate and pull the circuit breaker;
  4. The IFE system wiring should be protected by appropriately rated and coordinated circuit breakers;
  5. An aircraft flight manual supplement should address any changes to normal, abnormal, and emergency procedures that may have resulted from the installation of the IFE system. If removal of the IFE system power is planned to be performed by the flight attendant, the flight attendant manual should contain appropriate procedures and the aircraft flight manual supplement should be appropriately amended to inform the flight crew members that IFE system power removal is accomplished by the flight attendant; and
  6. For IFE systems that include seat-mounted equipment, the applicant should address compliance for the entire IFE system, including the seat-mounted equipment. It is incorrect to assume that the applicable installation requirements for electrical components are addressed by meeting the minimum performance standards of a technical standard order for a seat.

4.2 Other Considerations

The following should also be considered, as appropriate, to the aircraft category, the electrical load of the IFE system, system complexity, wire routing, component locations, and whether the application is for an LSTC or STC:

  1. Drawings and installation instructions shall meet subsection 513.05(1) of the AWM and to maintain non-essential, non-required systems separation from required systems.  (FAA Policy Statement, identified in subsection 2.1(i), should be followed when applicable);
  2. Flammability of the wiring shall be addressed for compliance to sections 523.1359, 527.1365, or 529.1359 and Chapter 525, Appendix F, Part I of the AWM;
  3. Consideration should be given to the aircraft manufacturer’s design philosophy by following the completion centre handbook and maintenance manual when designing the IFE system installation.  If this information or the manuals are not available, a careful assessment of the installation should take place.  Installation of new wires in a compartment where the original design avoided their installation should be addressed for compliance to section 525.863 of the AWM;
  4. Certification documents shall include an electrical load analysis as per the applicable AWM requirement, such as section 5xx.1351 of AWM; and
  5. Instructions for Continued Airworthiness (ICA) shall meet: Chapter 523, Appendix G; Chapter 525, Appendix H; and Chapter 527 and 529, Appendix A of the AWM, as applicable


Master minimum equipment list (MMEL) and minimum equipment list (MEL) relief should be requested and justified for IFE system failures and components. Such relief should take into account the alternate means to provide the standard safety briefings if the IFE system is normally used for these briefings.  Failure to obtain this MMEL/MEL relief may result in the aircraft being grounded because of failures that may not in fact degrade the safety of the aircraft operation.


For more information please contact:
Policy Standards Coordinator (AARDH/P)
Phone:             613-990-8234
Facsimile:         613-996-9178

Original signed by Gilles Morin

Chief, Regulatory Standards
Aircraft Certification

Date modified: