Advisory Circulars

Commercial & Business Aviation

COMMERCIAL AND BUSINESS AVIATION ADVISORY CIRCULAR

No. 0252

2006.01.26

SAFETY CONSIDERATIONS OF CORDED ELECTRICAL DEVICES IN THE PASSENGER CABIN

INTRODUCTION

This Commercial and Business Aviation Advisory Circular (CBAAC) is intended to consolidate and clarify policy with respect to addressing potential hazards associated with the installation and use of corded electrical devices in the passenger cabin and to provide guidance to operators regarding the use of fixed electronic devices accessed from, or used at, the passenger seat location.

APPLICABILITY

For the purpose of this CBAAC, the following interpretations apply:

Critical phases of flight includes all ground operations involving taxi, take-off and landing, and all other flight operations conducted below 10,000 feet, except cruise flight; and

Acceptable level of cabin safety refers to the general lack of impediments to the operation and evacuation of the aircraft cabin and its occupants.  This requires direct and unobstructed access to emergency exits, aisles leading to emergency exits and the ability to conduct an expeditious evacuation of the aircraft by all occupants.

REFERENCES

Sections 602.08, 602.86, 703.38, 704.33 and 705.40 of the Canadian Aviation Regulations (CARs).

Sections 723.38, 724.33 and 725.40 of the Commercial Air Service Standards (CASS).

Sections 523.601, 523.785, 523.813, 525.601, 525.785, 525.789 and 525.813 of the Canadian Airworthiness Manual.

CBAAC 0106R – Use of Portable Passenger Operated Electronic Devices Onboard Aircraft and Occurrence Reporting.

CBAAC 0124R – Passenger Use of Personal Headsets and Protective Hearing Devices

Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Policy Statement ANM-02-115-20 on Corded Electrical Devices Used in the Passenger Cabin.

BACKGROUND

The increase in the installation and use of corded electrical devices in the passenger cabin has led to requests from Transport Canada inspectors and operators for guidance relating to the implementation of operational procedures associated with the use of this type of equipment.  These devices are generally intended to provide passengers with access to the aircraft in-flight entertainment (IFE) system.

Corded electrical devices are those that are attached to the aircraft seat or bulkhead with a power or signal cord and include telephone handsets, control units for electronic games and audio/visual entertainment equipment, headsets, and other plug-in devices.

The intent of providing guidance on this issue is to enable operators to implement procedures that will allow passengers to receive and comply with crew member instructions and to minimize distractions associated with IFE systems during critical phases of flight thereby increasing the passengers situational awareness.

The guidance will also enable operators to establish procedures that will minimize the risk during critical phases of flight associated with devices that are capable of posing a tripping hazard or causing entrapment.

 

POLICY DEVELOPMENT

Operational procedures that identify and control any potential hazards to the maintenance of an acceptable level of cabin safety during critical phases of flight should be implemented.

The intent of these procedures is to maintain direct and unobstructed access to emergency exits, aisles leading to emergency exits and the ability to conduct an expeditious evacuation of the aircraft by all occupants.

Hazards to maintaining an acceptable level of cabin safety include, but are not limited to:

  • aurally obstructing or interfering with a passenger's ability to hear verbal, public address system or crew member commands or instructions;
  • visually obstructing or interfering with video or crew member instructions;
  • physically obstructing or interfering with access to main aisles, exits, passage along main aisles, and cross aisles; or
  • corded devices that are capable of posing a tripping hazard or causing entrapment.

Any one or a combination of these factors may negatively influence effective emergency egress.


ACTION

During critical phases of flight and at other times the pilot-in-command instructs, operational procedures should prohibit the use of fixed electronic equipment/devices and other corded electrical devices that may pose a hazard in the passenger cabin.

To enable compliance, a designated crew member(s) should ensure:

  • the system(s) associated with corded electrical devices, independently-powered equipment/devices, other IFE devices and associated passenger convenience devices are made inoperative immediately prior to critical phases of flight; and

  • passenger compliance with any procedures established to maintain an acceptable level of cabin safety.  This shall include the proper stowage of all electronic equipment and corded electrical devices prior to critical phases of flight, and shall be accomplished as part of required cabin preparation duties intended to enhance cabin occupant emergency egress.

The operator should conduct an evaluation of their corded electrical device(s) to determine if they pose a hazard or obstruction during critical phases of flight.  To conduct this evaluation, the following guidelines apply:

  1. If the corded electrical device is not intended for use during critical phases of flight and is restricted accordingly (e.g. properly stowed), then no cord loop and no cord length evaluations are required.
  2. If, however, the corded electrical device is intended for use during critical phases of flight, then cord loop and length evaluations shall be conducted to ensure that the corded electrical device will not interfere with passenger emergency egress. These devices may include breakaway capabilities in the cord connections, or frangibility in the cord itself that can act as mitigating factors.

The following cord loop and length evaluations shall be made for devices intended for use during critical phases of flight:

Cord Loop Evaluation:  Loops created by improper stowage of a corded electrical device shall be evaluated to determine if they pose an egress hazard.  It should be shown that an improperly stowed cord does not become a hazard that can entrap or snag limbs or clothing during an emergency evacuation.  Evaluations should be made with a 5th percentile female and a 95th percentile male as follows:


  1. Any cord loop that can be formed by an improperly stowed device shall be evaluated to determine that the location of the loop does not pose an egress hazard.
  2. Any cord loop that can be formed by an improperly stowed device that extends into an aisle must be unable to encircle an appendage (limb or clothing) without significant manipulation or contrivance.
  3. Any cord loop that can be formed by an improperly stowed device in a location where a limb may be encircled must be easily escapable by normal passenger movement or the device must be able to be pulled free with normal motion and strength.

Cord Length Evaluation:  Operators shall demonstrate that the cord length of their devices will not permit the device to lie flat on the floor when the device is not properly stowed.  Also, the cord length must be restricted so that the device cannot be used by anyone seated across the aisle or by anyone seated in a row forward or aft of the passenger.

Operational procedures should define crew actions necessary to identify, document and advise of any failures to corded devices, IFE systems, and in-cabin electrical outlets for independent electronic equipment/devices that may become a deterrent to an acceptable level of cabin safety.

The use of electronic equipment/devices during an extended period of ground hold is acceptable, provided operational procedures are established that take into consideration the following:


  • the aircraft is stopped;
  • the pilot-in-command concurs;
  • actions of the pilot-in-command and other crew members are coordinated;
  • emergency exits are kept clear and accessible;
  • the anticipated time of the ground hold is such that the use of electronic equipment/devices can be reasonably terminated and the equipment can be stowed prior to resumption of movement on the surface;
  • crew members are provided advance notice of resumption of movement on the ground in order to ensure that all electronic equipment/devices are stowed prior to movement; and
  • the use of electronic equipment/devices during ground hold will not interfere with the crew members ability to accomplish any required cabin preparation duties and safety procedures.


CONCLUSION

Operators should take the content of this CBAAC into account when developing or amending procedures related to the installation and use of corded electrical devices in the passenger cabin and fixed electronic devices that are accessed from, or used at, the passenger seat location.




Don Sherritt
Director
Commercial and Business Aviation

Commercial & Business Aviation Advisory Circulars (CBAAC) are intended to provide information and guidance regarding operational matters. A CBAAC may describe an acceptable, but not the only, means of demonstrating compliance with existing regulations. CBAACs in and of themselves do not change, create any additional, authorize changes in, or permit deviations from regulatory requirements. CBAACs are available electronically on the TC Web site, at: http://www.tc.gc.ca/eng/civilaviation/standards/commerce-circulars-menu-284.htm
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