Story by A1C Caitlin Russell on 03/18/2019The 962nd Airborne Air Control Squadron Standards and Evaluation office was recently recognized as the innovation team of the quarter at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska.
The unit achieved the award by configuring 200 EFBs and training 170 personnel on their proper use and regulations. By going digitally, the 962nd AACS will save $90,000 in yearly printing costs and more than 350 manpower hours.
"Our unit procured and has started implementing Electronic Flight Bags, which are portable electronic devices that consolidate flight information onto a tablet," said U.S. Air Force Capt. John Newman, 962nd AACS E-3 Sentry electronic combat officer. "We have stacks and stacks of paper publications that we use for reference. Now, instead of having to spend the time searching for the right answer, we can access it much faster."
Previously, pilots and aircrew carried bags full of manuals and publications for their missions. These manuals included everything from detailed instructions on how to manually lower landing gear to instructions on landing aircraft at remote locations. Depending on mission requirements, bags like these can weigh as much as 200 pounds.
Frequently updating them to meet changing technology, mission planning, procedures and airfield infrastructure required an excessive amount of man-hours and resources.
"EFBs provide personnel with the capabilities to be anywhere in the world and have access to updated publications and all paper documentation in PDF format," said Air Force Tech Sgt. Christopher Filiponi, 3rd Operations Group EFB program manager. "In the future, the goal is to also have access to emails, Excel spreadsheets and more on the EFB."
Newman said having a tool that will save personnel time and resources, was the main reason for procuring the EFBs. He also said the overall feedback from the unit was positive, and aircrew are excited to be moving towards a more efficient and user-friendly tool.
Program organizers are currently standardizing the EFBs and have begun issuing them for the initial trial period. Eventually the goal is for the EFBs to replace paper manuals as the primary source for flight information.