U.S. Air Force Saves Millions With Data-Toting Bags
All Air Mobility Command wings are now approved to use electronic flight bags. The portable electronic devices consolidate nearly 120 pounds of paper products into a single tablet and will save the command nearly $3.8 million annually.
The tablet contains electronic flight information publications such as navigational charts and digital publications, including Air Force instructions and technical orders.
According to Richard Quidgeon, the command’s electronic flight bag (EFB) requirements manager, the initiative to digitize the publications began in 2010 not only as a way to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of aircrews but also to save fuel. For example, removing 120 pounds of paper from every sortie would save about $780,000 per year in fuel cost within the mobility air forces, he says.
James Williams, program manager, EFB, says the tablet format also increases safety and improves the aircrew and aircrew support teams’ knowledge. “Using EFBs enhances the crews’ access to technical orders. When the Air Force transitioned from paper publications to electronic publications, the crews didn’t have a viable means to review e-pubs when off-duty,” he says.
To stay proficient during their off-duty hours, they had to come to the squadron and use a government computer to review their flight manuals, Williams explains. With the EFB, crews can use the e-reader to receive and review updates at any time, he adds.
Tablets also enable aircrews to access emergency checklists faster, calculate aircraft performance for safer departures and arrivals, and accurately calculate aircraft weight and balance for loading during planning.
The command used the Defense Information Systems Agency’s security technical implementation guide to configure the tablet for government use and ensure information on the EFBs is kept secure. Unlike personal devices, every tablet is locked down so operators are regulated in how they can use it.