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Electronic flight bags could boost operational safety, effectiveness

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Until they catch someone playing Angry Birds on it!

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Word is from our OG we are going to get iPads at Little Rock but they are going to be locked so you can only put pubs on it at the squadron.

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-----Original Message-----

From: JOHNS, RAYMOND E JR Gen USAF AMC AMC/CC

Subject: FW: Electronic Flight Bag Update

Wing Commanders,

During the last two years, the command has been actively pursuing the use of the Electronic Flight Bag (EFB) for use by our aircrews. The goal of this

initiative is threefold: removing paper products from the aircraft to reduce weight, thereby saving fuel and cost for printed materials; provide our

aircrews a better tool to study publications and flight material; and ensure a more operationally effective flight deck environment.

As we highlighted at Phoenix Rally, we feel that we are very close to execution of this program. Several commercial air carriers have successfully

fielded the EFB. If you were at A/TA this year, you might have noticed some commercial vendors demonstrating their technology. We've also conducted our

own Small Group Tryout (SGTO) at Travis and learned many beneficial lessons.

Although we are close and have promised you this capability, I have to inform you that the timeline is going to be delayed. It is my decision, and I apologize for changing the plan, but I feel this is necessary.

Over the next few weeks I need to better define the expected savings, formulate a requirements document and ultimately build a request for proposal (RFP). I was concerned that our RFP as written geared toward one specific platform might not have held up to public and private scrutiny. I still intend to introduce the EFB across the MAF. However the additional analysis required will drive an Apr '12 initial delivery.

Lead units will be part of a six month Phase I evaluation to ensure that we develop processes to support the transition to a paperless flight deck. Upon

successful completion, a Phase II will be authorized for the remaining MAF units, completing the paperless conversion by Dec '12. Along the way, you

can expect a CONEMP to be released and refined in conjunction with the phases.

It's important that we build this capability for the future and not leave those that follow us with an unsupportable, unsustainable solution that we

chose because it could be quickly implemented. As part of this effort I will also use this delay to better look at Mobile Device Management (MDM)

solutions that will standardize the EFB over the long term. I don't want place an additional burden on your units.

I know there is great excitement among our aircrews for the EFB and understandable so. It will come. This delay is a disappointment to me and

many others here in the HQ. I owe it to our aircrews to make sure we do this correctly and we're looking for your help in spreading that message. My

POC on the staff is Maj _____________ in A3V. He can address any specific questions.

Regards,

Ray Johns

_______________________

Got this update from our CC a couple weeks ago. Sounds like your typical delay to allow the lowest bidder to undercut the product that would be most useful.

I'd love to get a quality EFB on board, especially on those overseas trips during DAFIF and FLIP changeover....so I don't have to haul 200 lbs of FLIP up the ladder.

Edited by Homestar

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The sad thing is there is only one viable low cost "EFB" that does everything: the iPad. When commercial pilots are looking to the iPad over their available Class III EFBs...but we all know they'll buy a less capable POS from the lowest bidder owned by a minority chick.

In other news, Jeppesen has added a new product to their line of iPad goodness: http://ww1.jeppesen.com/main/corporate/microsites/flitedeck/military/

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This program would pay for itself quickly, it is astounding that the AF hasn't already gone to something like this given our current budget problems.

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I heard C-17's at McChord are already using them (or will be very very soon)? This from a guy who just graduated UPT and was originally assigned there, then switched into to something else last minute.

Also, Continental was getting them before the United thing happened...my understand is it's still planning on being rolled out. American also got FAA approval this week to use them...looks like they'll be starting on the 777 first. Makes sense, I imagine with the kind of routes they fly, they have to carry way more paper (charts for divert fields and so on) than, say, a 737. http://travel.usatoday.com/flights/post/2011/12/ipad-cockpit-american-airlines/584646/1

Edited by LoneWolf121188

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It will be interesting to see how we are supposed to fly with them on our laps on an approach down to mins....I hope they are investing in Otterbox cases too....

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And if the battery/whole thing dies? Would suck to be flying an approach or need to access a checklist and get a blue screen of death (or whatever the mac equivalent is).

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BSODs are non-existent. If for some strange reason it does lock up, you just power it down and back up...about 10 seconds for the reboot. The FAA has decided that two iPads in the cockpit provide enough redundancy for a single one rebooting during a critical phase of flight. If the battery dies, you're the dumbass who didn't charge it or spent all your time playing Angry Birds. My iPad lasts a good 10 hours on a single charge while using the embedded GPS to record the entire flight. The product works better than 5-figure Class III EFBs.

Jeppesen Mobile FliteDeck is great for world-wide ops and has no additional costs beyond the organization's (USAF) electronic charting subscription. ForeFlight Mobile HD contains all the US and Canadian FLIP, and I expect they will expand their coverage in time, however it is a subscription service ~$150/yr for the geo-referenced US plates (Canadian plates are another $150/yr). You can get updated WX, NOTAMs, and file and "brief" with this program as well if you have 3G data.

88ipadl.jpg

ipadairplane.jpg

The RAM Mount (sts) can be configured with a suction (sts) cup (sts) for mounting (sts) on the window, a yoke clamp for mounting (sts) to the yoke, or a glareshield clamp for mounting (sts) to the glareshield. It is quite rugged (sts) and mounts (sts) firmly (sts) in all positions (sts). Supposedly, it even properly mounts (sts) an iPad in an Ottercontainer.

Edited by ThreeHoler
  • Upvote 1

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I am putting together a CONOP for ACC. It is at the group level awaiting sigs, but has already been verbally approved by the A/3TV. The 1st Helo squadron at Andrews has a program as well that I used as a base.

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Gonna be kind of interesting to use at night...

The dimmest setting on the iPad is a little too bright in some instances but it can get dimmed down pretty well within the application software. ANVIS compatble? probably not.

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BSODs are non-existent. If for some strange reason it does lock up, you just power it down and back up...about 10 seconds for the reboot. The FAA has decided that two iPads in the cockpit provide enough redundancy for a single one rebooting during a critical phase of flight. If the battery dies, you're the dumbass who didn't charge it or spent all your time playing Angry Birds. My iPad lasts a good 10 hours on a single charge while using the embedded GPS to record the entire flight. The product works better than 5-figure Class III EFBs.

Jeppesen Mobile FliteDeck is great for world-wide ops and has no additional costs beyond the organization's (USAF) electronic charting subscription. ForeFlight Mobile HD contains all the US and Canadian FLIP, and I expect they will expand their coverage in time, however it is a subscription service ~$150/yr for the geo-referenced US plates (Canadian plates are another $150/yr). You can get updated WX, NOTAMs, and file and "brief" with this program as well if you have 3G data.

Can you use the GPS to display your current position on a sectional or approach plate? That would be cool.

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The dimmest setting on the iPad is a little too bright in some instances but it can get dimmed down pretty well within the application software. ANVIS compatble? probably not.

Most commercial flight bags (Foreflight, for example) have a night mode that turns white to black and black to white, effectively dimming the chart for use at night.

It will be interesting to see if Apple and the DoD can agree on an enterprise solution. Not exactly Apple's strong suit.

My guess is that we'll eventually see something else. Think Toughbook on your knee--typical AF solution.

Can you use the GPS to display your current position on a sectional or approach plate? That would be cool.

The internal GPS is only available on 3G equipped iPads, and probably doesn't work well in aviation applications. Sporty's sells a GPS add-on that sets on the glareshield and feeds the GPS signal to the iPad wirelessly via bluetooth.

http://www.sportys.c...p/product/16597

It's a pretty great GA solution, and would probably work well in military aviation as well in aircraft not scheduled for modern flight decks with integrated charts and "moving maps" (i.e., most of them). Not sure if it integrates with sectionals, HI-charts, or approach charts.

Edited by Homestar

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The built-in GPS on the 3G model works great. I have tracked 9+ hour transoceanic missions with it. The Bluetooth solution is not exactly legal right now.

If you go into the Settings on the iPad, you can set up triple-home-click to invert (black to white, white to black), but the aviation apps like Jepp and ForeFlight have awesome dimmers built into them that are far more functional than the standard iPad dimmer and work perfect for night plates. Goodreader also has built in dimming capability for reading PDFs.

The Jepp app allows your GPS position on the Jepp enroute charts and on the airfield diagrams. It does not allow GPS on approach plates because that technically violates Class I EFB rules.

ForeFlight, which is not concerned with being certified as an EFB software package allows GPS reference on all plates into which they have encoded georef information. It also allows GPS on VFR sectional, low IFR, and high IFR charts.

The iPad works absolutely fantastic in use on a real-world global transport aircraft. While we had no formal test plan for our implementation, as we were not under FAA jurisdiction, we have demonstrated actual capability for the past 12 months. I am not talking theoreticals.

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