Earlier this year, we reported on the United States Air Force’s purchase of 2,725 iPads to be used as Electronic Flight Bags for the defense agency. After some resistance and a lot of jumped hoops, the Air Force Mobility Command (AMC) were approved for the order in March. Today, 9to5Mac discovered a video made by the AMC for a nomination for the CSFA Team Excellence Award. While the video is mostly just a recap of how the AMC created and implemented the Electronic Flight Bag (EFB) on the iPad, the behind-the-scenes look at the process shows how much thought went into the decision to use iPads over another brand of tablet.
The 10-minute video shows how the cost of traditional EFBs was inefficient and major changes were needed in order for the Air Force to meet the 2011 Executive Order to use electronic devices to improve efficiencies and reduce printing costs.
The AMC decided early on that the iPad was the best solution for a paperless Flight Bag. According to EFB Requirements Manager Rich Quidgoen, the biggest hurdle in getting Apple technology was overcoming outdated policy. Because Apple does electronic security differently, there was a significant amount of resistance to the change from Windows-based tablets.
“Had a Windows device been an adequate solution for EFB, it would have been a lot easier,” said EFB Program Manager Maj. Pete Birchenough. “Going with a non-Windows device garnered an unbelievable amount of resistance from virtually every agency.”
The AMC fought for changes to policies they believed did not address the commercial technology that exists today.
Because of the focus and determination by the AMC, the iPad has implemented a process that eliminates $1.77 million in printing costs of the Flight Bag manual, plus an additional $3.28 million per year for printing of maps and charts, 22,000 man-hours, and $770 thousand per year in fuel.
If anyone questions the Air Force Mobility Command for their decision to use iPad to save money and become a more efficient unit, watch the video below to see just how much work went into the final decision. The AMC did not take it lightly. We won’t be seeing Air Force pilots playing Angry Birds on their iPad instead of protecting our country.