By Sgt. Ashton HofmeisterFebruary 6, 2019
FORT BLISS, Texas -- The 1st Armored Division Combat Aviation Brigade has migrated to Electronic Flight Bags (EFBs), which will streamline the aircrews' functionality through the use of electronic devices.
In the past, flight bags contained the necessary paper documents aircrews needed for missions. Now, this information has been consolidated into Electronic Flight Bags, helping transition the brigade to paperless cockpits.
"Basically, what it does is allows us to carry all the publications, which are required for flight, on an iPad, in addition to others things like regulations, doctrinal publications, SOPs, and even mission products," said Chief Warrant Officer Five Paul C. Beretey, the Brigade Standardization Officer.
This transition from paper-based documents to commercial innovation resources is an ongoing aspect of the U.S. Army's modernization process leveraging cutting-edge science and technology to help Soldiers and units be more lethal in combat.
EFBs allow for the immediacy of information, which is a significant advantage when it comes to content distribution.
"During the middle of a mission briefing, if a change is made, it can be transmitted and received by all the aircrews within two to three seconds," said Chief Warrant Officer 5 Steve A. Donahue Jr., the 1AD CAB Command Chief Warrant Officer. "Everybody has a common operating picture."
In addition to providing major changes with the way information is received by flight crews, the EFBs also help bring major cost savings to the brigade.
There are significant cost savings, said Donahue. We no longer have to ship and print publications. One tablet replaces approximately 20 different publications into one document and replaces our entire reference library, which can exceed hundreds of Army doctrine and other manuals.
The change gives aircrews several different advantages, but Donahue says there are three aspects in particular that truly makes this transition effective.
"Money saving and synchronization as well as relevance," Donahue said. "Those are the three main themes."
1st Lt. William Viana and 1st Lt. Natalia Drew, both pilots with the CAB, believe that the transition is beneficial to aviators because it creates an easier way to access vital resources that are necessary for aircrews in comparison to the flight publications bags that were used in the past.
"I'm really excited about the capabilities that the modernization and the development of the EFB bring to the aviation community," said Drew. "The ability to have access to multiple publications and TMs (training manuals) right at your fingertips, both in the aircraft as well as during the planning process."
"Not only is it easier when you're carrying one little device versus five to six books in an entire bag, but all of the cockpits that we work in don't have unlimited space," said Viana. "So, just being able to fit one device with everything you need in one spot, rather than taking up the whole cockpit."
The CAB's investment in EFBs is a significant combat multiplier that aids in accomplishing the Army's modernization strategy to make Soldiers and units more lethal to win out nation's wars, then come home safely.