The Operations Wing of RAF Brize Norton is using 20 iPads and five iPad minis as part of a six-month trial to evaluate the technologies used in flight management.
Using the devices as electronic flight bags, the RAF trial, known as Project LINK, is intended to reduce the need for paper, provide air crew with the most up-to-date information and improve mobile communications.
The Operations Wing provides support and infrastructure to enable the flying squadrons to operate safely and efficiently. The 99 Squadron is the first RAF squadron to receive iPads.
Nine23 is the supplier working with the RAF on the project.
The devices will be trialled on the ground until they get clearance to go on aircraft in flight.
Wi-Fi has been installed in the squadron’s building to allow crew members and operations staff to plan flights, check routes, manage flight profiles and other vital pre-flight administrative tasks. The applications currently being tried out are weather reports, flight planning tools, aircraft technical e-publications and Skype.
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“With the integration of these tablets, the crews are finally catching up with the high-tech aircraft. Legacy paperwork and labour-intensive procedures will be a thing of the past,” said squadron leader Spence Wild.
Squadron leader Rob Fitton said the beginning of the trial is a major step forward to the information needed to support operations. “We will now develop this capability further with the C17 crews, with a view to expanding the use of the iPad to other areas of Brize Norton and to other squadrons,” he added.