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US Army : Electronic flight bag for the combat aviation brigade

The 1st Armored Division Combat Aviation Brigade has migrated from paper Flight Bag to Electronic Flight Bags (EFBs), which will streamline the aircrews' functionality through the use of electronic devices.

USA Electronic flight bag for the combat aviation brigade Electronic Flight Bag (Picture source: Sgt. Ashton Hofmeister, US ARMY)

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.

EFBs allow for the immediacy of information on a simple tablet, 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.

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, these documents could be divided up to 6 books in an entire bag. They are now gather on a simple device, way more efficient.