Base participates in technology test
Mr. Corey Runge, Technical Order Distribution Office for Quality Assurance, 482nd Maintenance Group compares the new Apple iPad2 to the numerous volumes of technical orders. The Maintenance Group is participating in a 90-day technology upgrade test project in hopes to replace numerous books with the iPad2. (US Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Lou Burton)
by Staff Sgt. Lou Burton
482nd Fighter Wing Public Affairs
1/10/2012 - HOMESTEAD AIR RESERVE BASE, Fla. -- The 482nd Maintenance Group at Homestead ARB is capitalizing on new technology by participating in a 90-day test project. The MXG members are utilizing 40 Apple iPad2's to replace over 900 technical orders.
"The Air Force Reserve Command is testing the iPad2 at Homestead ARB along with six other locations based on variations in climates and other geological factors," said Mr. Corey Runge, Technical Order Distribution Office for Quality Assurance.
The study requires 80 people to utilize the iPad2, currently MXG has 150 people trained to use the devices.
"The implementation of these devices is huge. Essentially we are taking millions of pieces of technical data and placing them right at our fingertips," said Chief Master Sgt. Charles Kotsay Jr., 482nd MXG Quality Assurance superintendent. "In QA alone, our inspections require we have a reference for everything. That means carrying a lot of bulky, heavy manuals."
In the past, a crew chief would carry a case full of books and papers with them to the flightline and at times subject to the wind and rain of South Florida. The iPad2 eliminates the hassle of controlling the bulky manuals and looking up data page by page. Once it's inside a weather proof case, the iPad2 can withstand the elements of inclement weather.
"The case being used for the iPads was tested by the manufacturer by dropping them out of an aircraft in flight; no harm was done to the iPad2 -these cases are tough," said Runge.
The Apple iPad2 was chosen after careful review of all the available e-readers because of the screen display quality, visibility in dark and light areas, as well as usability.
"The economic impact is going to save the Air Force in printing, shipping , and manpower costs," said Runge.
"Currently changes to the technical orders come via mail. Once received, the work center could take days to update depending on the size of the changes," said Kotsay. "With the new iPad2, the work center will no longer need to tie up a technician to change pages and make pencil adjustments. This process eliminates time consuming and tedious work."
The aircraft maintenance tool room controls the device. Users must sign out the device during the day and return it after their shift is over, ensuring accountability.
"There are security precautions to the device," said Runge. "Besides it being a controlled item that has to be checked in and out, it also has an automatic lock feature that does not allow the device to be accessible without entering a password after a set amount of time. Once the Wi-Fi capabilities are approved, we will be able to track the devices via GPS."
All bases projected to be part of the study received their training here at Homestead. Currently Homestead ARB is the only base to have received the equipment and implement it into their daily routine.
"A survey is completed once a week to monitor the effectiveness of the iPads as a new tool, needless to say everyone loves the new technology," said Runge.