Air Force flies paperless with Peacock
- By Anne A. Armstrong
- Sep 14, 1997
As part of its effort to reduce paper manuals the Air Force Reserve Command recently completed a proof-of-concept demonstration of a paperless electronic aircraft cockpit (Peacock).Begun as a way to collect technical orders for older aircraft and distribute them electronically to flight crews the project has grown to include a wide variety of information that flight crews use.
"The Air Force no longer publishes in paper form documents that are available on CD-ROM " said Leland Bice the program manager for the Peacock Proj-ect at Warner Robbins Air Force Base Ga. "We began this project in an effort to collect the data the crews would need. But we decided not to make the mistake so many projects do of writing requirements without talking to users. We asked the flight crews what they needed and they told us.
"It was a lot more than we originally planned " he said. "They wanted some data we didn't have access to." Crews asked for standard publications technical orders flight-planning tols electronic forms mission data and e-mail access.
The Peacock team decided to pull together technical data for the crew of a KC-135 one of the Air Force's older planes. Data is distributed over reserve unit local- and wide-area networks and are updated weekly. Once a month the information is compiled with historical data on an updated CD-ROM.
For the proof of concept sample data was pressed on a CD-ROM and offered to the flight crews as part of a system available on a Panasonic Communications & Systems Co. CF-25 ruggedized notebook computer.Initial tests were held this month at Grissom Reserve Air Force Base Ind. and conducted in a simulator. The crews tried using the Panasonic notebook in the cockpit to access the data.
"Every flight crew liked the concept " Bice said. "We are not trying to take all the paper out of the cockpit despite the name. We just want to reduce the paper and make information easier to find."