iCrew Chiefs

F-16 maintainers at Shaw AFB, S.C., are testing lightweight tablet devices to gauge whether they could replace laptop technical references on the flight line. “The iPads make it a lot easier to get a hold of an expediter,” said SrA. Matthew Leke, 20th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron crew chief, in Shaw’s May 2 release. “You can just put their name in the chat and send them a message” instead of waving down supervisors from across the flight line, he added. The ruggedized laptops currently used to view technical orders detailing procedures for every action on the flight line are heavy, need frequent recharging, and require a common access card to unlock. Some 275 maintainers are assessing the iPads’ reliability and performance through mid June during Air Combat Command’s trial, according to the release. “There have been zero broken iPads so far,” said ACC’s evaluation chief, SMSgt. Ed Dierkens. “Initial feedback is very positive,” he said. (Shaw report by SSgt. Kenny Holston)