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Homestead maintenance group participates in technology test.

The 482nd Maintenance Group at Homestead Air Reserve Base, Fla., is capitalizing on new technology by participating in a 90-day test project. Members of the group are using 40 Apple iPads to replace more than 900 technical orders.

"Air Force Reserve Command is testing the iPad at Homestead ARB along with five other locations based on variations in climates and other geological factors," said Corey Runge, Technical Order Distribution Office for Quality Assurance.

The other locations involved in the test are the 910th Airlift Wing at Youngstown Air Reserve Station, Ohio; 914th AW at Niagara Falls International Airport ARS, N.Y.; 934th AW at Minneapolis-St. Paul IAP ARS, Minn.; 439th AW at Westover Air Reserve Base, Mass.; and 434th Air Refueling Wing at Grissom ARB, Ind.

"The implementation of these devices is huge," said Chief Master Sgt. Charles Kotsay Jr., 482nd MXG quality assurance superintendent. "Essentially we are taking millions of pieces of technical data and placing them right at our fingertips. In QA alone, our inspections require we have a reference for everything. That means carrying a lot of bulky, heavy manuals."

In the past, crew chiefs would carry a case full of books and papers with them to the flight line, exposed to the wind and rain of South Florida. The iPad eliminates the hassle of controlling the bulky manuals and looking up data page by page. Once it's inside a weather-proof case, an iPad can withstand the elements of inclement weather.

"The case being used for the iPads was tested by the manufacturer by dropping it out of an aircraft in flight," Runge said. "No harm was done to the iPad. These cases are tough."

The iPad was chosen for the test after careful review of all available e-readers because of the screen display quality, visibility in dark and light areas, and usability.

Using the iPads reduces printing, shipping and manpower costs, Runge said.

"Currently, changes to the technical orders come via mail," Kotsay said. "Once received, it may take the work center several days to make the updates, depending on the amount of changes. With the new iPad, 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 devices. Users must sign them out during the day and return them after their shift is over, ensuring accountability.

"There are security precautions to the device," Runge said. "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 (global positioning system).

"A survey is completed once a week to monitor the effectiveness of the iPads as a new tool," Runge said. "Needless to say, everyone loves the new technology." (Staff Sgt. Lou Burton, 482nd Fighter Wing public affairs)
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Title Annotation:ROUND THE RESERVE
Publication:Citizen Airman
Date:Apr 1, 2012
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