Missionary, Military Aviation Goes Digital

Mission Aviation Fellowship recently noted the changeover to an “electronic flight bag” in their ops in the Democratic Republic of Congo:

Each of our pilots has an iPad. Flight documents are generated by our flight scheduler using Wingman, a flight operations planning tool developed by MAF…Additional documents including manuals, airport strip charts, airstrip photos, and other important references are available in electronic form.
In the morning before a pilot takes off on his first flight he connects to the wireless network with his iPad, and synchronizes it with the file server. In mere seconds he has all the flight documents he needs for the day…

In a coincidence of timing, the US Air Force published an article on precisely the same thing, albeit at a slightly higher price: 

A new Electronic Flight Bag program is aiming to replace the current flight bags, which are full of bulky manuals, charts and other reference materials, with small, lightweight tablets. To accomplish this, AMC officials recently signed a $9.36-million contract to buy as many as 18,000 iPads for use by pilots, navigators and trainers.

The goal is the same, streamlining flight planning — both articles even mention the weight reduction of not having to haul hard copies of planning materials.

It seems the iPad is positioning itself as the ePubs Bag for flight planning — in both military and missionary aviation.