JOINT BASE CHARLESTON, S.C. —Mobility forces aircrew members have to take what they refer to as a Master Question File test every 13 months to remain certified on their airframes.
In the past, this meant that every aircrew member, every year, would have to print off pages, and pages of study material. Capt. Christian Brechbuhl, an assistant flight commander assigned to the 16th Airlift Squadron, along with other Airmen across the Air Force, saw an opportunity to use their coding skills to modernize and centralize the way Airmen study for the test.
“Every year we have to take this closed book test as part of our check ride process which also includes verbal and actual flying applied portions,” said Brechbuhl. “This mobile application compiles the study material and is able to be downloaded onto our mobile devices. I got the idea for this when I printed off over a hundred pages for my test and said, there has to be a better way to do this.”
The digitization of information ensures that an aircrew member always has access to the material to study on their issued mobile devices whenever possible.
“It’s an extremely useful training tool,” said Capt. Abhiram Iyengar, 16th AS Executive Officer. “It’s something all of us as aircrew can benefit from and it’s something we can take with us anywhere we go.
Brechbuhl collaborated with about 10 other Airmen on the application’s development. It didn’t take the group long to get the application ready for use.
“It takes some time to digitize all of the MQFs but the application itself only took a few weeks to develop and a few months to ensure it was secure enough to download onto our devices,” said Brechbuhl. “With the Airmen Coders group, we were able to take Airmen with knowledge and use it to simplify a problem and are looking at other projects to tackle in the near future.” He added “I am very excited to see Airmen who code throughout the Air Force so eager to help make their fellow Airmen’s lives better.”
The application was such a success with the C-17 Globemaster III crewmembers that the team was able to start working on adding other airframes. The team of Airmen coders have already been able to launch material for the KC-135 Stratotanker, KC-10 Extender, and the C-130 Hercules and are working to add more.
“The response we are getting is extremely positive,” said Brechbuhl. “We are adding more features to the app and working to add other air frames. Currently, all aircrew in the Mobility Air Forces have access to the application on their devices.”
The change was cost-effective and Airmen driven. No spending at any level and no outside-contracts had to be furnished, making it a best-case-scenario innovation, according to Brechbuhl.
“The Air Force hasn’t had to spend a dime on this project,” said Brechbuhl. “The Airmen that helped create this realized they have the skills to contribute and sometimes used their personal time, to make the Air Force even better.”
Brechbuhl attributed the support of leadership as being a big part of introducing the change.
“Here at Charleston, our leadership has been very supportive of smart innovative ideas, [and] right now is a great time in the Air Force for any Airmen to help solve pain points in their lives,” he said. “I highly encourage anyone who thinks that they may have the solution to a problem to route it up their chain of command and make it happen.”
Innovations like Brechbuhl’s help modernize the force by saving resources and time, both of which are essential to mission success.