Electronic Flight Clipboard Developed at Embry-Riddle Boosts Safety, Efficiency

Jemima Bisimwa
Flight dispatcher Jemima Bisimwa uses the electronic flight clipboard during a fleet check on Embry-Riddle’s Daytona Beach Campus Flight Line. (Photo: Embry-Riddle/David Massey)

Technology initially developed at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University to reduce the number of shared physical touchpoints during the height of the Covid-19 pandemic has led to significant advancements in flight safety and efficiency, according to flight operators at the university’s two residential campuses.

“As we were developing the application,” said Ken Peck, director of application development and integration at Embry-Riddle, “it became apparent that replacing handwritten paper with always legible electronic communication was an incredible safety benefit and a timesaver.”

In addition to cutting down on the number of papers being passed around Flight Operations, the technology was also meant to lessen the amount of radio congestion between pilots and ground controllers.

For Kimberly Antonelli, flight dispatch and ramp operations manager, the reporting features of the app are a huge asset. They provide valuable information for optimum staffing of a growing Flight program.

“We can track each call or request that crews have for fuel, maintenance and ramp-ins and -outs,” Antonelli said. “This has been very valuable to substantiate our operation statistically and to record what times we are busy for staffing and what our true needs are.”

Antonelli said that with the electronic system, she can assign more than one person to handle calls and requests without the worry of them “stepping over” each other on congested radio frequencies.

Jemima Bisimwa works with flight instructor Martin Mejia
Dispatcher Jemima Bisimwa works with flight instructor Martin Mejia. (Photo: Embry-Riddle/David Massey)

“In the past, crews would report waiting 10 minutes in the flight deck for their turn to call in over the radio,” she said. “Now they submit … and while they are walking in, we are processing their request.”

Koby Yoshimi, lead flight supervisor on the Prescott Campus, said the electronic flight clipboard's "most valuable contribution by far is its ease of access for all personnel involved in our Flight Operations team. The ability for multiple people to view key information from their respective workstations allows us to efficiently communicate between students and instructors, flight dispatch and maintenance personnel."

Lyle Sunderland, chief maintenance inspector, said, “From my view as a maintenance manager, the app’s real-time function and retrieval ability are very helpful when needing information quickly for things such as an FAA query.” Sunderland added that the system provides notifications when an aircraft is due for an inspection.

Joseph Morris, director of aircraft maintenance, said that the e-clipboard’s real-time communication allows his maintenance teams to respond “promptly, ensuring safety and minimizing flight delays.”

“Using the electronic clipboard significantly enhances operational efficiency, safety and data management within the maintenance department,” Morris said. “It fosters a proactive maintenance approach that minimizes risks and ensures the continued airworthiness of our aircraft.”

Especially important, the system is improving the training pilots receive at Embry-Riddle, according to training manager and flight instructor Eunji An.

“This is enabling the school to increase the quality of the training environment and is freeing up more time for more effective student and instructor interactions,” she said.

Posted In: Aviation