Scorpion Camp evolves a four decade process with new innovative application

  • Published
  • By 1 Lt. Chad A. Willis
  • 552nd Air Control Networks Squadron

On February 7, 2022, the 552nd Air Control Networks Squadron’s Development, Security and Operations Flight, also known as Scorpion Camp, began in-flight beta-testing of a newly developed ‘Purple Dot’ iOS iPad application.

The application, which was designed to be installed on a flyers’ issued Electronic Flight Bag iPad, digitalizes, improves, and replaces the antiquated paper E-3 Individual Aircraft Tracking Program flight log used by flight engineers on the Airborne Warning and Control System.

The former process utilized a paper scantron form and was filled out manually in pencil, and has been used in its current iteration since 1987. The form is specifically used by flight engineers to track events during flight such as rotodome usage.

Recently, Technical Sgt. Travis Boley, 963rd Airborne Air Control Squadron flight engineer, took an EFB loaded with the digitalized Purple Dot into flight, marking the beginning of the application’s testing period.

“The application is extremely intuitive to use and is much easier to see in the dark during flight. The app is a major quality of life improvement over the paper form,” stated Boley.

Master Sgt. Andrew Wolthius, 963rd AACS flight engineer, agreed and explained how helpful the program is.

“The digital Purple Dot program developed by the ACNS team has multiple benefits,” said Wolthius. “First and foremost, it cuts the data acquisition timeline from months to hours. Second, it reduces the workload on flight engineers in-flight, and ensures more accurate data is collected versus the paper scantron forms. Finally, the fact that this was developed in-house exemplifies our core value of ‘excellence in all we do’. These guys really set the standard on app development.”

During beta-testing, the flight engineers will fill out the Purple Dot application alongside the conventional paper form. To ensure the Purple Dot application works as intended, the data output of the application versus the scanned paper form will be analyzed. The Purple Dot application will reach a full release available to all EFB’s once the output data has been verified as correct and any existing bugs are fixed.

Scorpion Camp’s iOS software development team’s intent in building Purple Dot is to make flight crew in the 552nd Air Control Wing’s ability to accomplish the mission faster and more efficient. The future of digitalizing forms for the wing’s flying community is in high demand. Currently, flyers have requested five additional paper forms to be digitalized and placed on the EFB.

“I have the pleasure of watching the Scorpion Camp Airmen design, develop and produce products like the Purple Dot form,” said Chief Master Sgt. Tracy L. Massey, 552nd Air Control Group senior enlisted leader. “They inspire me with their ingenuity, knowledge and drive to develop tools for Air Force members to use in performance of their duties. The ACNS Airmen are accelerating change every day, and I’m very proud of the work they do.”