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Airman's 'Frankenphone' connects ground forces, drone pilots

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posted on May, 27 2015 @ 09:12 PM
Airman's 'Frankenphone' connects ground forces, drone pilots

I like these DIY type of stories.
Probably because I'm that type of guy.

And I'm sure some big government contractor is pissed off they didn't get a multimillion dollar contract to build these things.

One Air Force base’s trash has turned out to be a treasure for streamlining communications between ground forces and drone operators, thanks to a young sensor operator’s innovation.

The device—called “Frankenphone” as it is made up of various materials slated for scrap—increases communications quality while reducing piloting complications during flights of remotely piloted aircraft, or RPA, the preferred vernacular the Air Force uses for drones. Now in its third iteration, Frankenphone was developed by Staff Sgt. Marion at Creech Air Force Base, Nev., the Air Force reported as part of its “Through Airmen’s Eyes” series.

The problem Marion (the Air Force identified him by only one name) sought to fix was integrating communications systems with phone lines used by joint terminal attack controllers, or JTACs—individuals on the ground that call in targeted air strikes or close air support—that contact RPA sensor operators and pilots. JTACs call into phone lines, which previously forced pilots to pin phones between their ear and shoulder while continuing to fly aircraft and monitor computer readouts—like a really egregious distracted driver. Because of budget restraints, the phone lines were not integrated to the intercom system headsets worn by pilots.

To make matters worse, in a rather redundant process, pilots had to relay and repeat information from JTAC personnel to the rest of the aircrew through a radio device.

What the Frankenphone does is tie the phone line directly into the pilot’s headset intercom to keep the entire aircrew in the loop.

posted on May, 27 2015 @ 09:20 PM
a reply to: grey580


posted on May, 27 2015 @ 09:56 PM
Shoot, move, communicate.

Well done airman.

posted on May, 28 2015 @ 08:45 AM
a reply to: grey580

When I read the part about shouldering a phone and flying I had strange visions of my childhood babysitter shouldering the phone with curly hair and bubble gum trying to drop some bombs on some Talibs while talkin to her bff lol.

In all seriousness my jaw is still on the floor about us doing that in the past. No wonder there's been so many mistakes, I can't even order a value meal right when I got my girlfriend chirping in my ear, how could we expect bombs to drop true with a fire fight on the other end of a phone call, that you have to relay most of the info from to your radio(which talks back also).

Good job to all the forward air controllers and anyone who's ever had to do this. Lol budget restrictions..... How much does 10 million PT belts cost? Coulda prolly fixed one issue right there lol

posted on May, 29 2015 @ 07:51 AM
Frankly this story p*sses me off.

It took an enlisted airman using his brain and a spare parts bin to do what obscenely overpaid idiots could not be bothered doing.

If some contractor had been given the job that 4 star Generals obviously thought wasn't important enough, they would have charged the US taxpayer tens of millions and have deliberately taken at least a year or more to milk it out while people died.

This guy should be given a star rank in the footsteps of Billy Mitchell while the a**holes who were responsible for "airmen tucking a phone under their chin to talk" get fired or jailed.

No wonder the F-35 pork barrel keeps rolling on for now.

Shameful, but kudos to Staff Sgt. Marion, whom the Air force couldn't even be bothered fully naming.


posted on May, 29 2015 @ 08:22 AM
They probably didn't give his full name because they will steal his idea, give him no credit(or bonus), then threaten him with jail if he complains about it. Good ole America.

posted on May, 29 2015 @ 09:53 AM
a reply to: w8tn4it

They don't ever give the full name of any of the crews of UAVs for safety reasons. You can't hunt someone down easily with a first name.

posted on May, 29 2015 @ 09:54 AM
The article is so poorly written you can't tell what the device does. What isn't clear here is if this devices sacrifices OPSEC.

Manufacturers design to a specification. You get what you ask for. You get a lot of lip when you try to change a stupid design.

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