Flying with Tablet Command

Posted by William Pigeon on Mar 30, 2023 9:15:00 AM
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I was selected for flight rescue training early in my career as a firefighter/paramedic. Training started on the ground, running through some pre-hoist/rescue checklists. The crew chief called out: "Power to the cable cutter," the pilot responded, "Check." After two rounds, I asked, "What is the cable cutter?" The crew chief explained that the pilot could activate a demolition charge in the hoist that would sever the cable and drop the load if it became tangled, or if the aircraft suffered a mechanical failure. I paused for a second and realized that I was the load!  It turns out there were not one but two ways to cut me – the load – from the aircraft.

This experience made me realize how vital aviation safety is. Every decision and action the flight crew takes impacts safety. While in flight, crews may monitor multiple radio channels or use mobile applications to support effective decision-making, such as iOS applications including ForeFlight Mobile and Tablet Command.

ForeFlight Mobile is a powerful aviation app that provides real-time weather updates, flight planning tools, and communication with other pilots and ground teams. Pilots regularly use ForeFlight Mobile to check the weather and their routes through the airspace and, if needed, ultimately file their flight plans.


Tablet Command is a mission-critical response solution that provides instantaneous notifications and real-time status updates of incidents. Together, these two tools offer a comprehensive and effective solution for improving air operation response.

From within Tablet Command, the flight crew has access to real-time information, including call details, incident location, customized fire operations maps, units assigned, the location of field units in near real-time, and, most importantly, the location of the ground contact. Tablet Command allows a crew to make more informed decisions and respond more effectively. Having this information at their fingertips allows them to glance at it and make decisions while focusing on their safety.

The integration between ForeFlight Mobile and Tablet Command makes both applications more robust and contributes to the efficiency of flight crews. A user can tap Navigate, and ForeFlight Mobile is launched, directly routing the incident location. The integration saves the pilot time and potential error by passing the incident location latitude/longitude to the ForeFlight mobile. One EMS pilot shared that this reduces their response by up to 10 minutes.

In California, the state’s Fire Agency, CalFire, has been upgrading its rotary wing from Super Hueys to Sikorsky S70i Firehawks since being approved by the Governor’s Office in 2018. In December 2022, CAL Fire San Bernardino Unit (BDU) announced the deployment of Copter 305, a Sikorsky S70i Firehawk. This Firehawk, and others throughout California, utilize Tablet Command and Foreflight Mobile. Tablet Command helps provide the crews instant notification of incidents, resulting in safer, more efficient air operations.


Tablet Command continues to bring real-time information to Public Safety, intuitively and reliably. For more information, visit

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