LR WERX bright idea earns golden ticket

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Kate Bragg
  • 307th Bomb Wing

Just like the kids from “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory”, LR WERX scored a golden ticket for their pitch at the 2021 Strike Tank Innovation Rodeo here, but unlike Veruca Salt, their bright idea was deemed a “good egg.”

 “Golden tickets” are certificates that were presented to Strike Tank winners telling them that their projects will be granted funding and assistance to help make them a reality.

The LR WERX team was presented a golden ticket for their new aircraft map light prototype.

Many ideas were pitched to the panel, but only a select few received a golden ticket and funding to go with it.

According to U.S. Air Force Maj. Brandon Wolf, director of LR WERX, their team’s pitch was for a map light designed to include a USB charging port that would be mounted in a B-52 Stratofortress.

There are currently no USB ports in the B-52. This innovative map light would give pilots the ability to charge their electronic flight books while in flight and would also upgrade the map light technology to LED lighting.

According to Wolf, they received $15,000 to produce a first batch to outfit an aircraft for the 2nd Bomb Wing and for the 343d Bomb Squadron. Three lights will be mounted in each aircraft and each light costs around $2,800 to produce.

“We’re are going to try these out, make sure they meet all the specifications and once we get the first batch in and use them, then we can set up the modification process for the entire fleet,” Wolf said.

According to Wolf, the map lights would draw power from the aircraft and give the pilots the capability of having their electronic flight books on the entire flight no matter how long the flight is.

“Having this capability is like unlimited use,” he said. “This is huge because it builds our situational awareness.”

More ideas are in the pipeline at LR WERX, but Wolf wanted to emphasize the need to hear more innovative ideas from around the wing, regardless of rank or duty title.

“If everyone has these good ideas and they’re just kind of sitting on them because they don’t know what to do with them then we get into the same old way we’ve always done it,” he said. “We need to find out where those good ideas are and keep chipping away to try and get those ideas to reality.”