Spark Cell innovation reduces AIR Card paperwork, errors

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Christian Soto
  • 71st Flying Training Wing Public Affairs

VANCE AIR FORCE BASE, Okla. – One of Vance Air Force Base’s Spark Cell innovations is an upgrade to the Aviation Into-plane Reimbursement Card, commonly called the AIR Card.

“Anybody who uses the AIR Card will have their lives made easier,” said 1st Lt. Jonathan Healy, the Spark Cell deputy chief. 

An AIR Card is a government credit card that is used to pay for fuel and aircraft expenses while away from Vance.  

“It basically works as a credit card people use for gas payments,” said Healey. “When a pilot is off station, the AIR Card will pay for the fuel and aircraft expenses. After using the card, the pilot takes the receipt and files a Form 664 to ensure all the expenses seen on the AIR Card are legitimate.” 

Typically, the Form 664 is filled out manually documenting the information from the receipt which includes the tail number, invoice number, and the fuel quantity purchased. 

Sherry Teague, the Wing Refueling Document Control Officer at Vance, describes the filing process as outdated and incredibly labor intensive. 

“It was all being done on paper,” said Teague. “Pilots had to hand write the forms and attach their receipts with their signature. The whole process was done by hand, which resulted in inaccuracies that were time consuming.” 

To create a web-based program that streamlines the process and increases the accuracy of AIR Card transactions, Vance’s Spark Cell upgraded the program. 

“What we are building is a server app that is able to take a picture of a receipt that will automatically pull all the important information,” said Healey. “Essentially, the information recorded will automatically compile a Form 664 and build a reference system to compare to the database.” 

While the program is still in development, Vance aims to be the first installation to have the new AIR Card program up and running.  

“Our vision lets a pilot take a picture of a receipt which will automatically pull the required data and reconcile it against the Air Force database of fuel purchases,” said Capt. Ryan Pritchard, the Spark Cell chief of innovation. “This will shrink what was a time-consuming process down to mere seconds.”