Maintaining effectiveness
Airman 1st Class James Griffith, 60th Equipment Maintenance Squadron fabrication sheet metal technician, inspects each individual screw on a wing flap section of a C-5 Globemaster III. This tedious task is part of the Isochronal inspection performed every 420 days on the aircraft. The 60th EMS recently won the 2006 Air Mobility Command’s Maintenance Effectiveness Award. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Donald Osborn)
60th EMS wins AMC Maintenance Effectiveness Award

by Tech. Sgt. Donald Osborn
60th Air Mobility Wing Public Affairs

3/6/2007 - TRAVIS AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- The 60th Equipment Maintenance Squadron recently won the 2006 Air Mobility Command's Maintenance Effectiveness Award.

"This award is the premier honor for the aircraft maintenance community," said Maj. Robert Bandstra, 60th EMS maintenance operations officer. "We take pride the capabilities and services we provide for the Air Force."

The 60th EMS, along with their 349th EMS Reserve counterparts, accomplished 50 C-5 Home-Station checks, 18 C-5 Isochronal inspections and 41 KC-10 A-check inspections.

All Travis aircraft are due for Home-station checks every 105 days and Isochronal inspections every 420 days. The Isochronal inspections are considered major inspections and repairs. This is where the aircraft is virtually stripped down and everything is repaired from the fuselage to the wings all the way down to the struts and tires on the landing gear.

Home-station checks are considered minor inspections. Although Home-station checks are very important, they don't go as far in depth as an Isochronal inspection.

"We can complete an Isochronal inspection in an average time of about two weeks," said Senior Master Sgt. Marcus Reich, 60th EMS maintenance flight chief. "This includes getting the aircraft in the hangar, finding and fixing repairs, and replacing parts."

The self-sufficient mentality of the 60th EMS also led to establishing many new capabilities to provide support for the entire C-5 fleet at Travis. This saved the Air Force more then $48 million, producing more than 1,500 mission capable hours and helped generate two C-5 aircraft for the command. The 60th EMS did all of this while also supporting the Global War on Terror in Afghanistan and Iraq.

One of the unique aspects about the 60th EMS is their fabrication capabilities. Along with all of the other maintenance tasks they perform, they actually make their own parts that need to be replaced on the aircraft.

"We compare our fabrication technicians to the Monster Garage," said Senior Master Sgt. Rodney Miller, 60th EMS fabrications flight chief. "They can replicate and manufacture any part that goes on this aircraft."

According to Sergeant Miller, if a particular part on an aircraft is broken, that becomes an indicator for them to check the same part on the other aircraft in the fleet.

"Our motto here is 'It ain't broken until we say it's broken,'" said Sergeant Miller.
Replicating and manufacturing parts is not the only thing these technicians are capable of doing. They actually improve some of the parts that were originally manufactured for the aircraft.

"When we identify a part that needs to be upgraded, we make the new part and send it up to the engineers of the aircraft," said Mr. Fred Story, 60th EMS fabrications foreman. "They in-turn look at the new part and approve it for our technical orders."

When a newly fabricated part gets approved by the engineers, it is introduced to the entire fleet in the Air Force. This saves the Air Force millions of dollars each year in replacement parts from other companies.

The men and women of the 60th EMS are the ones behind the scenes, making sure Travis aircraft get off of the ground so we can take the fight to the enemy.

"Although we take responsibility for the maintenance and repair of the aircraft," said Sergeant Reich. "We couldn't get it done without the support we get from other squadrons who help in maintaining our fleet here."