60th Maintenance Group takes page from Delta Air Lines

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Alexander Merchak
  • 60th Air Mobility Wing

TRAVIS AIR FORCE BASE, Calif.— Airmen from the 60th Maintenance Group here conduct a week-long maintenance experiment modeled after Delta Air Lines to enhance C-5M Super Galaxy readiness, March 11-19, 2021.

Airmen collaborated with the Air Staff Logistics Directorate’s Tesseract team and key partners from the C-5 program office to implement commercial maintenance practices in scheduling and completing maintenance around flying demands.

“We’re seeing significant readiness gains in our C-5 fleet,” said Dale Patterson, 60th Maintenance Group deputy commander and base lead of project. “The flexibility for aircraft utilization rates means we can produce more when the Tanker Airlift Control Center and nation need us most.”

The practice illustrates how breaking down major maintenance inspection packages into smaller-sized segments allows the maintenance group to optimize home station checks while continuously supporting the flying mission. For example, during the C-5’s week-long home station check, the MXG could ground the aircraft on Monday for scheduled maintenance, fly a mission on Tuesday, then ground it again on Wednesday and Thursday for additional maintenance before flying on Friday.

“This method allows us to opportunistically schedule maintenance more like the airlines do and postures us to meet local training goals as well as any demands the combatant commanders have for airlift that only the C-5 can provide,” said Senior Master Sgt. Joshua Chambliss, 60th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron lead production superintendent.

This accomplishes all required maintenance, meets local flying demands and frees up an aircraft that would otherwise be unavailable to meet local training demands in order to support world-wide TACC taskings.

"The scheduling methods help us optimize how we plan to do maintenance and make sure we kit all the resources necessary to complete the required work, which provides the extra support we need to be as effective as possible," said Chambliss.

The Air Staff-sponsored innovation pathfinder is officially called the Inspection Development Framework and Kitting and is also being implemented at Dover AFB, Delaware.

“This hasn’t been an easy or short path to get to where we are today, but we believe the results are worth the effort to enhance logistics culture in the Air Force,” said Maj. Kelsey Smith, Air Staff Tesseract lead for the pathfinder and a former Delta Air Lines fellow through the Education with Industry program.

Research and recommendations of Airmen assigned to Delta EWI program from the last three years led to the development of IDF and Kitting.

“We were assigned to Delta to learn and bring back concepts relevant to Air Force goals,” said Smith. “The most fun part of this has been building a team, locking arms and learning with our strategic partners at the Georgia Tech Research Institute and Delta Air Lines. These great institutions have signed up to assist the Air Force in research and advisory roles, and this process would not be possible without their tireless efforts working with Airmen.”

The 60th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, Tesseract and Georgia Tech Research Institute discussed how adopting this new maintenance process can decrease the amount of down time during home station checks.

“The maintenance team is looking forward to working shoulder to shoulder with our Tesseract and Georgia Tech partners to implement this process,” said Lt. Col. Justin Hickey, 60th AMXS commander. “By taking a theoretical concept and making it a reality, it will only enhance our readiness capabilities.”