HOLLOMAN AIR FORCE BASE, N.M. --
The U.S. Air Force supports and recognizes innovation from its Airmen. When faced with a challenge, Airmen are empowered to develop innovative solutions and alternatives to obstacles they may face.
In line with the U.S. Air Force’s encouragement to inspire innovation, the 49th Component Maintenance Squadron developed an innovative solution to maintain readiness by continually providing and maintaining operational engines.
Due to the lack of available parts, the 49th CMS found themselves in a position where their ability to produce mission-ready engines does not meet the demand.
“We’ve gotten to the point where we’ve had some of our aircraft remain without an engine installed because we did not have an engine ready to provide,” said Maj. Donald Bolda, 49th CMS commander. “This is not a result of bad mechanics, it’s a result of not enough parts to keep up with the burn rate of when these engines run out of fly-time.”
To mitigate this ongoing issue, the 49th CMS utilizes every resource available to ensure the maximum amount of operational engines are available for use at Holloman AFB.
“One thing we do is called, ‘canning,’ where we take the good parts from multiple engines, which don’t work, and put them all into one,” said 2nd Lt. Ziporah Krolikowski, 49th CMS propulsions officer in charge. “So we at least have one good engine instead of none that work at all.”
In addition to their ‘canning’ process, the 49th CMS also has improved their personal protective equipment and communication capabilities to enhance productivity and safety while conducting engine maintenance.
“We have embraced innovative ideas such as advanced wireless noise-canceling ear protection technologies, which allow technicians to communicate easily and safely,” said Bolda. “This is particularly critical while an “uninstalled” engine is in afterburner to run diagnostics and certify it is another “war ready” multifunctional engine to provide Airpower for America.”
Greg Payseno, 49th Propulsion flight supervisor, said the 49th CMS also ensures all the engines are being utilized out on the flightline as much as possible before they return to the squadron for repairs. Additionally, they will request an extension for various engine components to allow the engine to remain operational and available for mission requirements.
“The real secret to our success is our diverse set of amazing Airmen taking care of each other, especially in times like these,” said Bolda. “There is no efficiency software out there that can compete with the Airpower production generated by our culture of taking care of our Airmen and their families.”
Readiness to accomplish the wing’s mission, despite any obstacles, remains a priority for 49th Wing leadership. The 49th CMS demonstrates its continued contribution to mission readiness by utilizing innovative alternatives to increase capabilities while combatting obstacles.