8-steps to fight tonight: MXS Airmen create innovative process to repair aircraft

by Senior Airman Kristin High, 51st Fighter Wing Public Affairs
Osan Air Base

OSAN AIR BASE, Republic of Korea -- Airmen from the 51st Maintenance Squadron aircraft fuels system repair shop have an important job in helping keep aircraft ready to take-off at a moment's notice.

To ensure the aircraft are indeed ready to "fight tonight," the Airmen are responsible for necessary preventative maintenance, decreasing the probability of an accident involving the aircraft fuel systems; and quickly repairing broken aircraft so they are able to fly again.

Processes can include working in-and-out of fuel tanks to remove, repair, inspect, install and modify aircraft fuel systems; diagnosing component malfunctions; and performing maintenance on the tanks and themselves.

Although the job has technical orders, or TOs, ensuring processes are completed correctly, it's not always in a timely manner because of other underlying issues that may be found.

The fuels system repair shop Airmen here developed an eight-step process to correlate with the TOs in order to find all problems and repair them, rather than finding them individually over time.

"Essentially, the new system helps to judge the amount of repairs an aircraft will need," said Airman 1st Class Kyle Keirns, 51st MXS aircraft fuels systems journeyman.

The process took a great deal of trial and error to develop.

"We began with how fuels maintenance affected aircraft availability," said Tech. Sgt. Jason Levesque, 51st MXS aircraft fuels systems repair craftsman. "We gathered fuels avionics, crew chiefs, weapons and production superintendents and asked how fuel affected their career fields.

"What are some similarities in the aircraft break out processes that are shared with fuels?" He continued, "Essentially, we developed counter measures from the root causes."

Currently the way the process is designed, the completion of the eight-step will be in six months.
Aircraft fuel systems are complex, and Levesque along with nine other Airmen, worked on the processes to ensure their tasks were carried out, not only correctly, but ensuring future incidents were prevented.

"I developed a component isolation slide show from the fault isolation technical order," said Levesque. "When a repair is made, we can find multiple broken lines or components not associated with the original faults. I briefed how testing the entire aircraft can potentially prevent in flight emergencies, ground aborts and mission impaired capability awaiting parts."

With the added measures of the eight-step process, overall proficiency level along with aircraft reliability will rise.

"In the long term, our fuels system repair Airmen will have invaluable access to train on the aircraft before it effects mission requirements," said Levesque. "The Osan mission will gain experienced fuel maintainers and aircraft reliability ensuring our pilots are truly ready to 'fight tonight'."

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