Author: Stephen Jogerst
Company: 436 MXG USAF
Email: (302) 677-2193
Aircraft maintenance personnel have no method to search or retrieve historic maintenance data by precise coordinates on a given aircraft. This capability limitation of the current Maintenance Data Collection (MDC) systems has resulted in countless instances in which maintainers are unable to determine whether a specific job has been previously evaluated, deemed within limits, or if it is new and requires further evaluation. This has led to significant rework of structural defects like dents, gouges, and punctures of aircraft structures.
The inclusion of a method to input, track, and query a defect’s precise location in current MDC systems will provide maintainers with vital information and prepare them to make better informed decisions. When a maintainer enters a discrepancy against an aircraft, the MDC system should ask the user for technical data derived coordinates of the discrepancy. Once stored, this data can be searched for historic reference. Further, this data could be utilized to generate graphical maps and visual discrepancy diagrams.
To demonstrate this concept, the 436 MXG Continuous Process Improvement office conducted root-cause analysis and built an in-house database called the “C-5M Cargo Floor Mapper.” The system stores and retrieves discrepancy data associated to tech data derived Cartesian Coordinates. Additionally, the database then renders a simple visual map of the cargo floor and assigns an appropriate symbol to each defect at their precise location. Arming maintenance personnel with a map, maintainers are empowered to make informed decisions about whether a discrepancy was previously evaluated, or is new. This demonstration project has been limited to the cargo floor on C-5Ms at Dover AFB, but in principal could be applied to the entire structure of any weapon system.
Analysis of FY’17 data for C-5Ms at Dover AFB suggests an estimated 5,000 man-hours was expended by the 436 MXS Aircraft Structural Maintenance section in potential rework, which accounted for nearly 23% of all dispatched jobs that year. These figures can be multiplied across DoD flying units.
Due to the scalability of this project to affect units across the DoD, we expect a rapid return on investment upon completion. Additional benefits may include increased collaboration between maintenance personnel and engineers, and could even enable data intensive analysis methods such as “heat” mapping to show damage trends over time. To accomplish this, MDC system owners will need to allocate funding and requirements information to database engineers already employed to maintain MDC systems. These engineers can be tasked to implement the principals of operation demonstrated in Dover’s Floor Mapper Database. The proposal does not require the purchase or development of equipment. The implementation structure for software development is already in place and robust.