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FRCSW Site Camp Pendleton Inducts Last AH-1W Super Cobra

Artisans at Fleet Readiness Center Southwest (FRCSW) Site Camp Pendleton marked the end of an era July 18 with the induction of the last AH-1W Super Cobra to undergo the Integrated Maintenance Program (IMP).

The H-1W is being retired and replaced with the newer H-1Z Cobra.

“The technology is more advanced in the Z than the W,” said Site Camp Pendleton manager Cary Mocanu. “It has better engines, and the airframe is more rigid and stronger. The W is primarily sheet metal where the Z is more cast aluminum parts.”

Manufactured by Bell Helicopter, the H-1W Cobra twin-engine attack helicopter was created for the Marines. For the past 32 years it has primarily been used in ground support missions and special operations.

The IMP was developed to keep the aircraft mission-ready by targeting the integrity of the airframe through two assessment events: Planned Maintenance Interval-one (PMI-1) and PMI-2.

Mocanu said that the H-1W PMI-1 occurs every 50 days at which time the aircraft are disassembled and evaluated.

Prior to PMI-1, the squadron removes the aircraft’s blades, and the site’s artisans remove the intermediate and tail gear boxes, panels, engines and the transmission and inspect those areas.

“The fuel cells and crew seats are removed and all of the oil, fuel and hydraulic systems hoses are also changed during PMI-1,” Mocanu said.

The H-1W PMI-2 cycle is held every 78 days with inspections similar to those of the PMI-1, except the aircraft are also stripped using a particle media blast (PMB) and painted.

The Site Camp Pendleton staff of approximately 40 artisans and 12 contractors have a paint and PMB facility which provides a faster return of aircraft to the squadrons.

Damages outside of the IMP scope are reported to the squadron and are ordinarily repaired as in-service repairs (ISR).

Mocanu said that H-1W ISRs averaged about 140 per year.

“A lot of those aircraft had the same discrepancies such as the transmission pylon channels, stub wing lugs, 214 bulkhead repairs, and landing gear supports. Many of these issues were the result of hard landings or fatigue to the airframe,” he said.

The H-1W IMP is scheduled for completion by the end of September when the aircraft will be returned to its squadron: Marine Light Helicopter Attack Squadron 775, 4th Marine Aircraft Wing.

Meanwhile, the artisans of Site Camp Pendleton will remain busy continuing IMP procedures to the H-1 Z and the UH-1Y Super Huey.

“We have plenty of work. We have Y and Zs coming up and should be putting out 40-50 aircraft a year within the next couple of years,” Mocanu said.

The last AH-1W Super Cobra helicopter to undergo the Integrated Maintenance Program (IMP) at FRCSW Site Camp Pendleton awaits further processing outside of the hangar. The aircraft was inducted July 18 from Marine Light Helicopter Attack Squadron 775 (HMLA-775), and is scheduled to complete the IMP by the end of September and return to the squadron.

New Vacuum Furnace Heats Up FRCSW LM2500 Engine Program

FRCSW teammates who were instrumental in the procurement, installation and acceptance of the Seco/Warwick Group furnace are, from left, materials engineers Michael Schutt and Jessica Porras, CIP project manager Martha Hoffman, metrology calibration Hung Pham, and material engineers David Arenas and Blake Whitmee.

Fleet Readiness Center Southwest’s (FRCSW) LM2500 engine program will get a bump in production thanks to the recent installation of a new vacuum furnace in Building 379.

The LM2500 turbine is used by the Navy to power Spruance and Kidd-class destroyers, Oliver Hazard Perry-class frigates, Ticonderoga-class cruisers, and Arleigh Burke-class destroyers.

The $1.9 million furnace will be used to “stress test” LM2500 parts. The unit can heat up to 2,800 degrees. After heating and the engine’s metallic components contract, technicians can look for any cracks or flaws and conduct further testing as needed.

It will not be used for the heat treating or plating of LM2500 parts.

Manufactured by the Seco/Warwick Group, the furnace was purchased via FRCSW’s Capital Investment Program (CIP) which invests in new technologies and equipment to improve production efficiencies.

“The furnace was custom made for our use and took almost a year to manufacture,” noted (CIP) project manager Martha Hoffman. “The equipment arrived May 15, and the sign off (acceptance) was July 2.”

The furnace chamber may accommodate components up to 60 inches in diameter and height. It is operated through a Program Logic Control (PLC) interface system that will log and archive events through date, time and duration. The console will also notify the operator if the unit is faulting and location of the fault.

“The PLC is user-friendly. The operator will input the amount of time and temperature for the heating process and if or when the part needs to be turned,” Hoffman said. “The computer will retain that information. So when another part comes in for treatment, the operator will just enter that part number or identifier and will be ready to go. This minimizes the room for error.”

The furnace operates under a chill water and closed-looped system.

“We have a secondary tank for the water and one for the argon (cooling). It’s all regulated by the PLC and the pump so the pressure is the same every time the furnace is used,” Hoffman said.

In addition to maintaining consistent pressure, other safety features include an automatic shut down if the unit exceeds a set temperature or if the argon level falls below a set threshold or its flow is interrupted, and railings and walkways with harnesses for fall protection.

In June, approximately 20 FRCSW personnel completed a 48-hour training session conducted by the manufacturer.

The new unit replaces a model that was more than 50-years old with a four-year history of sporadic operation. Difficulty in maintenance and increasingly obsolete replacement parts often resulted in a 60-80 percent down time, causing some LM2500 work to be contracted out.

Hoffman said that the new unit will save the command about six months in turn-around time per part vice contracted workload, and that 12-15 components will be tested weekly.

FRCSW is scheduled to overhaul about 15 LM2500 engines annually.

FRCSW Environmental and Safety Complete ISO, British Standard Audits

To ensure its procedures are the best possible in its environmental and safety programs, Fleet Readiness Center Southwest (FRCSW) recently completed an International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and British Standard (BS) audit, respectively.

The audits were conducted by Intertek, which issued certificates of registration on June 7.

The ISO 14001 is the standard specification FRCSW follows for its Environmental Management System (EMS). The Intertec audit was an upgrade from the ISO 14001:2004 standard to the ISO 14001:2015.

The BS Occupational Health and Safety Assessment Series 180001 (BS OHSAS 18001:2007) is the standard the command follows for its safety management systems (SMS).

FRCSW established its EMS in 1999 and registered to the ISO 14001 environmental standard that same year as part of its efforts to improve environmental performance on a continual basis. The move distinguished the command as the first federal facility to register to the ISO 14001.

“The EMS is required in a lot of Navy installations, but it is Commander, Fleet Readiness Centers (COMFRC) who is asking us to maintain our EMS to that 14001 standard,” said environmental engineer Shelli Craig.

She said that the 2015 standard requires continual improvement and that performance is measured and now reported to management.

To achieve the upgrade from the ISO 14001:2004 to the 2015 standard, auditors examined all work shifts comprising three years of data and looked for indications of continual improvement over that period. For the upgrade, the data had to indicate and prove that all of the elements of the standards that were previously set as goals were acquired.

“A big change between the 2004 and 2015 standard is now that top management owns the whole system. That includes the commanding and executive officers, the senior civilian and the executive steering committee. So, there’s a lot more buy-in at all levels within the organization,” Craig said.

Other changes reflected in the 2015 standard expands the EMS coverage and scope; requires interactions with external parties; and new documentation, legal compliance, and operational control requirements.

EMS extended staffing includes approximately 30 material management specialists with environmental collateral duties, 10 environmental reps, 17 members of the Environmental Program Office, and six chemical handlers who collect and dispose of hazardous waste.

The EMS oversees six different programs including air, water and pollution prevention. Four environmental protection specialists monitor the EMS in 20 command locations.

“Two of the four walk the entire site every morning on a daily basis,” Craig noted.

Craig said that a recent chemical spill that required the EMS to ensure corrective actions had taken place.

“Chemical handlers collect liquid waste from various parts of the plant and transport it in large tanks to the industrial waste water treatment plant run by contractors here,” she said. “We had a mishap that was contained, nothing escaped to the environment, but the contractors were also ISO-certified required by Naval Facilities Engineering Command (NAVFAC).”

“During the follow-up, I was told they would now lock off some of their connecting hoses so nobody could come to their site and offload waste without knowing about the waste profile. They are contracted for five other sites and made corrections there, as well.”

Craig said that the EMS was cited for one major and three minor discrepancies during the Intertec audit. A few opportunities for improvement (OFI), or recommended actions to prevent findings in the future were also noted.

“Our facility gets continued and repeated high marks for housekeeping,” she said.  “This is a hugely meaningful strength in that the corners are clean, no hazmat all over the place, trash and hazardous wastes are clearly labeled, marked and separated. Good housekeeping speaks to many overlapping areas and gives auditors a sense of a tight ship.”

The OHSAS 18001:2007

Like the ISO 14001:2015, COMFRC created an instruction directing FRCSW to follow the OHSAS 18001:2007 standard. From 2014 to 2016, the command has worked to meet the directive.

Certification and conformance to the OHSAS 18001:2007 is overseen by the command’s Safety Management System (SMS) which was formed in 2014.

The SMS operates under three primary components: An internal audit group which includes a second party auditor from National Technology Associates (NTA) for the evaluation of command spaces; an implementation team comprised of wage grade employees, managers, supervisors, and the same top management personnel who oversee the EMS; and a third party (Intertec) verification and registration to the standard.

The SMS established the criteria used in its internal audit.

“When we meet these criteria, we report up to COMFRC and advance through one of three levels. We’re currently at the Bronze level,” said occupational health and safety specialist Chris Gibson.

“We have about 30 people who manage various FRCSW buildings. They are called ‘champions.’ They meet with the safe site leads who are often wage grade employees that serve as shop safety representatives as a collateral duty to monitor the white communication boards throughout the plant that any employee can express their concern on to help clear any road blocks. And if the champion can’t clear it, he’ll go to the CO,” Gibson said.

Gibson noted that the CO holds a monthly SMS meeting which includes an open forum for wage grade artisans to express their issues and concerns.

A successful SMS or EMS rely upon employee compliance within their daily operations, he said, and that conformance to a standard cannot be achieved without it.

“There’s the specialists, managers and supervisors ensuring compliance. The conformance part comes in if the manager or supervisor is absent or transfers, and the employee acts as if they are still there getting that same message across every day.”

Intertec’s recertification visit consisted of five auditors for a day and a half who cited the SMS for one major and four minor discrepancies.

“I’ve updated some internal policies and procedures to address the findings,” Gibson said. “And also changed policies and procedures of how I interact with the second party auditor and that her actions within the FRC are consistent with what the third party (Intertec) is looking for on their visits. The others were routine like updating a form.”

“We needed to prove to them with audits, metrics, graphs and all documentation that we are doing exactly what we say we are going to do,” Gibson added.

Within three years, the SMS must transition from the BS OHSAS 18001:2007 to the ISO 45001.

Meanwhile, both the EMS and SMS are adapting to the ISO’s new Annex SL, a generic outline applicable to all management systems. With its 10 common clauses addressing issues that include operation, support and improvement, the annex is intended to increase consistency within management system structures.

The next Intertec audit for the EMS and SMS is scheduled for April 2019.

Occupational health and safety specialist Chris Gibson, center, inspects an automated external defibrillator in Building 249 as part of the FRCSW Safety Management System’s internal audit program while National Technology Associates auditor Jeanell Bausback and electrician Ruel Dionisio look on.

NAVAIR, FRCSW Hold Annual Diversity and Inclusion Day

Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) celebrated its annual Diversity and Inclusion Day June 15 aboard Fleet Readiness Center Southwest (FRCSW) to recognize the heritage and many cultures which comprise its active duty and civilian workforce.

Keynote speaker Claude Koehl of Intercultural Services, an organization that helps develop cross-cultural communication and leadership, spoke of the importance in keeping an open mind when developing first impressions.

“We need to go beyond the ‘what we see is what we get’,” she said. “Visual clues and auditory clues need to be questioned because we tend to be a surprising mix of characteristics, interests and experiences.”

“For example, former heavy weight champion Mike Tyson’s hobby is raising pigeons, the very symbol of peace. And NFL running back Herschel Walker practiced ballet as a means of training during his career,” she said.

Koehl concluded her remarks by encouraging the audience to create a dialogue with others as a means to learn about the other person.

“There is no other way to go beyond first impressions and development an accurate three-dimensional read of our social partners unless we ask questions about who they are, how they see themselves and what they like to do,” she said. “If we don’t ask, we won’t really know if they are actually similar or dissimilar to us.”

Afterward, teammates enjoyed West African music and dance by the Teye Sa Thiosanner African Drum and Dance Company. The Hung Vuong Sports Club followed with a traditional Vietnamese lion dance and a kung fu exhibition. The Portuguese American Dancers of San Diego concluded the cultural presentation of the event.

Other festivities during the 90-minute program included a wide range of food from barbeque to Asian and Mexican cuisine and a classic car display.

This year’s event was sponsored by the FRCSW Equal Employment Opportunity Advisory Committee and NAVAIR’s Diversity Advisory Teams, and held at FRCSW’s Building 325 tarmac.




Teye Sa Thiosanner African Drum and Dance Company perform during Naval Air Systems Command’s annual Diversity and Inclusion Day June 15 aboard Fleet Readiness Center Southwest.

FRCSW LM2500 Engine Program Surpasses 40 Years of Service

Routinely recognized for its maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) work on naval aircraft, Fleet Readiness Center Southwest (FRCSW) also stands out as the Navy’s sole source for MRO services to the LM2500 engine.

First used to power the Spruance and Kidd-class destroyers in the 1970s, LM2500 production began in 1969. The engines proved so reliable that their use expanded in the 1980s to include Oliver Hazard Perry-class frigates, Ticonderoga-class cruisers, and Arleigh Burke-class destroyers.

The engine is manufactured by the General Electric Co., and for the past 42 years, FRCSW has worked on the two types of LM2500: single and twin shank, and low power turbine.

FRCSW customers include Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) and foreign navies.

“Low power turbines are treated as a separate component,” noted mechanic Lloyd Apgar. “The engines are gas generators and have a high pressure turbine in them, but that’s part of the engine itself.”

Unlike many aircraft platforms, LM2500 engines are not serviced under a planned maintenance interval; instead, they are repaired for significant cause.

“The engines are usually inducted for hot section degradation, meaning the turbine blades and turbine nozzles are starting to wear as they’re losing power or increasing fuel consumption. At that point they’re turned in for an overhaul,” Apgar said.

Mechanic Hether Troncatti said that during the overhaul procedure the engines are disassembled to their subassemblies (a total of nine components) that include two gearboxes, the compressor, stator casers, and high pressure turbine nozzle.

“We have about 20 people who work in the program. Most are mechanics, but we have four machinists who do things like the grinding of the rotor blades,” she said.

Key to a successful overhaul is the rebuilding of the engine’s compressor, she noted.

“We build the compressor in five different stages starting with the rear shaft,” said aircraft engine repairman Randy Balolong. “We have to make sure the unit is within certain specifications for installation, otherwise vibrations will cause the engine to be rejected.”

A typical engine overhaul requires approximately 3,000 manhours.

In addition to overhauls, the shop also handles service requests that cannot be completed in the fleet.

“NAVSEA may get an engine from a decommissioned ship, for example, and not want to do an overhaul, so we check and test it to make sure it’s still serviceable and it goes back into supply. Some years, we may do up to six of these,” Apgar said.

The FRCSW LM2500 program schedules about 15 engine overhauls annually.



Aircraft engine repairman Randy Balolong uses a dial indicator to check the balancing of an LM2500 engine compressor in Building 472 aboard FRCSW.

NAVAIR Engineers Honored by AIAA-San Diego

Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) engineers were recognized by the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) – San Diego section May 10 for their development of the F/A-18/EA-18G Cabin Pressure Test Laboratory (CPTL) last August.

The AIAA, dedicated to the advancement of aeronautics and astronautics, selected the NAVAIR CPTL under the “Outstanding Achievement by an Aerospace Organization” category during its annual awards banquet held in San Diego.

The CPTL was created to identify the root cause(s) and find solutions to physiological events (PE), or decompression sickness pilots have experienced when flying all variants of the F/A-18 Hornet airframe.

PE symptoms may include dizziness, confusion and even loss of consciousness due to hypoxia, or the lack of an adequate supply of oxygen. To date, more than 500 PEs have been documented.

NAVAIR lead engineer Shawn Alexander and Kyle Zust, F/A-18 Environmental Control Systems Fleet Support Team, formed the engineering team in September 2016 that built the laboratory in Buildings 486 and 487 aboard Fleet Readiness Center Southwest (FRCSW).

The lab is comprised of three major components: A 3,400 cubic feet per minute variable speed industrial pump that generates negative pressure, or a vacuum, an accumulator, and the test chamber.

Aircraft cabin pressure components are placed in the chamber and analyzed via a closed-loop electronic control system and software developed by the NAVAIR team. A closed-loop control system uses feedback signals to make adjustments to itself.

The test chamber is compatible with all single and dual seat F/A-18 variants and has the ability to simulate an aircraft cabin environment from 0 to 50,000 feet, and climb rates exceeding 50,000 feet per minute.

At a cost of approximately $1.8 million, the lab is the only one of its kind that can test cabin pressure components on a system level.

Aerospace engineer Nathan Cox operates the pressurization test lab control station while fellow aerospace engineer Duy Nguyen, foreground, monitors the inside of the test chamber.

FRCSW Earns SECNAV Platinum Level Energy Award

Fleet Readiness Center Southwest (FRCSW) has earned the Secretary of the Navy’s (SECNAV) Fiscal Year (FY) 2017 Energy Conservation and Water Management Platinum level award for FY 2016 environmental accomplishments.

FRCSW’s efforts recognized by the “Platinum” level category designates a “an outstanding” energy and water conservation program, with “…an exceptional year for energy project execution.”

The award is primarily based upon a reduction in utility consumption, noted FRCSW Energy Program Manager Benjamin Green.

During FY 17, the command reduced its combined use of electricity, natural gas and steam by 11.5 percent per square foot from an FY 15 baseline.

Green said that much of the utilities and energy reduction may be attributed to the formation of Energy Savings Performance Contracts (ESPC).

An ESPC is a contract between a federal agency and an energy provider, and does not require congressional funding or up-front capital. ESPCs enable agencies to make facility improvements while simultaneously gaining reduction in energy expenditures.

Energy providers or contractors and new equipment are paid through the energy savings costs generated by the ESPC. Additional energy savings beyond that belong to the agency.

FRCSW established four major ESPCs during FY 16 which addressed lighting and lighting controls; compressed air decentralization and upgrades to the Navy Primary Standards Laboratory heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC); an HVAC retrofit to the calibration laboratory; and water conservation efforts.

The ESPC lighting upgrade included a retrofit of high bay 1,000 watt lamps in the Building 466 paint complex with dual occupancy photocell sensor LEDs, and a retrofit of more than 2,300 fluorescent fixtures with LEDs and occupancy sensors in three other buildings.

Totaling approximately $1,945,661, the lighting retrofits and upgrades will save almost $200,000 annually and over 1,348,000 kilowatt-hours (kWh) per year.

Work to the Navy Primary Standards Laboratory in Building 379 included removal of a single pass water system with a new chiller and boiler system. A solar thermal system for preheating the boiler and hot water heaters was also installed.

Installation of an upgraded wind tunnel system with a variable-frequency drive (VFD) and an energy management control system was added to the lab, as well.

The compressed air decentralization ESPC will garnish more than $1,290,000 in annual savings through the installation of 19 new compressed air plants throughout the command. The consequent air use reduction will exceed 323,160 kCF per year.

A comprehensive HVAC retrofit to Building 463 included the addition of a new chiller that uses oil-free centrifugal compressors and a VFD, and the replacement of 30 rooftop air handlers and conditioners with new efficient units. The move will result in a utility savings of approximately $1,026,000 yearly, and an annual electricity reduction of more than 3,390,000 kWh.

In water conservation efforts, the hot water mixing valves used for wash racks in the paint complex were upgraded to enable adjustable temperatures and shut off capability.

Zero-bleed cooling towers were installed in Buildings 463, 469 and 472. The towers are used to remove calcium, magnesium and particulates from make-up water.

Water conservation programs will save the command over $61,000 in yearly utility savings and reduce annual water usage by 2,460 kGal.

Overall, the total utility cost savings from the ESPCs will exceed $2.4 million annually and a total energy savings of 8,613 British Thermal Units (MMBTU).

Total contract value, which includes equipment operation and maintenance costs for 13 years, is approximately $46,866,000. Guaranteed cost savings to the command is more than $47,658,000.

FRCSW was one of only eight naval commands recognized at the SECNAV Platinum level of achievement in energy and water conservation.

The SECNAV award includes $5,000 which may be earmarked toward future energy conservation efforts within the command.




FRCSW Wheel Shop Keeps Squadrons Rolling

Aviation Structural Mechanic Airman Apprentice Cortland Jiron disassembles a tire from its rim in the FRCSW wheel shop in Building 479.

Like most motorists, aircraft squadrons periodically inspect the tires on their aircraft for any uneven wear, gouges or other damage.

When service to the rims or recycling of the tires is required, they often end up in the Fleet Readiness Center Southwest (FRCSW) wheel shop in Building 472.

Staffed by six Sailors, three of whom are Sea Operational Detachment (SEAOPDET) providing afloat maintenance service to their respective squadrons, the shop primarily services squadrons from Naval Air Station North Island, but may handle the needs of squadrons assigned elsewhere.

Tires and rims routinely serviced include those of the C-2 transport Greyhound, the SH-60 Seahawk multi-mission helicopter, and the P-3 Orion turboprop anti-submarine and maritime surveillance aircraft.

Tires and wheels of the F/A-18 Hornet fighter are handled by the FRCSW’s depot-level artisans.

“Before the rims are sent here, they undergo a non-destructive inspection by a separate shop,” said Aviation Structural Mechanic 2nd Class Alexander Sloush, leading petty officer of the shop. “We provide intermediate-level maintenance to the tire and wheel assemblies and do our own visual inspections.”

“We order replacement parts that are determined as beyond capability of maintenance (BCM) and don’t pass inspection. When the part arrives, we’ll rebuild the assembly for reissue.”

The wheel shop processes an average of 70 tires and rims a month.






FRCs Slated for Production Quality Makeover

Production quality throughout the Fleet Readiness Center (FRC) domain will undergo a transformation through a concerted effort from artisans to senior leadership by the end of this year.

Fleet Readiness Center Southwest (FRCSW) Quality Manager Adam Kimmerly said that a COMFRC policy (COMFRCINST 48855.1) released late last year directed the formation of Integrated Quality Teams (IQT) as part of the FRC-wide Quality Management System (QMS).

The QMS targets production quality and delivery of products to the fleet.

“IQTs are an integrated product type structure which brings people from different competencies together to fulfill a specific task. And the task is to enforce quality in our industrial production shops,” Kimmerly said.

“That will encompass everything from new item manufacturing to basically all of the depot-level production that we do here (maintenance, repair, and overhaul),” he added.

Tiers and Teams

The IQTs will be divided into three tiers:

The Tier 1 team is at the COMFRC level and manages the overall program.

The Tier 2 team is located at each FRC and is led by the quality manager and consists of top-level leadership across the production industrial spectrum, including engineering, logistics and industrial operations, industrial production and COMFRC’s industrial production, and safety and environmental compliance.

“These are the members that will manage the implementation of the COMFRC quality policy at the FRC level,” Kimmerly noted.

The Tier 3 team is aligned to the production integrated product teams.

“For example, here we’re going to have 11 IQTs. The first three we established are aligned to the processing and manufacturing side of things that includes plating, paint, machining, NDI, and heat treat — kind of building our foundation and getting our QMS implemented,” Kimmerly said.

Three IQTs were formed during the spring to manage component overhaul including avionics, hydraulics and dynamic components.

By the end of June three IQT leads will be assigned to the aircraft production lines: F/A-18 legacy, Super Hornet, and EA-18G, the E-2/C-2 and Vertical Lift.

Lastly, two IQTs will be established during the summer for all engines, the test line, voyage repair team, and FRCSW detachments.

All IQTs should be fully operational by Dec. 31, 2018.

“Each of the Tier 3 IQTs is led by an industrial engineer who has a background in process control, quality management, and continuous process improvement,” Kimmerly said.

With a focus on Lean and Six Sigma, the foundations of AIRSpeed, the engineers hold Green and/or are working toward Black Belt certifications, Kimmerly added.

Operational Targets

The IQTs will target four operational areas identified by COMFRC to enforce production quality: personnel, technical publications, work documentation, and tooling and equipment.

Personnel issues will address staffing and training needs, and ensure artisans have the appropriate certifications and proficiency levels required for their jobs.

“We need good technical publications that are clear in what they are requiring, are available to the people who use them so they have access to the most current version of the tech pub, and are up-to-date with the latest and accurate processes,” Kimmerly said.

Creating work documentation that accurately reflects the processes in tech pubs and provides artisans with clear instructions on what they are supposed to do, will provide traceability to what work was done.

“When an operation is completed it needs to be clearly documented on paper, or electronically, in the future. This way we can tell if a landing gear component was inspected properly and what the results of that inspection were, for example,” Kimmerly said.

Reliable machinery and equipment must consistently be available to artisans for them to perform their work.

“How each of the IQTs focus on these things will probably vary a bit depending on what the major problems are on their areas of focus, and what’s hindering production and impacting quality,” Kimmerly noted.

An Overhaul On How We Do Things

“In the past, the FRCs relied strictly on our industrial quality department to manage quality,” Kimmerly said. “And after some of the quality escape experiences, it was decided that we need some degree of engineering involvement or oversight with respect to quality.”

“Typically, in the aerospace industry, there is a quality engineering department and we haven’t had that until now. So this is really a new structure and new alignment of quality to engineering.”

Kimmerly stressed that the existing Quality Assurance (QA) department will not be altered.

“We need their support more than ever to help implement this quality management system, and provide their expertise in audits and in QA and product conforming verification,” he said.

Getting a jump on the official release of the COMFRC policy, FRCSW established the first FRC IQT in June 2017 at its canopies and windscreen and flight controls shop. Since then, the shops have already seen benefits.

“In one case, the IQT identified a need for a design change to a part on an F/A-18 windscreen. The design was a little too thick causing the windshield assembly to delaminate and fail prematurely. The artisans knew that and often saw it, but that feedback never got back to engineering to trigger that change to happen. So the IQT helped to facilitate that feedback loop and helped to initiate that design change,” Kimmerly explained.

“Also, some of the windshields were getting dented because the work stands they were being stored on didn’t have the right padding in the right places. So we were causing discrepancy work orders to fix a problem that we were causing because our work stands were insufficient. That triggered a change to the work stands to reduce damage and improve the overall quality.”

Kimmerly said that IQT leads will routinely walk through the shops to identify issues and problems the artisans may be experiencing and review quality data on a monthly basis.

“This whole structure is new and it is within industry standards to have quality engineers to manage this stuff,” he said.






From his office in Building 378 aboard Fleet Readiness Center Southwest, quality manager Adam Kimmerly is assembling Integrated Quality Teams (IQT) at the command as part of the FRC-wide Quality Management System to improve production and delivery of products to the fleet.