Bird book: 48th MXG innovates for readiness
By Airman 1st Class Shanice Williams-Jones, 48th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
/ Published September 09, 2019
ROYAL AIR FORCE LAKENHEATH, England --
Tactical Aircraft Maintainers are the primary technicians ensuring the United States Air Force's warfighting machines stay airborne and ready for combat. Among this group of Liberty Wing Airmen is the phase and inspection team.
The 48th Equipment Maintenance Squadron recently won the Innovation and Transformation Council award for developing and implementing an F-15 inspection tool called “The Bird Book.”
The Bird Book is a collection of mechanical and troubleshooting processes for the F-15 aircraft assigned to the 48th Fighter Wing, closing the training gap for newly assigned crew chiefs.
“The book is a compilation of common discrepancies and trends we’ve found during phase inspections that many Airmen new to phase may not be familiar with,” said Tech. Sgt. Christopher Korbut, 48th EMS Inspection section dock chief. “The goal was to have a single source that can be used for training and task execution across the board.”
In order to repair the aircraft, maintainers have to go through several points of contact to execute reparation. The 48th EMS innovators created the six-volume set of references to target specific critical areas of inspection and uncommon discrepancies.
“This is one of the busiest wings in the theater. In order for us to keep our aircraft maintained to sustain this rapid tempo, it’s important for us to evolve and stay ahead in our training,” said Master Sgt. Alan Houghtelin, 48th EMS Inspection section chief. “The idea isn’t to replace technical orders, it’s a supplement to the things the T.O.s do not specify. It is primarily a photographic reference in conjunction with approved aircraft-specific technical guidance.”
Technical orders are manuals that provide step-by-step instructions to complete a technical task. Phase inspections are sections of inspections that take place every 400 flight hour and focus on structural and systems integrity of the aircraft.
Crew chiefs in all capacities of aircraft maintenance are tasked with a high level of responsibility. One small oversight can lead to the death or injury of their fellow Airmen and the destruction to assets worth millions of dollars.
Since the implementation of the Bird Book, Quality Assurance pass rates increased 11% and the newly assigned crew chiefs are feeling more comfortable with inspecting aircraft, according to Houghtelin. The book has increased findings and decreased man-hours, giving time back to Liberty Wing maintainers.
Through innovation, the Airmen of the 48th EMS improved continuity of experience and training while maintaining readiness, ensuring the F-15E Strike Eagles and F-15C Eagles remain elite machines capable of delivering dynamic air power for U.S. Air Forces in Europe and Air Forces Africa’s premier combat wing.