Analysis, documentation keep aircraft safe

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Janiqua Robinson
  • 23 Wing Public Affairs
Two sections of the 23d Maintenance Operation Flight use data to paint a picture of aircraft health, here.

The plans, scheduling and documentation section, or PSD, enters data about maintenance into the Integrated Maintenance Data System (IMDS). Afterwards, maintenance management analysis, or MMA, collects and analyzes that data, which can help make decisions for the future.

The data, entered into historical reports and special studies, provides leadership pertinent information to justify additional funding or assistance from congress.

Before MMA can have data to analyze, PSD must put together flying schedules, order parts, schedule maintenance and assign aircraft to missions.

"We have our hands all over the place in regard to the maintenance of the aircraft and helping schedule the aircraft to fly missions," said U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Sandra Cajigas-Medina, 23d MOF PSD section chief. "It can be difficult at times, and things don't always go as planned, but ultimately we move on to the alternate plan and we make it work."

PSD also inputs pre-flight and post flight data about the aircraft into IMDS. This includes flight data, aircraft status, unscheduled maintenance, in-flight breaks, pre-flight breaks or any discrepancy identified. This data is used to keep track of what has and what needs to be done to the aircraft.

Adverse trends are monitored and reported to leadership. If the trend is severe, the data can be used to create a Time Compliance Technical Order that tells the type of maintenance an aircraft needs and when it has to be completed.

"These TCTOs could be a safety of flight issue," said Cajigas-Medina. "It's extremely important that they get done because they could ultimately lead to the failure of the aircraft."

Airman 1st Class Kevin Ford, 23d MOF PSD time compliance technical order monitor, observes the TCTO from cradle to grave. If they are not accomplished within the required time the aircraft will not be allowed to fly.

"We keep track of each particular part or aircraft and we'll create jobs," said Ford. "When the job is complete the [maintenance unit] will sign off on the job. That way I can keep track of what is and is not done and I can act [accordingly]."

In addition to TCTOs, PSD also keeps track of time change items. These TCIs are items that tend to break after a certain amount of uses or period of time used and must be replaced.

"When we're tracking the TCIs, we [project] ahead, order the parts and coordinate with the schedulers in each respective squadron," said Staff Sgt.  Justin Sieg, 23d MOF PSD lead time change monitor. "They'll look at their weekly and monthly schedules and coordinate with the flight line about what needs to be done and when they can do it."

If there's data to prove an engine component fails after 600 hours of flight-time, there will be a TCI written to make it mandatory for that component to be replaced before it goes over 600 hours.

"That's actually where analysis comes in," said Cajigas-Medina. "They find these things out through the data that's put into the maintenance information system."

It is crucial that PSD inputs the data into IMDS correctly. If that engine component can only fly 600 hours, but the data entered says 6,000, that part will be flown for 5,400 hours more than it's supposed to, which could have catastrophic consequences, said Cajigas-Medina.

"A lot of times the [MMA] will do studies on this and produce results that can get put into TCTOs, saying this is something we need to start changing after so many uses or hours," Cajigas-Medina added.

MMA collects and evaluates the maintenance that has already been done to the aircraft and finds trends that are negatively affecting them.  They are responsible for the data here, at Nellis AFB Nev., and Davis-Monthan AFB Ariz.

Airmen from MMA analyze the data entered into IMDS and are able to see what problems reoccur and why.

"We are the liaison between the IMDS and leadership to show adverse trends and to brief the colonels, or whoever may ask, on the health of the actual fleet," said Senior Airman Austin Alcala, 23d MOF MMA wing analyst.

Whether it's scheduling maintenance, assigning aircraft to missions, analyzing data or reporting findings to leadership, each member works toward a common goal.

"We track the A-10 [and use that data to] tell you whether it's that specific A-10 that's having an issue or whether that issue has actually spread across the fleet," said Alcala. "We go into the system and run reports to show how many breaks occurred, and then break it down by months and say this many parts broke this month.

"We then look at what actually happened to the part and how we fixed it," Alcala added.

MMA and PSD ensure everyone involved in keeping Moody's aircraft maintained work together to get the job done. Aircraft cannot be repaired, assigned to missions, or safely launch without MMA and PSD effectively doing their jobs.

"When these planes get out the door and they do their mission, we know that we did everything in our power to make sure they were successful," said Cajigas-Medina.