Mobility Airmen partner to streamline periodic inspections

The 92nd and 141st Maintenance Squadrons and the 92nd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron and work on the last Periodic Inspection of the year Dec. 9, 2015, at Fairchild Air Force Base, Wash. During the initial phase of PE, panels are removed from the jet and Airmen look for discrepancies. Approximately 1,200 maintenance actions are found and completed throughout every PE. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Mackenzie Richardson)

The 92nd and 141st Maintenance Squadrons and the 92nd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron work on the last periodic inspection of the year Dec. 9, 2015, at Fairchild Air Force Base, Washington. During the initial phase of PE, panels are removed from the jet and Airmen look for discrepancies. Approximately 1,200 maintenance actions are found and completed throughout every PE. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Mackenzie Richardson)

FAIRCHILD AIR FORCE BASE, Wash. --

The periodic inspection is the largest and most in-depth inspection Fairchild maintainers conduct on a seasoned KC-135 Stratotanker.

Often referred to as PE or ISO, the inspection is conducted every 24 months, 1,800 flight hours or 1,000 landings. On average, the 92nd and 141st Maintenance Squadrons conduct 12 PEs a year.

Throughout March, the 92nd MXS and 141st MXS held a continuous process improvement event to identify limiting factors throughout the PE. The process brought a team of subject matter experts together, including a CPI facilitator from Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washtington, in a series of meetings to discuss ways to maximize maintainer’s efforts, and save time where possible without compromising high quality maintenance.

“Quality is of primary importance due to the age of the aircraft and the need to fly the KC-135 for several more decades," said Maj. Robert Corsi, 92nd MXS commander. "Maintainers of the 92nd MXS will make flying this aircraft until 2040 a reality. The 92nd MXS handles all of the heavy maintenance for the KC-135 at Fairchild. This CPI is just the start to ensure we will be able to meet future requirements; the ISO and the maintainers who perform them are key to meeting those requirements.”

The team discussed each area of the PE, inspection requirements and how to best meet Air Mobility Command and local guidance. This guidance includes time constraints and strict technical orders on how to properly repair every aspect of the jet. Being able to determine an appropriate amount of time to commit to each PE, the 92nd and 141st MXS will be able to better forecast the PE lineup throughout the calendar year.

“The CPI is a multi-phase improvement plan where we discuss the areas of consideration for improvement, brainstorm ideas to streamline processes, implement those changes and track our progress,” said Master Sgt. Simon Fancher, 92nd MXS maintenance flight superintendent. “By monitoring these changes over several months, we can see exactly how those changes are effecting efficiency of the PE process to better support the demands of the mission.”

With discrepancies averaging between 700 and 900 for each jet, engineering technical assistance requests on the rise, and training hurdles for new Airmen, major fixes are requiring more time and more outside expertise. The 92nd and 141st MXSs hope to identify inefficient PE aspects to help improve the overall process and give more time back to maintainers to focus on major fixes.

“Considering the current health of our fleet coupled with the increased utilization rates, this CPI alone will be one of our largest ventures this year,” Fancher said. “We hope to provide the biggest time savings impact our maintenance community has seen in a long time.”