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Team Fairchild modernizes KC-135, saves USAF 200K

  • Published
  • By By Senior Airman Nick J. Daniello
  • 92nd Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs

FAIRCHILD AIR FORCE BASE, Wash. -- Two Airmen from the 92nd Maintenance Group Air Force Repair Enhancement Program here have saved the Air Force more than $200,000 since March.

"The basis of the AFREP program is to save money and is categorized into two separate categories: cost savings and cost avoidance," said Master Sgt. Gavin Douglas, 92nd MXG AFREP program manager. "Cost savings is taking aircraft items that are typically thrown away and instead refurbish them. [Instead] we can spend probably $2,000 to repair an item to put a $10,000 asset back into the Air Force inventory."

Not only does AFREP locate aged equipment and revitalize it for further service, they also reinvigorate and modernize fabrications to better serve Airmen and their missions.

Most notably, the two-man AFREP team has lead the initiative in developing tablet mounts for the KC-135 Stratotanker flight deck and boom pods for aircrews to operate more safely and effectively. By doing so, AFREP has streamlined aircrew access to checklists, maps, line of sight for gauges and flight equipment, and allows aircrews to operate more safely and effectively.

"The mount we have now is a prototype and was designed especially for our aircraft. It has a quick release mechanism so aircrew can remove the tablet and take it with them," said Staff Sgt. Tyler Ferris, 92nd MXG AFREP technician. "Its also adjustable, so if they change tablets in the future, they'll be able to put the new ones in."

From working with sheet metal and metals technology to receiving feedback from pilots and boom operators, Douglas and Ferris have worked tirelessly to engineer the streamlined tablet mount that will better serve the overall flying mission.

"Before, pilots used a strap on their knee, which was causing us to look completely away from our instruments; some pilots would even take it off their knee and put it on the ground which keeps them from constantly looking at the control plate," said Capt. Sarah Cipolla, 92nd Air Refueling Squadron pilot. "Utilizing the tablet mount is allowing me to keep a streamlined cross-check so I'm not having to look away and get disoriented, or lose sight of my airspeed and altitude."

With this mount and its versatile capabilities, it is foreseen that it could be adapted to various aircraft within the Air Force. Not only will this project modernize the Team Fairchild air refueling mission, it has the potential to impact the entire flying mission of the Air Force.