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730th AMS NCO applies innovation to career field specialty

  • Published
  • By Master Sgt. Kristine Dreyer
  • Air Mobility Command Public Affairs

YOKOTA AIR BASE, Japan -- As Mobility aircraft move through the Pacific, they rely on the skill of Air Mobility Command aircraft maintainers to provide en route maintenance so aircrews can execute their missions. 

Skilled and qualified, 730th Air Mobility Squadron maintainers here are prepared to provide ground maintenance and service all AMC aircraft, keeping them flying in the Department of Defense’s largest area of responsibility.    

With no AMC aircraft permanently assigned, aircraft maintainers must use innovation to keep all Mobility Airmen trained and proficient.

Tech. Sgt. Cory Kozlowski, 730th AMS lead technician for jets, is currently working with an application company and the Air Force Material Command to create a training program using mixed virtual reality.

He shared his innovative project with the AMC command chief during her base visit here June 27.

“Applying this kind of technology to your specialty is innovation, plain and simple,” said Chief Master Sgt. Shelina Frey, AMC command chief, during the demonstration. “This is how today’s Airmen are learning. This is a prime example of how innovation will help our Airmen meet their true potential.”

While wearing a set of mixed virtual reality glasses, which costs about the same as a laptop, Airmen will be able to work on a hologram image of the aircraft they are training on. This will help familiarize Airmen with different scenarios.

“Mixed virtual reality means you can see the real world, and you can see the hologram of the piece of equipment you would like to train on,” said Kozlowski. “The program is adaptable to any situation.”

Once Airmen are ready to work on actual aircraft, they will still benefit from the glasses by having the ability use video chat for help or guidance from a supervisor, quality control Airmen or trainer from anywhere in the world.  

“Imagine one of our crew chiefs in Diego Garcia is working on a broken avionics part,” said Kozlowski. “We could use these glasses to help him fix it every step of the way.”

During the demonstration, Frey wore the mixed virtual reality glasses to see how valuable this training could be for AMC’s maintainers.

“It becomes a positive learning environment because this is what our young Airmen are into,” said Frey. “This takes online how-to videos to the next level. The interaction and connectivity provided by this invention saves time and money far exceeding the cost of the glasses.”

As the maintenance expert working with the application company, Kozlowski works to include every aspect of training and safety into the program. 

Core Automated Maintenance System and G081 systems are programs used to build work orders and order parts needed to repair aircraft. Both programs will be built into the mixed virtual reality program with checks and balances to help ensure the correct parts are ordered every time while allowing everyone from the production superintendent to higher headquarters access to see status of aircraft at any given time.

“One of our largest write ups is forms and documentation because it takes up quite a bit of time,” said Kozlowski. “By the time I go out to the aircraft, I spend 20 minutes documenting and taking the form back to the maintenance control center for a job control number. This program will make that all automatic. Twenty seconds, and it’s done.”

The program will also be linked to upgrade training records, said Kozlowski. This will not only save time with documentation, but also provide oversight ensuring only current and qualified individuals work on certain tasks.  If it has been a while since an individual has worked on a certain task, the program will ask if they want refresher training and then run him through a series of hands on videos.

This piece of technology could help combine the different maintenance specialties while providing more job satisfaction due to higher proficiency rates.  

“There are times when more than ten aircraft come through,” said Kozlowski. “We might need two to four people to each aircraft and only have 10 people on shift. At an en route, we usually have only two to three crew chiefs, so other specialties have to step up and help.

“With more time on the aircraft, maintainers could become more experienced on each aircraft and possibly work toward their A&P license quicker and easier,” said Kozlowski.  “This will help relieve the stress on our career field, motivate maintainers to stay longer to get more qualifications and become more useful outside the military after they complete their time in the Air Force.”

After learning all aspects of this future training capability, Frey’s confidence in Mobility Airmen was reinforced.

“Training for our en route maintainers is an issue,” said Frey. “If skills aren’t used constantly their skills may not be as fresh and sharp as they can be.  It’s Airmen like Sergeant Kozlowski who make me proud to be AMC. Outside-the-box thinking to provide valuable solutions to our challenges is exactly what we are looking for to ensure we continue to provide rapid global mobility to the warfighter in the Pacific and throughout the world.”