Airman solves fuel-flow transmitter problem, saves Air Force thousands

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Chad Thompson
  • 51st Fighter Wing Public Affairs
An Airman here was recently awarded a check worth $10,000 through the Innovative Development Employee Awareness program.

Tech. Sgt. Tremaine Smith, the 51st Maintenance Group technical order distribution office manager, was recognized for an idea that fixed a fuel-flow transmitter problem, saving the Air Force more than $90,000 in replacement costs over the next year.

Sergeant Smith identified a more efficient way to properly troubleshoot and correct an aircraft wiring problem on the A-10 Thunderbolt II.

He said he initially found the problem during an aircraft malfunction.

After many hours of contemplating the problem, Sergeant Smith said he decided to approach it from a different angle.

He said he went outside of his troubleshooting chart and decided to disconnect a plug from the unit in order to see what might be causing the issue.

Taking a closer look, he found there was a wiring problem in the plug, and the schematic in the technical order was either mislabeled or incorrect.

"After almost two years of pushing to get the problem fixed, it was the IDEA program that finally helped," Sergeant Smith said.

"The IDEA Program is designed as an incentive program to reward submitters for approved ideas that benefit the Air Force by enhancing processes or improving productivity and efficiency," said Ed Moreno, the base IDEA program manager here.

Today, the IDEA program uses a web-based automated system, IDEA Program Data System, from submission to the final evaluation decision.

Submitters must identify the present method, the proposed method, and the expected benefits.

They will also need to explain why the current method should be changed, with a detailed description or solution on how to change the current method or implement the idea. They need to include anticipated savings, efficiencies, or benefits to the Air Force, and not merely thoughts or opinions.

The IDEA program rewards Airmen for ideas that save the Air Force money and resources. Airmen are eligible to receive 15 percent of the estimated first-year savings, which could range from $200 to $10,000.

For more information on the IDEA program, contact your base IDEA program manager. To submit an IDEA, visit the IPDS website at