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Travis trains Pacific AMC crews to maintain KC-10s

  • Published
  • By 1st Lt. Lindsey Hahn
  • 60th Air Mobility Wing Public Affairs
In an effort to streamline KC-10 Extender maintenance responsibilities in the Pacific theater, the 60th Maintenance Operations Squadron here developed a two-phase course designed to teach enroute maintainers how to recover aircraft and perform basic maintenance tasks to help move aircraft through the theater more efficiently.

The first 240-hour, 30-day course began Jan. 16 with six Airmen from Hickam AFB, Hawaii, and Kadena Air Base, Japan.

Students become certified on 79 KC-10 maintenance tasks previously reserved for flying crew chiefs deployed with the aircraft.

Before this course, maintainers in theater were not allowed to perform any tasks on the KC-10, said Tech Sgt. Robert Chandler, the Maintenance Qualification Program section chief. "This course allows more flexibility for maintaining the aircraft so we don't have to rely completely on the flying crew chiefs."

The first phase of the course focuses on subjects such as the launch and recovery of the aircraft, cold weather procedures and aircraft egress.

"It is like the 'Hello, this is the aircraft' course," Sergeant Chandler said.

This course will be offered to all enroute locations in the Pacific.

The second phase will cover more specialized areas, such as pre- and post-flight inspections, strut servicing and tire changes, with the goal of servicing aircraft faster by allowing flying crew chiefs to enter crew rest more quickly. This phase of training will be offered to specific bases designated as "major maintenance locations."

"This is another example of Air Force Smart Operations for the 21st century in action," said Col. Craig O'Neal, 60th Maintenance Group commander. "Air Mobility Command took a look at their current processes and asked, 'How can we do things smarter?'"

With an outline of objectives from AMC, Travis AFB members got to work developing the course from scratch and were ready to conduct their first class in about a month.

"Travis was picked for several reasons, including access to hands-on training and our close proximity to the Pacific theater," said Chief Master Sgt. George Holmes, the 60th MOS superintendent. "This way the mission will not be impacted by the training and it's the most cost-effective method."

The training will benefit both AMC and the Pacific Air Forces alike.

"This training will tremendously reduce the amount of man-hours spent deploying our maintenance recovery teams from Travis to recover a broken aircraft," said Chief Master Sgt. David Rosa, the 660th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron superintendent. "KC-10s make up one-third of our enroute system's workload, yet (people at Pacific bases) couldn't service them. We used to have to send flying crew chiefs on 'out and backs' to Hickam. Now we won't need to."

While this concept is still in its infant stages, it excites the maintenance world.

"Sometimes you just have to step out of the box to make things happen," Sergeant Chandler said.

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