Great idea saves Air Force money

  • Published
  • By Crystal Toenjes
  • 72nd Air Base Wing Public Affairs
A little common sense can go a long way, and a pneudrolics mechanic here has the $10,000 check to prove it.

“I think in common sense circles; like ‘what if we just did this, would it make a difference,’” said Kent Johnson, of the Oklahoma City Air Logistics Center’s fuel accessories shop. “Sometimes it pays off, sometimes it doesn’t.”

This time it did for Mr. Johnson who received a $10,000 award through the Air Force’s Innovative Development through Employee Awareness program.

“We were having a real high reject rate on our augmenter core nozzle,” Mr. Johnson said. “Engineers were banging their heads, and mechanics were banging their heads, and I thought, ‘What if I just washed this a little bit longer and it might break down some of the hardened carbon.’ And it worked.”

The nozzle sprays fuel into the augmenter core band, and there are 28 within each aircraft engine.

Previously, parts underwent 15 minutes of washing in an ultrasonic tank to remove a buildup of hardened carbon from the inside of the nozzle, Mr. Johnson said.

“I said, if we washed it 45 minutes to an hour, it could turn out to solve the problem, and it did,” he said. “We were rejecting about 50 parts a quarter for that problem, and I cut it down to about three.”

Steve Hampton, a program analyst who reviews IDEA award submissions for accuracy for the 76th Maintenance Wing, said this idea will save the Air Force $107,000 in its first year of implementation.

“I believe the IDEA program definitely gives employees an opportunity to submit some good ideas, like Kent has done here, and that’s definitely value added to the government,” he said. “Not only did he save us this year, it can result in a cost savings year after year.”

Mr. Johnson gave a portion of the award money to his wife, paid off his four-wheeler and will use some of it to go on a bear-hunting trip to Idaho.