As it dug into the process, the Air Guard learned to work with FAA technical data far less detailed than Air Force Technical Orders (TOs). It learned to blend original equipment manufacturer (OEM) service bulletins and FAA Airworthiness Directives into a system of Air Force publications. It found sources for technical data not available through the SPO or OEM (like brake component manuals and emergency avionics battery data) and created methods to ensure the data was current. It gained electronic versions of tech data to accommodate Air Force electronic tech data initiatives (see sidebar). This dynamic process continues to be monitored and refined.
The Happy Hooligans created, from scratch and through conversations with engineers and Lear mechanics across the nation, the means of accomplishing Air Force-mandated processes never seen on a Learjet.
Making an aircraft “Safe for Maintenance,” for instance, grew from nothing to a training class and new tech data. Phase inspections were broken down into work cards, assigning shop areas of responsibility in comprehensive, detailed steps and constructed directly from OEM maintenance manuals. Thousands of pages were written, organized, reviewed, and published to meet Air Force requirements, training goals, and to clarify processes for maintainers.
On the way, they found and corrected literally hundreds of technical data errors discovered in the FAA approved maintenance publications, reporting both to tech data monitors at the SPO and at the OEM. The technicians determined many improved methods of conducting inspections and repairs, always with an eye toward safety first and cost savings when possible. And you know what? The process works … well.
To be sure, “Blue Suit” maintenance has been a success. Supported by a military maintenance team, the Happy Hooligans have excelled while operating in 20 countries on missions for Air Mobility Command, USCENTCOM (Middle East Operations), JOSAC (Domestic Airlift, including VIPs, humanitarian, and air ambulance) and the National Guard Bureau (NGB) in Washington, D.C. Evidence includes the 2009 JOSAC Unit of the Year Award, a record of 100 percent mission accomplishment while deployed in the Middle East, NGB Pilot Qualification Training for other C-21 units. AMT
Clint Lowe has spent most of his aviation career with the United States Air Force and Air National Guard in a variety of roles including maintenance, safety, training, oversight, and accident investigation. In 2007 he received the Maintenance Group Senior NCO of the Year Award. He currently is a Quality Assurance Inspector/Quality Assurance Representative with the North Dakota Air National Guard in Fargo, ND.
Clint Lowe holds an FAA A&P certificate with Inspection Authorization and a Commercial Pilot certificate with instrument and multi engine ratings.
He replaces Craig Newell who will retire from FlightSafety after 32 years of service.
Her career with FlightSafety began at the Tucson Learning Center in 2005.
Robert Kunze, Shift Supervisor of Aircraft Maintenance at the John D. Odegard School of Aerospace Sciences located at the University of North Dakota (UND) campus, won the Federal Aviation...