ROBINS AIR FORCE BASE, Ga. --
Seventy-five is a lucky number for the 559th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron with the Warner Robins Air Logistics Complex at Robins Air Force Base, Georgia.
The squadron reached a major milestone by increasing the Planned/Scheduled Depot Level Maintenance by 75% for C-5M Super Galaxies this year.
Maintenance production for the C-5M aircraft is at its highest in 10 years, according to Brig. Gen. Jon A. Eberlan, Warner Robins Air Logistics Complex commander.
“The improvements made by our maintenance teams are record-breaking,” Eberlan said. “Getting these aircraft turned around and back in the fight is critical for global reach operations.”
Getting the C-5M aircraft work complete or “sold” as they call it, takes a team of over one hundred maintenance professionals who at one time will manage over 3,000 parts ranging in size from a pin to a small office per aircraft. They accomplished the work by incorporating the Air Force Sustainment Center’s Art of the Possible constraint-based management system.
Focusing on a disciplined approach, the team simultaneously worked multiple jobs on the aircraft correcting, deficiencies on the spot and refusing to pass those issues down the line. The renewed efforts on efficient execution throughput led to the record-breaking production for C-5M’s.
This success was not easy as many factors come into play when projecting how long aircraft will take to complete the P/SDLM process.
“Factors such as supply chain issues, manning issues, and parts availability can cause changes to the production schedule,” said John Kieweg, 559th AMXS Squadron director.
According to Kiewig, the squadron was having difficulty getting aircraft through the functional test phase of the maintenance program. Aircraft that used to take months to pass testing are now getting through in a matter of weeks due to improvements in production.
“We’ve been the ‘Bad News Bears’ of the P/SDLM process for a long time, and now, people are coming to us to see what we’re doing and the changes we have made to have a good year of success,” he said.
The C-5M aircraft is a strategic transport aircraft and is the largest aircraft in the Air Force. Some were built in the late 1960s. According to William Sheffield, 559th AMXS Squadron production supervisor, this aging fleet will remain in service for the next two decades.
“There was a recent decision to extend the aircraft’s service life into the 2040’s,” Sheffield said. “This will be done through modernization programs implemented to include upgraded avionics, navigation, surveillance and traffic management systems, new safety equipment and an improved autopilot system, among many other improvements to sustain the aircraft’s readiness.”
“I’m proud to be a part of it. With the hard work and time we spend out here, we’re now beginning to see it pay off,” said Sheffield.
Keeping the aircraft flying takes a team effort and focus to get to the finish line.
“I feel pride in their accomplishment and I’m super excited to be part of the turnaround we made as a team,” said Matt Renno, 559th AMXS Squadron avionics supervisor. “I think it means a lot to the community. It shows that we can produce a quality product on time.
“This takes the cooperation between those who work on the flightline and those who support their efforts outside the Robins AFB perimeter,” Renno continued. “The whole community, contractors, suppliers outside of the base. It’s more than just people on the flight line, it’s the whole Middle Georgia area pulling together to make something like this happen.”
“I believe this is just the start,” he said “‘We’re not a ‘one-hit wonder.’ You’re going to see us back again next year.”