National defense is our product: 559th AMXS focuses on future, Art of the Possible

  • Published
  • By Jenny Gordon
  • Robins Public Affairs
To an outsider driving by Robins, commanding hangars and aircraft can be seen from Ga. Highway 247.

What they represent and what thousands of public servants here accomplish each day was pause for reflection on a recent morning with Dave Nakayama, former 559th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron director. 

The 30-year Air Force veteran has moved on in the Warner Robins Air Logistics Complex as director of quality, responsible for ensuring compliance issues and programs are met throughout the complex's maintenance groups. 

Nakayama was tasked in July 2009 to lead the struggling C-5 squadron - which at the time posted a 17 percent due date performance. 

With three months left in the fiscal year, things got worse. In fiscal 2010, it dropped to a 0 percent DDP. 

Fast forward six years later, and as part of a C-5 recovery plan, the squadron now enjoys its fourth year of 100 percent DDP. 

"We're on the verge of producing the first 220-day airplane, hopefully in the next several months," said Nakayama, also a former WR-ALC chief of staff. "When everything is in line to make it happen, then we have to see if we can sustain it." 

Nakayama said if that can get accomplished with the same amount of people, resources, facilities and equipment, the future possibilities are endless. 

"Art of the Possible makes things so much easier to stay on track and ensure the depot's processes are working well," he said. "While there will always be a personality element, the stronger your processes are, the less susceptible they become to changes in personality." 

PDM work-in-progress during the last several years has improved significantly, from a WIP of 12 aircraft in the first quarter of fiscal 2011 to four in the first quarter of fiscal 2015. 

That flow day trend was also reduced from 420 days in fiscal 2011 to an average of about 280 days. 

Remaining optimistic on that 220-day aircraft, as processes continue to improve, the squadron's AoP is 180 days. 

Keeping a perspective on how the work of everyone here - from active-duty members, to civil servants and contractors - he reiterated the importance of national defense. 

"It's one of the biggest costs in our budget," he said, "Here at Robins our product is national defense. What we produce and the mission we're on is a very noble one, and the people here are part of that noble mission. 

"Whatever we can do at the best efficiency possible is going to be a factor - it will play a role in our national budget," he added.

"Because we're able to sustain C-5s that are 30, 40, 50 years old - older than the pilots flying them - we need to keep them safe and mission-effective," he said.

Looking ahead, the squadron will continue to perform maintenance, upgrades and modifications across its fleet. 

Some of those include replacing every C-5 with a 'Batman' fitting, the primary structural component that holds the front part of the aircraft's tail structure, the vertical stabilizer, to the fuselage. 

That first one was completed in late 2014. 

Another enhancement includes ongoing repairs with the addition of a lavatory modification system. Those will continue to improve the fleet's reliability and safety since the system's original design led to water leaks, resulting in corrosion issues on the aircraft's floorboards and fuselage. 

A prototype was installed on a C-5M earlier this year.