Innovation takes off at Dover AFB

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Amanda Jett
  • 436th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

Airmen from the 736th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, 436th Maintenance Squadron and Boeing representatives collaborated to discuss new ideas and methods to improve home station checks on C-17 Globemaster III aircraft at Dover Air Force Base, Delaware, April 7, 2023.

A home station check, known as an HSC in the maintenance community, is a reoccurring maintenance process similar to a scheduled oil change for a car, but in this case, the car is a 200,000lb C-17.

“HSC is an inspection done every 180 days,” said Tech. Sgt. Robert Johnson, 736th AMXS HSC dock chief. “We’re specifically doing inspection cards, removing panels, [etc.]”

During the innovative collaboration, Boeing representatives guided the group of maintenance Airmen through a process called Value Stream Mapping. VSM is a process that improves a specific area to develop more efficient operations with available resources.

“Dover Air Force Base is known for innovation,” said Stephanie Reyes, Boeing C-17 program site manager. “It’s attributed to the leadership and their encouragement of Airmen to think outside the box.”

The Airmen developed 88 improvement ideas, then worked with Boeing to apply them to the VSM concept to streamline the current HSC for the C-17.

According to 2nd Lt. Benjamin Hoffner, 736th AMXS assistant aircraft maintenance unit officer in charge, implementing the new ideas is projected to have a 47.3% reduction in wasted man-hours. This saved time will allow Airmen to focus on professionalism, honing multi-capable skills and preparing for the future fight. Hoffner was the lead officer in charge during the collaborations and presented these improvement ideas to leadership.

One of these ideas was to include a crew chief tool box in the maintenance vehicles to eliminate wasted time traveling to and from the consolidated tool kit room.

“We are empowering Airmen to come up with innovative solutions,” said Maj. Shawn Cox, 736th AMXS commander. “Solutions that save time, increase quality and allow [us to] focus on the high end fight.”