Maintenance Under Review

A graying fleet combined with a surging operations tempo has led to the perception amongst the Air Force’s maintainer corps that the wrench turners on the flightline are having to work a lot harder in the last few years to accomplish the same level of aircraft availability for the fight in Southwest Asia, says Maj. Gen. Robert H. McMahon, the Air Staff’s director of logistics. To find out if this is indeed accurate and to be able to measure and discuss the trend lines accurately, the service is launching a series of surveys on the “state and health of maintenance throughout the Air Force” at 13 operational bases between now and the end of the month, McMahon said in an interview April 27. He expects to have a report on the results in June. “We have anecdotal information indicating that we are having to pedal harder to keep up the same pace,” he said. “Part of what we’re in the process of doing is assessing specifically how much harder we’re having to pedal,” he continued. Teams of maintenance officers and senior enlisted airmen will collaborate with analysts to perform a series of two-day visits at each installation, preceded by a survey sent to all maintenance personnel at each respective location. McMahon did not identify the specific bases, since he said the intent is not to analyze practices at particular installations, but rather “to draw conclusions about the entire health of the maintenance community.”