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What the latest mishap says about readiness rates

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posted on Dec, 31 2016 @ 11:09 PM
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We've all seen aviation readiness dropping for various reasons, worst in the Marine Corps, which suffered several crashes this year related to pilot readiness and maintenance related issues. Carl Forsling, who spent 20 years flying Marine Air, wrote an interesting article for Task and Purpose that talked about what the recent MV-22 accident in Okinawa says about pilot readiness. Some of the things he found out were a tad scary. In the first three months of FY17, the accident rate stands at 11.26/100,000. That's the 36th best year in history at this point.

An unidentified squadron commander told him that he has to triage his pilots. This means that his best pilots, and instructors, get the most time (average 24 hours a month) while his worst pilots get the fewest (5 or fewer hours per month). So for the worst pilots of the unit, they're spending as much time relearning what they learned on previous flights as anything else, so have no real opportunity to improve and get more hours. Meanwhile, the pilots getting the most time, in many cases, are planning on leaving the military and taking those skills elsewhere.


The budget squeeze brought about by the sequester plus the demands of continuing deployments have brought aircraft readiness to dangerously low levels.
On Dec. 13, when a Marine Corps MV-22B Osprey landed in the water just shy of Camp Schwab in Okinawa, it became yet another high-profile incident for an aircraft that has had more than its share. The aircraft is notorious after four high-profile mishaps during its development phase, including one that claimed the lives of 19 Marines in 2000. After that disaster, the Osprey program was revamped and the aircraft substantially redesigned. It became the mainstay of the Marines’ vertical lift and Air Force special operations.

As a 20-year Marine aviator, I started my career in the Osprey’s predecessor, the CH-46E Sea Knight. I felt safer in the V-22 than I did in the CH-46. Its mishap rate is comparable to any other platform in the inventory, but I worry that my successors are not as safe though — not because of the aircraft, but because the system is not giving them enough time to train.

taskandpurpose.com...




posted on Dec, 31 2016 @ 11:18 PM
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Some of the best pilots I ever flew with were Marines.. The corps has always done more with less than any other service IMO..... Regardless it is a sad state of affairs and I would bet it will be resolved some what with the new POTUS... at least I hope so...



posted on Dec, 31 2016 @ 11:20 PM
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a reply to: 727Sky

Barring him getting them new aircraft, it's not going to be an easy solution. One of the biggest problems right now, at least with the Hornets, is that the depot is three years behind on F-18 maintenance, and 5 years behind on engine maintenance.



posted on Dec, 31 2016 @ 11:23 PM
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originally posted by: Zaphod58
a reply to: 727Sky

Barring him getting them new aircraft, it's not going to be an easy solution. One of the biggest problems right now, at least with the Hornets, is that the depot is three years behind on F-18 maintenance, and 5 years behind on engine maintenance.



Yep have been following some of this stuff.. which sucks IMO



posted on Jan, 1 2017 @ 12:41 AM
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about 6 months ago I read in the air force times newspaper that the air force is only at %70 capacity for ground crews and it`s getting worse every year as more ground crew members leave. the numbers for chief ground crew members is even worse,someone has to keep these birds in the air and I`m too old to re-enlist.



posted on Jan, 1 2017 @ 05:41 PM
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a reply to: Tardacus

I bet if you really drill down into those numbers it's even worse. Added to the "missing" ground crew you'll be getting the older, more experienced ones leaving due to the additional pressures that being undermanned brings. The Royal Navy back in the UK is suffering a similar problem and with each person leaving the problem is magnified.



posted on Jan, 1 2017 @ 06:06 PM
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I don't work in that field any more and when I was in there it was maintenance and production bottlenecks that caused this issue whereby the LRI or LRU production lines were disturbed by slotting in repairs coming back from the final assembly factory production lines.

Then add into that the service repairs which the depot can't do. The suppliers are then having to set up repair lines whilst the depots are carving up aircraft for parts, some parts are particularly poor and therefore you could have a number of aircraft just missing say a particular fuel valve. (I know I am telling you stuff you already know).

The suppliers didn't make much money in repairs and most of the millions of pounds of test sets the government bought in development to sit at the suppliers were obsolete, the penalties are unenforceable, the supplier just wants to sell you new kit, it is just a compounding mess on a massive scale all the way back up the supply chain.

What I found is that everyone wants the money but none of the responsibility, the Forces at the front just want and need availability but always wanted to maintain their own aircraft, problem is they don't pay as well as industry.

So current state, you can really only invest in paying subcontractors more, which will take away your trained engineers or buy more spares which is only a short term fix.

It would be really good for someone to value stream map the whole process right now to improve the F-35 supply chain whilst the suppliers are all still on the hook for the large production runs, unfortunately though, the power has probably already shifted to them as the project is unlikely to justify the expensive move from those suppliers not taking responsibility by locking in turn around times or new units with a significant cost of not holding spares.

Also, is front line maintenance done in house, really the best option due to the wage difference? You could have a service station type model based on availability where the pilots are the only military personnel in the aircraft maintenance cycle?


edit on 1 1 2017 by Forensick because: (no reason given)

edit on 1 1 2017 by Forensick because: (no reason given)



posted on Jan, 1 2017 @ 08:21 PM
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a reply to: Forensick

I hate that. And we had the same issues when I was working for a swiss watch company. The supplier just wants to sell you brand new stuff. But never wants to fix or supply you with parts. We once had to wait 6 months for watch crowns.

My father and I had to come up with alternatives and fixes to shoddy production pieces.

Many times we had to take brand new time pieces and fix them in house so they wouldn't come back in 6 months with issues.

Sounds like military needs a in house repair contractor that does nothing but fix and improve.



posted on Jan, 2 2017 @ 04:42 PM
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originally posted by: grey580
a reply to: Forensick

I hate that. And we had the same issues when I was working for a swiss watch company. The supplier just wants to sell you brand new stuff. But never wants to fix or supply you with parts. We once had to wait 6 months for watch crowns.

My father and I had to come up with alternatives and fixes to shoddy production pieces.

Many times we had to take brand new time pieces and fix them in house so they wouldn't come back in 6 months with issues.

Sounds like military needs a in house repair contractor that does nothing but fix and improve.


Well the best asset we had in development was a guy on site from the contractor with access to our test facilities and rigs. He was there from day one and was the only person able to certify log books and knew the development parts inside and out. Once the supplier upgraded their production lines to the latest standard, all the old stuff was dropped.



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