NAVAL AIR SYSTEMS COMMAND, PATUXENT RIVER, Md. — Tapping into the expertise of the Naval Reserve is one way Fleet Readiness Centers are improving aviation readiness. A seven-member team of Reserve Sailors recently proved its mettle, increasing throughput at Fleet Readiness Center Northwest (FRCNW) by more than 10 percent over a recent two-week period.
“We were able to insert the Reservists into our current schedule,” said Tommy Moore, FRCNW Depot Team Lead. “They were extremely eager and effective with the tasks assigned to them for aircraft Planned Maintenance Inspection (PMI) intake. This allowed my team to move artisans to other projects, complete additional work and accelerate the return of aircraft back the fleet.”
The Sailors are part of the Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) Reserve Program FRC Reserve unit and were supporting a readiness initiative called Induction to Return-to-Fly, or I2Fly. I2Fly takes advantage of the Reserve’s surge capacity and its maintainers’ experience in the areas of aviation machining, aviation structural mechanics, aviation structural mechanics–safety equipment and aviation electronics to support planned maintenance activities and increase the speed of aircraft repair throughput. As a result, FRCs have improved turnaround times as well as minimized impact to the flight line.
At FRCNW, the Reservists provided maintenance support from August 27 until September 8, cleaning aircraft surfaces and removing ailerons, aircraft panels and sealants.
“During this time, with the assistance of the Reservists, we completed nine in-service repairs and three modifications while staying on or ahead of schedule for the completion of the PMI events,” Moore said. “By my calculations, we had an increase throughput of depot-level maintenance by 11 percent which would not have been possible without the additional maintainers.”
Capt. Shawn Denihan, commander, FRC Reserve, said the Reserve Sailors come ready to work.
“They have the skills and experience and are eager to get to work,” he said.
Another team of nine Reservists reported to FRCNW on October 28 and will provide assistance until November 17.
FRC Mid-Atlantic (FRCMA) has also benefited from Reserve support in the past year.
Two FRC Reserve Sailors provided more than 25 working days to FRCMA Site Norfolk, Virginia, resulting in the increased availability of more than 1,000 articles of gear for the fleet and helped process in excess of 350 work orders. At FRCMA Site Oceana, Virginia, one Reserve Sailor completed the breakdown, inspection and build-up of 110 MH-53, MH-60, E-2 Hawkeye/C-2 Greyhound and V-22 Osprey tire and wheel assemblies, and the list of successes goes on.
“Every item an FRC Reserve Sailor can help us repair and return to the Fleet makes us more capable of performing our mission,” said Fleet Readiness Centers commander, Rear Adm. Michael Zarkowski. “Sometimes it’s that one-more-item that determines if a weapon system is mission capable.”
During fiscal year 2018, FRC-Reserve Sailors executed more than 2,600 man-days of direct operational support to COMFRC, NAVAIR, and other Fleet customers.