100th MXS Innovation: CV-22 Blade Electrical System Trainer
By Airman 1st Class Brandon Esau, 100th Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs
/ Published July 31, 2019
RAF MILDENHALL, England --
Every day, Airmen across the force use the skills and knowledge they learn while on the job to come up with innovative ideas and tools which are both cost-effective and allow for the mission to get done in a more efficient manner.
The world and mission is ever-changing, and to remain the world’s preeminent air and space fighting force, rapid and meaningful innovation is used for the force to retain strength into the future.
Tech. Sgt. Christopher Giordano, 100th Maintenance Squadron aircraft structural maintenance journeyman, and his team created one such tool: the CV-22 Osprey Blade Electrical System Trainer.
“This trainer is designed to mimic a CV-22 blade in every way possible off the actual airframe,” Giordano said. “Our team completes blade repair training in this manner so that we can minimize the amount of damage to our actual blades.”
This aircraft, along with others, require the removal of an adhesive body to work on the electrical system underneath which is connected to the on-board computer.
The 100th MXS supports both permanent party and transient aircraft, which Giordano says allows for all maintainers to use BEST to become efficient and take care of different aircraft all around the globe.
“BEST is fully applicable to all blades, and some need some maintenance and some need others, but this trainer is beneficial to all,” Giordano stated. “It can be used not just in the Air Force, but all across the Department of Defense.”
As with any innovation tool, the amount of investment needed is usually one of the first questions asked, and Giordano and his team were able to answer them all.
“This tool was created with cost-effective options in mind,” he said. “Each of the blades on a CV-22 cost approximately $1 million dollars to replace, so any damage done can potentially condemn it and then it just turns into scrap.”
Giordano and Senior Airman Nick Dickens, 100th MXS metals technology technician, were able to create BEST for just $106 dollars, which included 3-D printing as well as acquiring chemicals and scrap wires for the project.
“We were able to utilize resources which would otherwise just go in the garbage and the Air Force would have to pay to dispose of it,” Dickens said. “No cost of making BEST can compare to how much a damaged blade would be to replace.”
Additionally, until the creation of BEST, only about one blade per month needed maintenance completed, so there was a lack of training opportunities – this tool removes necessity of actual blades and provides more chances to train.
Gaining a further understanding and full competency of the tasks need to be completed, Giordano says, is what will help save the Air Force money.
“Just in our shop, we’ve gone from only having one member fully qualified to seven personnel total,” he said. “Our Airmen will be able to become confident each time they use BEST, and our team as a whole have the confidence they can step up to any aircraft and take care of the mission at hand – safely and efficiently.”