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Algerian air force visits Ramstein

  • Published
  • By 2nd Lt. Jhames B. Illanez
  • 86th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron
Members of the Algerian air force visited the 86th Maintenance Group Nov. 7 to 11 to familiarize themselves with different issues related to maintenance and repair of C-130 aircraft and equipment. They toured the 86th Maintenance Operations Squadron, the 86th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron and the 86th Maintenance Squadron to compare their process and hopefully take back with them fresh ideas to increase their efficiency and operation capabilities.

“We are very fortunate to have this opportunity to visit Ramstein Air Base and learn how we can improve our C-130 maintenance,” said 1st Lt Mekki Mazouzi, Avionics officer in charge and team leader.

The visiting troops seemed impressed by the level of specialization that goes into the daily maintenance and support of C-130 aircraft and equipment.

“In Algeria, I am qualified to work on an engine to include hydraulics and the electrical and environmental system but see that those are independent career fields here,” said Tech. Sgt. Sebti Kouanes, propulsion technician.

The U.S. Air Force aircraft maintenance field is structured into several specialties, sometimes overlapping, in order to harness the most knowledge and experience within one career field.

“We can learn from the Algerians about training our technicians to accomplish basic tasks from other specialties in order to do more with less,” said Col. Robert E. Burnett, 86th Maintenance Group commander.

The first stop was the 86th MXS where the maintenance operation center, plans and scheduling and analysis are located. The Algerians got a glimpse of the amount of metrics, statistical analysis, and information available to senior leadership to assist in making timely and accurate decisions. They realized what a daunting task it is to schedule maintenance around a busy and dynamic flying schedule, but nonetheless, imperative for Ramstein’s more than 40-year-old aircraft to remain healthy.

At the 86th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, the Algerians witnessed first hand the love a Dedicated Crew Chief has for their aircraft. Whether the DCC is performing maintenance or rubbing the nose of their beloved aircraft before a flight, their dedication is unwavering, around the clock and in the most treacherous of German weather. And Ramstein specialists, from guidance and control to hydraulics, made the Algerians realize just how much knowledge is required to work on the highly complex systems found on C-130s.

“I see how young the technicians are on the flight line and am amazed of how much knowledge they possess,” said 2nd Lt. Abdelouahab Daoudi.

But it was the 86th MXS that left them surprised. They were intrigued by the centralized intermediate repair facilities, ranging from wheel and tire to engine and propeller, which supports local and external customers such as U.S. Central Command Air Forces. They agreed that it saves a lot of money and time to service equipment at Ramstein instead of shipping it back to the United States and waiting on a turnaround time. But that is not all; they also highlighted the LEAN initiative, which is the practice of minimizing waste in a work area, first introduced into Ramstein by the 86th MXG, as something they said they look into for their operations. Another stop at the engine test cell “Hush House” provided a glimpse of state-of-the-art sound suppression technology.

“Testing engines/propellers in a sound suppressing facility is a smart and environmentally friendly method of doing business,” said Tech. Sgt. Mohamed Hennad, propulsion technician.

At the end of the visit the Algerians had a positive impression and admiration for the men and women of the 86th Maintenance Group. Two countries were able to learn from each other and further strengthened their bond as allies and friends.