Patrol Squadron (VP) 16 recently underwent an Aviation Maintenance Inspection (AMI). AMI is a pre-deployment inspection in which an aviation squadron’s maintenance department programs are inspected thoroughly to determine their effectiveness. Conducted by Commander, Naval Air Forces (CNAF), the AMI is coordinated by personnel from San Diego who review 39 different maintenance programs and over 10,000 documents in the maintenance division as well as provide a true grade of performance.
The current average inspection score is 93.5 percent. VP-16’s inspection score was 99.3 percent, which ranked them in the top three percent of the last 100 commands. This score demonstrates VP-16’s maintenance division’s superiority in P-8A aircraft maintenance and safety.
As part of this inspection, VP-16 executed a number of drills as well as more than 60 practical evaluations. These evaluations are conducted by inspectors to observe standard operations performed by Sailors in maintaining the aircraft and squadron equipment. Procedures observed included pre-operational checks on support equipment, servicing engines, and running fuel samples are a few examples of operations to ensure the aircraft are working properly and are mission capable at all times.
One of these evaluations demonstrated was the process in which Sailors sample and inspect fuel for impurities or biological contaminants such as mold. Fuel samples are checked daily to ensure clean and safe fuel is in the aircraft at all times.
After donning the personal protective equipment, listed in the safety data sheet to safely handle fuel, Sailors extract a small amount of fuel and inspected closely for color and debris. If the fuel is contaminated, then a sample is obtained and tested further. If contaminates are found, the aircraft is temporarily removed from service or ‘down’ until the fuel system can be cleaned and the fuel is replaced.
If biological impurities are found, then the entire system must be drained and flushed to sanitize the tanks.
“If you do everything right from the start, then you only have the fine tuning to do,” said AFCM Gary Cummins, VP-16’s maintenance master chief, on the readiness of his division.
“It’s important to keep everyone doing the right thing and providing proper turnovers to our Sailors. This is crucial for future performance.”
One drill in particular was a mishap drill. A mishap drill is a simulated incident involving damage to an aircraft, injury to a Sailor or both. During the drill, VP-16 was evaluated on their response to a man-down incident.
The simulation given was that of a maintenance stand being pushed into the side of an aircraft by a passing jet blast. Damage to the plane and injury to a Sailor were simulated in this event.
According to Cummins, the standard operating procedures and immediate action checklist were followed precisely. The evaluator, Commander Patrol Reconnaissance Wing 11 Safety Officer Lt. James Pearson evaluated the drill and stated that the results of the drill were the best he has seen in two years.
VP-16’s smooth performance during AMI is due in no small part to the hard work and attention to detail of the Maintenance Department.
Excellence during the basic day-to-day work on the P-8A by department personnel is what keeps the aircraft mission capable and ultimately keeps the squadron and it’s Sailors ready to complete the mission.