Story by MCSA Carla Ocampo
Photo by MC3 Crishanda McCall

Aviation structural mechanics (AMs) assigned to Aircraft Intermediate Maintenance Department’s (AIMD) IM-2 Division, the airframe work center, aboard USS John C. Stennis completed repair of an essential flight control component Aug. 11, resulting in a cost avoidance to the Navy of more than $100,000.

Upon discovering damage to an embarked aircraft’s Aileron Control Surface (ACS), located on the area of a plane’s wing, squadron maintenance Sailors expeditiously sought the repair capabilities of Stennis’ AIMD. Although aircraft are still capable of flying with a damaged ACS, the plane’s maneuverability while in the air is severely degraded, and flight is considered unsafe.

“The ACS is part of the wing and it’s important because it creates roll controllability for the jet,” said Aviation Structural Mechanic 3rd Class Jose Valdespino, a member of the airframe work center. “The damage to this wing had created increased drag on the aircraft and damaged the wing’s aerodynamics. The plane would fly, but it wasn’t safe.”

When faced with the decision of rejecting the wing to a depot-level repair facility or repairing the ACS, AIMD chose replacement due to the time and cost investment involved with waiting for repair materials to arrive on board Stennis. Repair materials arrived aboard the ship before a replacement part arrived, and AIMD decided to repair the damaged ACS.

“The cost of a new or overall rebuilt aileron is more than it would cost to repair the part, but typically parts and materials are slower to arrive on the ship, than a replacement part would be,” said Chief Aviation Structural Mechanic (AW/SW) James Beattie, Leading Chief Petty Officer for IM-2’s Airframes and Hydraulics work centers. “In this particular case we were able to get the parts and materials first.”

Upon receiving the materials required to repair the ACS, the airframe work center rose to the occasion, working nonstop to repair the part quickly and accurately. Repairing the damaged ACS required meticulous attention to detail, and a significant time investment from work center mechanics. Even under strenuous time constraints, technicians were able to complete the repair in less than three days.

“I’m very proud of the Sailors working on this repair,” said Beattie. “I’m proud of their dedication, their drive and their pride. It is what makes this ship successful and what made this particular repair a success. I couldn’t be happier with their accomplishments.”

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