Archives for category: AIMD


Story by MC3 Jamie Hawkins
Photo by MC2 Walter Wayman

Approximately eight F/A- 18 Hornets have suffered catastrophic high-speed automatic gun jams potentially caused by a combination of bad ammunition and loose solenoids, causing severe damage to aircraft gun systems from several squadrons assigned to the John C. Stennis Carrier Strike Group.

With another eight aircraft M61A1/ A2 guns also requiring adjustments, members from Aviation Intermediate Maintenance Department’s (AIMD) IM-3 Division have been working around the clock to expedite repairs.

“Each gun is like a big “Swiss watch” and has to be timed perfectly in order to work properly,” said Chief Aviation Ordnanceman (AW/SW) Nathan Knopp. “Rebuilding the guns from the ground up is the next step.”

Technical representatives have been brought on board to address these problems as well as train both intermediate and organizational level personnel.

“All other maintenance is secondary to these weapons systems,” said Aviation Ordnanceman Airman Jared Stone. “The damaged gun systems have been completely disassembled and inspected for damage and parts placed on order so we can rebuild the guns and keep our planes ready for what may come in the future.”

Additionally, Sailors from IM-3 are continuing to support the air wing by repairing bomb racks, missile launchers and pylons. The M61A1/A2 gun is a structural component of the aircraft, as well as an armament system. Without this component as a ballast, aircraft cannot fly off the flight deck.

“At one point IM-3 ordnance was assembling guns that were not operational in combat,” said Aviation Ordnanceman 2nd class Sean Sutton. “This provided the air wing with planes that could still fly for mission and allow pilots to meet their required flight hours.”

To date ordnance technicians have worked approximately 132 hours in the removal of damaged live rounds, disassembly of the guns, inspection, ordering parts and maintenance on the solenoids.

“I am extremely proud of the accomplishments of my Sailors every day,” said Knopp. “They are doing a lot of critical work under difficult circumstances with very short timelines in order to support our soldiers on the ground.”

Repairs are still being conducted and are estimated to take hundreds of hours to rebuild the guns as parts arrive from off station.

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.”


Story by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Apprentice Carla Ocampo
Photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Kenneth Abbate

USS John C. Stennis’ (CVN 74) Aircraft Intermediate Maintenance Department (AIMD) received an outstanding grade on their recent Aircraft Maintenance Inspection (AMI) May 17.

Naval Air Forces Aviation Maintenance Management Team (AMMT) inspected AIMD on 43 maintenance programs as well as drills, training, material condition and safety.

“It was one of the best that I’ve seen,” said Master Chief Aviation Boatswain’s Mate Mike Connolly, AMMT member. “Forty of those programs were on track, only three needed attention, and zero were off track.”

AIMD has been preparing for AMI since their Maintenance Program Assessment (MPA) in January. MPA is a self-assessment designed to spot discrepancies before an AMI.

“They came up with an innovative system to correct all of the areas of concern that we had in January,” said Connolly.

An AMI usually lasts four to five days, but due to their lack of discrepancies AIMD finished in three days, said Connolly.

“It took a lot of drills and dedication,” said Aviation Machinist’s Mate 1st Class (AW) Ronald Simon, AIMD’s Quality Assurance leading petty officer.

Seventeen Sailors from AIMD were presented with a coin and Bravo-Zulus (BZ) for their hard work during the inspection.

Connolly said that 17 BZ’s was the most he and his team of inspectors have given out during an AMI in over three years.

“Everyone worked hard and everyone deserved a Bravo-Zulu,” said Aviation Support Equipment Technician 3rd Class Heather Mikschl. “It’s awesome to know that all of the hard work and time we put in paid off.”

By staying on track or better on all programs, AIMD contributes significantly to Stennis’ flight operations and successfully completing mission requirements.

“The challenge for them now is to sustain progress, said Connolly. “The true test will be supporting the air wing during deployment.”

AIMD’s performance during AMI displays tremendous capability to support aircraft maintenance through composite training unit exercise and in the future deployment.

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