Military News

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Equipment specialist saves AF money building simulator

by Tech. Sgt. Robert Barnett
JBER Public Affairs


5/12/2015 - JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska  -- Jolly Tangog found his niche in a job he didn't even know the description of when he applied for it - but it fit his skill set perfectly and allowed him to build something new.

Just a few months into his work as equipment specialist with Air Force engineering and technical services for the 732nd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron on Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska, Tangog, a retired Air Force Master Sgt., noticed his leadership was looking for ways to save money on training. At the same time, he had an idea - he wanted to build a C-5M Super Galaxy maintenance trainer to train Airmen at JBER instead of sending them to the Lower 48.

The aircraft doesn't stop by JBER often, but per Air Force Instruction 21-101 "Aircraft and Equipment Maintenance Management," the Airmen still need to be proficient at it when they do.

"We needed something to train our folks, but at the same time, we couldn't break the bank," he said. "We were just talking one day and I brought this idea up. We normally sent people [to the Lower 48] to train in a simulator where the flight instruments are panels hanging on walls. That's it; they teach that way."

Tangog noted that they couldn't bring the maintenance up to Alaska, and it was costing too much to send people to it. So he decided to build a simulator.

The stars appeared to line up again, the equipment specialist said, and his leadership saw his idea as exactly the type they had been looking for.

"This trainer allows us to keep our competencies up without sending people to training so they can better serve the mission," Atkinson said. "It's a home run all the way for a $600 investment. A trip for the training costs about $1,500 a person a class. Take that times however many people and you're saving thousands of dollars, and keeping the Airmen home with their families and working on the line instead of being away."

"I went one step further than the normal training does - I put it in the correct position by building the maintenance trainer," Tangog said, describing the desk-sized wooden cockpit with printed panels and instruments. "Jason Bradford, a 732nd AMS conveyor maintainer who welds and does wood work, helped me out a lot; he runs a wood shop. I drew out the diagrams and measurements. He had all the tools and we bought the materials through the proper channels. It took us about a month from the conception to building it. It was a team effort."

"I love it," said Air Force Lt. Col. Matthew Atkinson, 732nd AMS commander. "I thought Mr. Tangog had great initiative; the fact that he could start it by himself was awesome, and save us a lot of money and, more importantly, Airmen's time."

Because it's in its infancy, the simulator isn't intended to replace real training yet.

"It's not enough to become proficient," he explained. "But it will get Airmen in the ball park; they'll be able to identify switches on panels and where they are located. They'll be able to follow a checklist, every graphic simulating a switch or dial is located exactly where it would be on the aircraft. I tried to make it as accurate as possible by using technical manuals and information from other sources."

Use of the trainer will be available by the end of the the year, Tangog said.

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