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Team Whiteman Continues to Improve Processes

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Hailey Farrell
  • 509th Bomb Wing Public Affairs

At Whiteman Air Force Base, the 509th Civil Engineer Squadron’s Fire Alarm and Suppression Team found a way to save the Air Force $68,000 a year.

The team, headed by Clay Hudson, 509th CES FAST work lead, found cause of numerous issues affecting 342 triple infrared flame detection systems in 19 facilities, including 14 of the B-2 Spirit stealth bomber hangars.

“Hudson determined that the flame detection heads were out of alignment and needed to be re-calibrated,” said U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Arthur Barnachea, 509th CES facilities superintendent.  

Hudson said recalibrating the heads would require removing them, replacing them with a backup, and shipping them to the manufacturer for calibration, a process which would cost about $1,000 per head.

With only three backup systems, it would take about five years and cost $342,000 to recalibrate all the flame detection systems on base, Barnachea said.

“To streamline the process, Hudson initiated a venture to procure a test and calibration kit to allow his section to perform the required maintenance instead of relying on the manufacturer,” he said.

Hudson was eventually able to purchase a calibration kit for $827, less than the cost to send a single system back to the manufacturer for calibration.

Under Hudson’s leadership, the team can recalibrate the flame detection systems in a matter of minutes right from their office. This would eliminate potentially weeks of downtime that sending the systems back to the manufacturer might have caused.

Hudson says that FAST’s initiative saves the Air Force and the 509th CES man hours and contractor costs, allowing the squadron to reallocate that money to repairing and maintaining other facilities on base.

Streamlining processes like this is one example of how Airmen and Air Force civilians are paving the way for future generations of innovative and courageous problem solvers who ensure Team Whiteman is ready to execute global strike operations anytime, anywhere.