KUNSAN AIR BASE, Republic of Korea -- The 8th Maintenance Group quality assurance flight evaluates all aspects of maintenance performed by flightline and back shop personnel to ensure standards meet Air Force Instruction guidance.
The quality assurance (QA) flight at Kunsan Air Base focuses on the safety of Wolf Pack personnel by checking over maintainers’ work to ensure every step in procedures were taken.
The flight is made up of personnel who are knowledgeable on weapons and munitions, back shop, sheet metal and more. The all-purpose section deals directly with aircraft, whereas avionics, for example, specifically handles the computer aspect of aircraft.
If a step is missed during the process of completing a task, it is QA's job to make ensure the discrepancy is remedied by conducting a Quality Verification Inspection or Personnel Evaluation process.
QA also monitors aircraft for repeat issues that may risk safety during flight. This process is done by routine inspections and cross tail reports.
"If there is an issue with one aircraft and then we have the same issue with another of the same aircraft, then it goes into a cross tail report," said Tech. Sgt. Pierce Gillis, 8th MXG quality inspector. "It’s basically a journal that states that QA has noticed a trend of issues going on with this specific aircraft and the cross tail report helps point them out."
In addition to routine inspections and cross tail reports, QA also performs incident reports for lost tools and mishap reports for injuries and vehicle damage.
It is vital that maintenance is done correctly and documented properly to mitigate any damage or harm posed to the pilots, maintainers and aircraft.
Weight and balance is another major program QA is responsible for.
"Proper weight and balance ensures general safety of flight," said Gillis. "If something is loaded incorrectly or if a part is removed from the aircraft, it needs to be logged to ensure the weight of the aircraft is being tracked at all times."
QA also has a large role in aircraft mishaps. If a mishap occurs, a QA member is assigned to the aircraft investigation to find the cause of the mishap. Additionally, they lead engineer dispositions, where they validate an issue with a specific aircraft.
"Our processes are important because if we didn’t do them, there could be a lot of things that would be overlooked and would cause flight safety issues" said Staff Sgt. Hector Ramirez, 8th MXG wing avionics manager.
QA is responsible for software updates and ensuring everything is up to standards. QA acts as the focal point for any issues or mishaps regarding aircraft programs by being the liaison between manufacturers and the maintainers at the Wolf Pack.
"Sometimes we’re seen as the bad guys and that can be a challenge," said Ramirez. "But, our primary mission is to ensure processes and procedures are being done properly to keep people safe."