JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-RANDOLH, Texas —
Around the flightline and in the hangars of Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph, there’s a group that represent their career field’s most knowledgeable maintainers who exemplify what a maintenance professional is. They make up the office known as Quality Assurance.
QA evaluates the quality of maintenance accomplished by maintainers and performs necessary functions to manage the wing and group's Maintenance Standardization Evaluation Program. The MSEP provides an objective sampling of the quality of equipment, the proficiency of maintenance personnel, and the compliance of lead command and unit MSEP focus areas, programs and processes.
“We are the eyes and ears of the maintenance group commander,” said Brian Hall, 12th Maintenance Group chief of quality assurance. “We advise and provide him recommendations on the quality of maintenance in regards to everything that goes on in the maintenance group, and we make sure safe and reliable aircraft are provided to the operations group.”
With individuals from very diverse backgrounds, the QA team is responsible for training and inspecting the maintainers here on three different airframes.
“We in QA are responsible for going out and verifying the quality and proficiency of the people that work under the 12th MXG,” said Richard Kilpper, 12th MXG Quality Assurance Division aircraft engine inspector. “We evaluate their training, their proficiency in their tasks they are responsible for executing and we also evaluate inspections on the maintenance they have performed. Our goal is to make sure people are being safe and producing a safe quality product. We are here to help make our maintainers better, and to ensure the aircraft are safe for operations.
QA is comprised of crew chief, engine and avionics inspectors, and is responsible for performing inspections as well as maintaining every special maintenance program for the wing and group.
“Despite an ever-increasing operational tempo, QA has not been significantly impacted by challenges in the performance of their job, it just requires us to be more vigilant,” Hall said. “So whether it is one sortie or 3,000 sorties flown in a month, we are going to be here to make sure that quality maintenance is being conducted.”
One of the key components of QA is integrity.
Aircraft maintainers require tons of integrity,” Kilpper said. “QA ensures that integrity is there all the time. We hold ourselves to an extremely high standard and we hold everyone else to that same standard.”
Other responsibilities for QA include foreign object damage awareness, dropped object prevention, Functional Check Flight program and the weight and balance program for each aircraft assigned to the 12th Flying Training Wing.
“QA isn’t just about observing, evaluating or reporting issues, it is also about finding the root cause and how we can make it better,” Hall said. “At the end of the day, we make sure we have safe and reliable aircraft available for operations to conduct its mission of training Air Force pilots.”