Crew Chief University: Enhancing aircraft maintenance capabilities

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Vernon L. Fowler Jr.
  • 6th Air Mobility Wing public affairs
The Air Force is continually searching for and discovering innovative ways to enhance the capabilities of its personnel. At MacDill Air Force Base, Florida, in particular, a course known as the Crew Chief University has been developed to help aircraft maintainers better understand their mission, expand their knowledge, and improve their skills.

"Our goal is to enhance the capabilities of our crew chiefs by bringing them back to the basics and combining that with their increased technical knowledge," said Staff Sgt. Dustin Tatem, 6th Maintenance Group maintenance training instructor. "We want to bring about a culture change within the aircraft maintenance units by providing better training tools, increasing job knowledge and 8010 preparedness."

The initial discussions for developing the course began in fiscal year 2014, but the first validation class was held this past July.

Crew Chief University specifically targets senior airmen and staff sergeants in the aircraft maintenance field. The course material clarifies and emphasizes the importance of the 8010 mission while also focusing on what crew chiefs can do to further the mission by continuing to expand their knowledge of the aircraft.

"We want to move the students away from a mindset of doing something 'because that's how it's always been done' or 'that's how I was taught,'" said Tatem. "There needs to be a greater understanding of the full extent of what they are performing, such as the how and why something is going on and not just taking information at face value."

Additionally, Tatem states that training concepts are being incorporated to allow those attending the course to better mentor less experienced Airmen in their work centers and help build them up to the same level.

Not only does the course help aircraft maintainers who are in the course, but according to Tatem it also helps him as an instructor.

"I have been given the opportunity to help develop, implement and improve a course that contributes to the betterment of my fellow crew chiefs," said Tatem. "It has allowed me to further evaluate myself as an instructor and my teaching processes so I can more effectively build up the students."