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Solo praises Columbus innovations

Posted 2/17/2012   Updated 2/17/2012 Email story   Print story


by Airman 1st Class Chase Hedrick
14th Flying Training Wing Public Affairs

2/17/2012 - COLUMBUS AIR FORCE BASE, Miss. -- 

The 19th Air Force Commander toured Columbus Air Force Base during his visit on Jan. 9, seeing firsthand how the 14th Flying Training Wing is finding ways to operate at a lower cost.

"Tough times will present challenges to us, but those challenges also present opportunities," said Maj. Gen. Mark Solo. "It gives us the opportunities to change how we do business."

Teaching an old dog new tricks is hard when the old way still works is hard said Solo, but when challenges force change, the new Air Force can be forged.

One new trick discovered by Airmen on Columbus AFB is the use of modified pegboard to save costs on paint barn airflow project.

"To see them come up with a way to use $500 worth of pegboard when the estimate they got to do that project was three million dollars, that's ingenuity in action right there," said Solo. "It's inspiring to see that."

Solo also said he was wowed by a centralized scheduling system innovation for T-38 Talons that increased Instructor Pilot availability, filling more planes and directly impacting the 14th FTW mission.

"You know the capability is there, so when we finally grasp it and finally get our heads around it and implement it and then to see it produce, and what I mean by produces I mean we no longer have lines on the schedule that go unfilled because of IP unavailability, now all the planes are full and we're actually doing it with fewer IP's. The efficiency there is just huge," he said. "It will allow us to continue to produce pilots at the rate we're required to produce them; on track and on time and with fewer resources."

The strong support from local communities at bases across Air Education and Training Command and especially the 19th Air Force also open up opportunities to increase mission efficiency.

"The support that we get from the communities is hugely important to us," he said. "Especially as we draw down our budgets and consolidate and look for efficiencies. I think when we team with our local community there's some opportunities for us there to share resources and partner."

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