USA — Depot completes its 48th Black Hawk

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Cor­pus Christi Army Depot achieved an unprece­dent­ed mile­stone, com­plet­ing a record 48th UH-60 Black Hawk recap­i­tal­iza­tion this year. The recap pro­gram is the Army’s effort to reduce costs of replac­ing aging heli­copters with new ones.

The 48th Black Hawk sits out­side on the Cor­pus Christi Army Depot, Texas, flight line
Click to enlarge

Cor­pus Christi Army Depot, or CCAD, saves tax­pay­ers more than 45 per­cent by rebuild­ing an air­craft ver­sus pur­chas­ing a new one from the manufacturer. 

The pro­gram brings an Alpha mod­el UH-60 Black Hawk into the depot, then after just under a year of upgrad­ing and rebuild­ing the struc­tur­al, engine, and air­frame com­po­nents with more capa­bil­i­ty and pow­er, it comes out look­ing, smelling and per­form­ing like a brand new Lima mod­el. Last year CCAD pro­duced 38 A‑L recap Black Hawks. 

Recap extends the life of a Black Hawk by 10 years while also ensur­ing each air­craft is equipped with the lat­est tech­nol­o­gy and systems. 

“It took the entire team from Account­ing to Air­craft Pro­duc­tion and every sin­gle per­son at CCAD to meet the 48th Black Hawk,” said Col. Christo­pher Carlile, CCAD commander. 

In addi­tion to the chal­lenge and moti­va­tion of work­ing as a team to get the 48 out, many areas used process­es and meth­ods that save time and mon­ey. The release of the sec­ond align­ment fix­ture, for instance, allowed for more time to be spent inside of the fixture. 

The depot held a Final Assem­bly Inspec­tion, or FAI, to reduce the num­ber of defects and rework passed between Reassem­bly and Flight Test. This effort allows for more atten­tion to the air­craft before it is moved to Flight Test. 

War­ran­ty Teams is anoth­er con­cept that came along with FAI. Flight Test inspects and com­pletes the checks with ground pow­er. Any defects found in Flight Test calls for a War­rant Team from the assem­bly line, AMG, avion­ics, elec­tri­cians and the flight test crew to cor­rect the defects with­out mov­ing the air­craft back to a sep­a­rate building. 

“This played big div­i­dends in expe­ri­ence shar­ing and result­ed in a bet­ter than 50-per­cent reduc­tion in defects passed to Flight Test,” said George Kun­kle, chief for the Air­craft Sup­port Division. 

The air­craft clean­ing team took actions to train employ­ees by cor­rect­ing cap­ping and plug­ging of elec­tri­cal con­nec­tors and even cre­at­ing a third shift to meet the demands. 

“The real key to obtain­ing the goal was the arti­sans resolve to meet a stan­dard set high­er than believed pos­si­ble and the deter­mi­na­tion to car­ry it through with­out yield­ing to past beliefs and non-believ­ers,” said Jamie Fel­gen­hauer, Black Hawk Recap­i­tal­iza­tion divi­sion chief. 

Pro­duc­tion Con­trol used mul­ti­ple time-sav­ing tech­niques to accom­plish the record. They stuck with local sup­port, insured a smooth flow of parts and assem­bled a team of key play­ers to be on top of the ball with mate­r­i­al avail­abil­i­ty for each air­craft before its arrival to the hangars. 

“The biggest thing that made the 48 Black Hawks pos­si­ble this year is the guys and gals on the floor,” said Aaron Shep­hard, UH-60 Recap­i­tal­iza­tion Struc­tures sec­tion chief. “If they get chal­lenged with some­thing they aren’t going to back down. Every­one fought hard to cut down on the defects, work through the process­es, and use what they had to put out 48 aircraft.” 

“The entire Direc­torate of Air­craft Pro­duc­tion was empow­ered and chal­lenged to meet the customer’s require­ments to most impor­tant­ly pro­vide the air­craft and sup­port for our war fight­ers,” said Kunkle. 

“In the past, we focused on sin­gu­lar efforts, sup­port ver­sus pro­duc­tion. One with­out the oth­er will fail,” said Col. Carlile. “CCAD has shown they are a team capa­ble of play­ing at Super Bowl level.” 

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