An Afghan air force expediter uses a radio to coordinate maintenance and pass status updates to the maintenance operations center Nov. 23, 2011, at Kandahar Air Wing. (Courtesy photo)
KABUL, Afghanistan – Maintenance advisers recently certified the first Afghan Air Force flight line expediter at Kandahar Air Wing.
A direct maintenance commander delegate on the flight line, an expediter is responsible for efficiently utilizing manning and resources to effectively execute the flight schedule agreed upon by both maintainers and operators.
Advisers indicate the new capability will ensure better on-time takeoffs and flight line management and will benefit because there will now be a central focal point directing unity of effort.
"Having an expediter represents a paradigm shift on the part of leadership, insofar as relinquishing control is concerned,” said Carl Snider of the 738th Air Expeditionary Advisory Group. "It would have been unheard of just a few months ago for the commander to vest this much control in his younger officers. This is where the advisers' expertise comes in not just negotiating and advising that this is what is best for the AAF, but also as representation of the responsibility our leadership vest in us.”
The process of training a flight line expediter began when maintenance advisers first met with AAF commanders and explained the benefits of the new position and how the person could enhance the flying mission.
AAF commanders agreed and selected 1st Lt. Shukrullah who then spent two weeks in training which entailed prioritizing maintenance and keeping and reporting aircraft status.
"We are trying to build not only capability but capacity within the AAF. We don't just want them to have the capability to fix and launch aircraft,” explained Snider, deployed from Hurlburt Field Fla. "We want to build the capacity to maintain and launch aircraft on-time. This is a step towards that goal of an independent AAF, although still a ways off its little victories like these that we hope ultimately put us out of a job over here.”
Just last week, with coalition adviser support, AAF members began post-phase functional check flight training in an effort to further professionalize the AAF at KAW explained maintenance professionals.
Having expediter capability as well the introduction of post-phase functional check flight capabilities, will continue to improve maintenance operations and has already improved mission-capable rate by 11 percent over the last month and 35 percent since September Snider said.
"We continue to improve and make progress in the maintenance field,” said Snider. "Our AAF members are working hard and I'm proud of their effort. We will continue to make strides and hopefully the AAF airmen will continue towards a process of self reliance.”
by Capt. Jamie Humphries
438th Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs