|Here's another view of the crane being
used to place the wing on the plane. This is something that we never
saw being done in the squadron. At least I have never seen the wing
being removed. Operations like this would be, normally, at the Depot
Level of Maintenance.
Here's a closer look at the Navy Maintenance
Organizational Level of Maintenance:
The first level of maintenance is called
the Organizational Level. This is where black boxes are removed and
replaced, engines are removed and replaced, wiring problems are fixed,
tires changed, etc. However, Black boxes are not repaired at
this level, engines are not repaired either. They are sent to a place
called the Pool. The Pool then sends the broken black box for repair
in a place called Intermediate Level of Maintenance. When a technician
removes the black box, he fills out a multi-page form called a MAF (Malfunction
Action Form) writing down the serial number of the black box, the Squawk
(the problem description or gripe), Date and other data. He then tapes
the MAF to the Black Box and takes the MAF and Black to the pool and picks
up a newly repaired and calibrated black box and places it in the airplane
then checks its functions before returning the plane to service.
Intermediate Level of Maintenance:
This is the next level. The technicians
here rarely see the airplanes close-up. Their job is to repair the
black boxes and return them to the Pool. When a damaged black box
comes in for repair the technician is given a MAF (Malfunction Action Form)
and a black box, places the hard copy of the MAF on the In Work section
of the schedule board in Maintenance Control, and proceeds to find the
problem with the Black Box. This is where the electronics work is
done to the component level. The same procedure is done with the
engines, hydraulic cylinders, and other major subassemblies of the airplane.
When the Black Box is repaired, it is sent back to the pool and all of
the paper work is closed out.
But suppose the problem with the Black
Box is not reparable at the Intermediate Level of Maintenance. Suppose
it had a problem with the gold plating coming off of the tuned cavities
or a bullet smashed the case. For every base to have a gold plating
machine which would be only used several times a year would be very expensive
and impractical. This is when the Black Box is sent to the Depot
Level of Maintenance.
Depot Level of Maintenance:
This is the highest level of maintenance.
Its purpose is to totally rebuild a Black Box, repainting its covers, and
doing everything necessary to bring it back to a new condition. If
a Black Box has too much damage, however, it will be BER'd (Beyond Economical
Repair) or sent to the scrap heap.
This three level maintenance system
allows for a lower operating cost, more specially trained personnel, and
a lower turnaround time required for each component keeping the aircraft
in the air for more hours and keeping them out of the hangars in the same
When the plane becomes obsolete, it
goes in a museum so we can say, "Hey, I worked on that plane when I was
in the Navy," like I'm doing right here. Remember in the first page
of this exhibit I said that I used to work on this exact plane when I was
in the Navy. Also, at various times in my life, I have worked at
all three levels of maintenance. To me, the intermediate level
was the most rewarding. The Organizational level took the least electronics
training and the Depot Level was, by far, the most wasteful and the least
rewarding, but it paid the most.
If I had it to do all over again, I
would have stayed in the Navy, it was actually a better life this so called
civilian freedom lifestyle.