Production Super, Top 3 liaise between maintenance and operations groups

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Courtney Richardson
  • 944th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
There is one unique relationship that makes the flight training mission for the 924th Fighter Group possible, the 924th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron production superintendent and the command leadership Top 3.

Senior Master Sgt. Shannon Tutt, 924th FG Aircraft Maintenance production superinten¬dent, and Lt. Col. Darrell Hubbard, 924th Operations Support Flight commander and Top 3, explain how vital that relationship is.

Production superintendents are responsible for all ‘E’ aircraft belonging to the unit.

“In simple terms, we check the maintenance and configuration status of the aircraft, schedule future maintenance, and coordinate with the Top 3,” Tutt said.

Tutt explains that whoever holds the position must be knowledgeable in every job on the flightline and the back shops.

“Our Airmen are looking to us as the experts, when our jets come down and need maintenance we have to determine who to bring out to help fix it or point the Airman in the right direction to get it taken care of,” Tutt said.

Tutt used one word to describe his role, liaison. Whether it’s between the crew chiefs and the other maintenance organizations or between the crew chiefs and the operations group.

“We check the flying status with the Top 3 daily to make sure we have the aircraft configured to what the instructor pilots and students need for their flight,” Tutt said.

The Top 3 is made up of experienced instructor pilots nominated by the commander. They are singularly responsible for the flying schedule for the day.

“We are checking the weather for the entire mission, airfield status, interfacing with maintenance to get jet information or pass along what we need for the day such as weapons configurations,” said Hubbard. “The Pro Super tells me about any minor problems with the jets and I will either confirm or deny we can fly with it and then determine which experienced pilot I will put in it.”

The production superintendent and the Top 3 must have open communication to help accomplish the mission.

“Communication makes the flow of the day go smoother,” Tutt said. “For instance, I was short on experienced crew chiefs and I needed a lot of engine runs done for the aircraft, so I called ops to let them know where we were, and they offered to help me get them done. They sent out three of their pilots who helped complete the engine runs.”

Without that assistance, those aircraft would not have cleared for a second flight for the day and that cooperation works both ways.

Hubbard explains that being in a training squadron can make the Top 3 a little easier or make it more challenging. Each pilot has a different capability and the flying is dictated by a syllabus. The Top 3 has to understand how different issues like aircraft configuration can affect meeting the syllabus’ objectives.
Tutt goes into detail about how being the middle man between the maintainers and ops group is like an endless game of Tetris.

“Each plane has a different configuration and each pilot has a different training requirement such as which weapons they need to train on,” Tutt said, “If they need something different from what the jet is already set up for I either contact weapons and we make the change or talk to the Top 3 and switch the pilots and aircraft around.”

Through communication and partnership the Top 3 and the production superintendent must always be on the same page when it comes to accomplishing the flight training mission for the day.