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News | June 13, 2024

AIMO quality team creates history through surveillance


A Defense Contract Management Agency team of quality assurance professionals pride themselves in over 30 years of experience providing contract oversight on a variety of DOD assets. This Aircraft Integrated Maintenance Operations team leveraged their experience to provide 500 hours of surveillance over their first periodic depot maintenance, or PDM, on NASA’s P-3 Orion aircraft. The effort resulted in the delivery of a serviceable, one-of-a-kind asset back to NASA within six months. 

“This P-3 is a valuable asset for NASA and the support (DCMA) provided will strengthen our reliability when conducting scientific and research missions worldwide,” said Patrick Ryan, a NASA Wallops aircraft quality assurance specialist. “Having continuous government oversight on large inspections is always a good thing and the end-product truly reflects that.” 

According to NASA, the P-3 Orion has been extensively modified to support airborne scientific research. The NASA Wallops Flight Facility, or WFF, has operated the P-3 since 1991 for a wide range of scientific activities to decipher Earth’s environmental puzzles using the P-3’s latest capabilities.  

“NASA issued a Prime Letter of Delegation to DCMA with mutually beneficial, clearly defined and well-understood requirements,” said Air Force Lt. Col. Paula Arquette, commander of AIMO North Texas. “Most notably, it captured AIMO’s aircraft maintenance expertise, capability and vast experience with the C-5, C-130 and P-3 aircraft platforms.”  

The interagency collaboration on the P-3 PDM requirements included WFF, the Goddard Space Flight Center, DCMA NASA Product Operations and DCMA AIMO North Texas’ Quality Assurance, or QA Waco team.  

“The DCMA AIMO team identified several workmanship deficiencies resulting in multiple Corrective Action Requests and timely completion of corrective actions,” Arquette said.  

They created a tailored surveillance plan, which identified, assigned and covered 189 Government Mandated Inspection Points of safety. This included critical characteristics and break off inspection repairs that followed Functional Check Flight activities.  

In addition to completing the GMIPs and FCF coverage, DCMA AIMO surveilled maintenance of the aircraft’s previously unserviceable bomb bay doors, the repair of a main structural beam in the aircraft and the repair of several spare parts. 

“It was outstanding to see a team come together to accomplish the DCMA AIMO quality-guarantee and the NASA mission,” said Jim Gilmore, NASA P3 Program quality assurance specialist of the QA Waco team said. “All the efforts of those involved in completing the P-3 PDM resulted in a critical resource being returned to NASA ahead of schedule, allowing the aircraft to return to service.” 

DCMA’s NASA Product Operations department coordinates with DCMA organizational units and NASA every year on the delivery of delegated contract administration services. The QA Waco team said they look forward to continuing the relationship with the NASA team for future collaborations.  

“Our team prides itself in anticipating, meeting and often exceeding the quality standards expected from our customers,” said Jaime Philp, a QA Waco supervisor. “This guarantees the delivered product operates effectively while achieving the highest standards of safety. Anything less is unacceptable to us.”