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Fairchild implements personal airframe exoskeletons

Airman 1st Class Avery Justice, 92nd Maintenance Squadron crew chief, removes screws from the bottom of a KC-135 Stratotanker wing while wearing an exoskeleton apparatus at Fairchild Air Force Base, Washington, July 16, 2020. The exoskeleton apparatus is used to relieve pressure off of the shoulders and back of Airmen. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Kiaundra Miller)

Airman 1st Class Avery Justice, 92nd Maintenance Squadron crew chief, removes screws from the bottom of a KC-135 Stratotanker wing while wearing an exoskeleton apparatus at Fairchild Air Force Base, Washington, July 16, 2020. The exoskeleton apparatus is used to relieve pressure off of the shoulders and back of Airmen. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Kiaundra Miller)

Senior Airman Reid Carter, 92nd Maintenance Squadron crew chief, holds a panel from a KC-135 Stratotanker while wearing an exoskeleton apparatus at Fairchild Air Force Base, Washington, July 17, 2020. The apparatus is designed to help Airmen work above their heads comfortably and with ease. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Kiaundra Miller)

Senior Airman Reid Carter, 92nd Maintenance Squadron crew chief, holds a panel from a KC-135 Stratotanker while wearing an exoskeleton apparatus at Fairchild Air Force Base, Washington, July 17, 2020. The apparatus is designed to help Airmen work above their heads comfortably and with ease. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Kiaundra Miller)

FAIRCHILD AIR FORCE BASE, Wash. --

Airmen from the 92nd Maintenance Squadron now have an airframe exoskeleton, a personal apparatus that straps onto a user’s back and arms to relieve shoulder and back pressure, July 17, 2020.

 

The exoskeleton assists Airmen while they are holding heavy parts above their head and works to relieve pressure and prevent injuries, allowing Airmen and aircraft to remain mission ready.        

 

“Having the ability to work above our heads for extended periods of time accelerates our work progress,” said Staff Sgt. Francis LaScuola, 92nd MXS process improvement coordinator. “This will mean getting the aircraft to the mission quicker.”

 

This apparatus was purchased after LaScuola’s idea won in this year’s spark tank competition, a competition that encourages Airmen to improve processes on base through their innovative ideas. The exoskeleton allows the 92nd MXS to increase their mission effectiveness and aircraft maintenance operations.

 

 

“Most of these jets were built in the 1950’s and early 1960’s,” said Master Sgt. Derrick Brooke, 92nd MXS continuous process improvement program manager. “We have to be innovative and have to continuously change the processes to stay current and try to get better, if we don’t we will fail.”  

 

By using the exoskeleton, Airmen are able to work more efficiently and to stay healthy. According to an article on the manufacturing company’s website, this apparatus will lower exertion levels by 80%.

 

“We still maintain the safety and quality like we always have,” Brooke said. “We’ll be able to do it quickly and efficiently while also improving the quality of life for our Airmen.”