ABOARD USS HARRY S. TRUMAN (NNS) -- Since its commissioning, Americaís newest nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75) has been at the forefront of technology, employing systems and techniques rarely seen on other U.S. naval vessels.
However, no matter how advanced the systems and equipment are, HST Sailors have been maintaining them the same way it has been done for decades.
Well, thatís all about to change.
Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) Lakehurst, the headquarters of arresting gear technology, has selected HSTís V-2 division to take part in a new system of performing maintenance checks.
Using personal data assistants (PDAs), V-2 personnel are able to skip the sometimes cumbersome task of going through stacks of paperwork and dive right into keeping HSTís arresting gear in working order.
"The Navy has been doing maintenance the same way for years. It requires a lot of space to keep files, and a lot of time," said Chief Aviation Boatswainís Mate (equipment) (AW/SW) Joe Osborne of NAVAIRís fleet liaison office. "Using this new system will cut down on work hours and transcription errors."
The new system puts all of the maintenance check information on the PDA. The mechanic will be able to look up everything he needs by just pushing a button. When the check is done, the PDA can be hooked up directly to a computer.
Keeping all of the information on a computer also makes it easier for NAVAIR to review the information.
"All they have to do now is just email the information to me. This way, they donít have to wait for the mail. A quicker turn around means a quicker solution to a potentially crippling problem," said Osborne.
If a PDA seems too delicate a machine for such dirty, dangerous work, NAVAIR has solved that problem by creating special "shock boxes." The PDA fits inside of the waterproof, durable plastic case, and a special membrane in the front allows information to be input without removing it.
So far, this new system has received rave reviews from V-2 mechanics.
"The new system is excellent. It saves us time and informs us when the readings are close to being bad. This is a huge improvement," said Aviation Boatswainís Mate (equipment) 1st Class Walter Fadrowski, V-2ís leading petty officer.
"The only problem is that it isnít hooked up to the LAN yet. As soon as that happens, weíll be able to implement its full capabilities," said Fadrowski.
If all goes well with this test, the Navy is looking at implementing this system on all carriers, and then even going so far as to bring it to other divisions, eventually making it the standard way of performing maintenance.
"This ship has never been afraid to try new things. HST almost always jumps on programs before the rest of the Navy," said Osborne. "Itís the front runner in quality of life issues, and thatís exactly what this is. Itís a way to make things easier for Sailors."
For more news from USS Harry S. Truman, go to their custom Navy NewsStand Web page at www.news.navy.mil/local/cvn75.