The AF launches a pilot program to encourage flight optimization


As part of its efforts to streamline operations and increase aircraft range and capability, the Department of the Air Force launched the Mission Execution Excellence pilot program to incentivize optimization of the flight on the aircraft that consume the most fuel in the company.

MEEP will encourage Airmen to increase their use of efficient flying “best practices” that will not impact their mission and training needs through direct and indirect incentives.

The pilot phase will focus primarily on C-17 Globemaster III aircraft, the Air Force’s biggest fuel guzzlers, at Joint Base Charleston, SC, and Travis Air Force Base, Calif., and will continue through December 2022. MEEP will primarily work with pilots and operations planners, as well as maintainers and logisticians, and will leverage Airman’s innovation to integrate improved techniques and best practices into their daily operations.

The Air Force plans to inspire Airmen to increase their use of six key efficiency techniques across the force that can be implemented to reduce energy demand and improve readiness.

Accurate fuel planning — Decrease the carriage of excess fuel during planned flights when possible

Reduced engine taxiing – Reduce the number of engines running during taxiing to what is needed for safe operation where possible

Reduced use of Auxiliary Power Units (APUs) – Limit the use of APUs during ground operations and use more efficient ground power equipment when possible

Reduced or Simultaneous Engine Start – Minimize the time between engine start and takeoff by reducing running engines or starting the engine simultaneously when possible

Profile Descent Technique – Use continuous descent operations in a low drag configuration, with minimal engine thrust when possible

Cruise Altitude Selection – Fly at optimum cruise altitudes when possible

“We met with a number of commercial airlines and cargo and transportation companies to see how they are operating as efficiently and effectively as possible using 21st century tools,” said Roberto Guerrero, Undersecretary Air Force Operational Energy Deputy. “There are many opportunities to help aviators fly more efficiently – like software that helps aviators plan fuel more easily or flight techniques that pilots can implement, maintenance practices to improve engine performance and ways to improve load plans. Many of them are low hanging fruits that we simply need to fund and encourage. »

Early estimates show that using MEEP can improve energy intensity – or mission efficiency per gallon of fuel – by 3%. This is expected to increase capability and readiness while generating up to $80 million per year in fuel savings that can be returned to the Air Force or participating wings.

The program is comprised of three components: wing-level interaction focused on visibility of data collection and metrics, and direct and indirect incentives. Working with wings and internal innovation cells, MEEP will collect and analyze flight and fuel data to gather feedback, track performance metrics and complete any challenges. Through various education and training programs, teams will develop relevant dashboards for near real-time operator feedback, connect to survey analytics, drive operator reporting compliance, utilize scheduling software to support operations and will organize focus groups to collect qualitative data.

Incentives include direct transfer of O&M funds or funding for priority Wing projects, funding or rebates commensurate with savings, and ‘soft’ incentives such as awards and recognition to Airmen individuals and wings that show increased energy behavior.

Once the pilot phase is complete, the AFOE plans to expand the program to other bases and aircraft.


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