Luke AFB improves launch and recovery with new app

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class David C. Busby
  • 56th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

The Air Force prioritizes searching for new ways to streamline processes, track progress and increase efficiency as a whole. Members of the 56th Fighter Wing introduced a new way of completing the mission through the Spark Cell Initiative, KILA.

KILA is an app created by Capt. Wesley “Rock” Reid, 56th FW Spark Cell lead, while he was stationed at Kunsan Air Base, Korea. The app is named after the KILA flight line at the same base.

“KILA is a digitization of the launch and recovery process,” said Reid. “It combines the Fighter Squadron’s maintainers on the flight line and the Maintenance Operations Center, or MOC, into a shared collaborative space, [allowing us to] now track the sortie launch and recovery process.”

He and his team at Kunsan poured over the program, referencing programming videos and technical guides to make the best product for the mission and successfully making an app that has been in use at Kunsan since September 15th, 2020. The app has since been tailored by Reid for use at Luke AFB and has been in use since March 24th, 2021.

The app gives users access to the scheduled lines for the entire day, including essential data such as maintenance requirements, when the engine starts, when the aircraft parks and more. It also tracks previously unreported data that highlights negative trends helping to refine scheduling, execution and debrief processes.

Everyone involved in launch and recovery operations is able to reduce radio chatter by keeping all parties informed about every aircraft within the shared app.

“It’s basically a Google Doc sheet,” said Tech. Sgt. John Kellogg, 310th Aircraft Maintenance Unit flight line expediter. “It’s made it way easier to keep track of potential problems, especially when it comes time for our jets to take off on time. All expediters have access to the app. As soon as you press that button, any new info shows up on everyone else’s iPad instantaneously. It’s near second-nature to use it on the flight line.”

Reid expressed the KILA program has a bright future and can only improve from here.

“KILA is a success, but is not the professionalized product that we want to scale to the rest of the Air Force,” he said. “Keeping with ‘accelerate change, or lose,’ the way to improve KILA is to develop something better in three months and then something even better in the three months after that. I want to fail quickly and fail in the right direction.”

Continuous innovation and the willingness to improve despite setbacks is the key to active growth, through all levels of an organization. With empowerment and collaboration, the Air Force gets stronger, faster and smarter every day.