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LEMOORE, Calif. – The early returns from the Center for Naval Aviation Technical Training (CNATT) Unit Lemoore training staff’s use of a corrosion control application prototype have been positive.
Sailors who are either novice or experienced corrosion inspectors have shown a 30 percent increase in their overall test scores, posting 61 percent test scores before using the app, and 91 percent test scores after using the app.
The app is focused on helping Sailors identify and classify aircraft corrosion properly, particularly on the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet aircraft. Key stakeholders identified that Sailors suffered “knowledge atrophy” from the schoolhouse to the fleet as a key contributing factor for this issue, which has led to costly aircraft repairs and a negative impact on fleet readiness.
CNATT leadership's decision to evaluate the app prototype's potential to help improve corrosion control training retention and increase operational readiness aligns the effort with Naval Education and Training Command’s Ready, Relevant Learning (RRL) concept. RRL focuses on improving individual Sailor performance and enhancing fleet readiness with three major components that address the when, how, and where they train. The “how” is at center focus with the corrosion app prototype, by leveraging mobile application technology via tablet devices to increase the “reps and sets” a Sailor/Marine can get to help him/her identify and address corrosion on aircraft.
For Aviation Structural Mechanic First Class Jacob Schmid, a corrosion subject-matter expert who helped the contractor team with the app’s development, his outlook on the app has evolved over time.
“At first, there were a lot of us who were pretty apprehensive about this process, due to it being an application-based training,” Schmid said. “None of us knew what to expect from this when we started, but the team really helped streamline the process and build the best content that we could.”
Schmid said more than 70 Sailors with varying levels of experience tested the app. The results were “extremely positive,” and he sees value to the Navy beyond his area of expertise.
“Even though we are currently using this as a training tool for corrosion on the Super Hornet, I can see this being used for training in many different areas,” Schmid said.
Aviation Structural Mechanic First Class Phillip Morgan, who has served 10 years as a corrosion program manager, has enjoyed his experience in helping develop the app.
“The project has been an excellent opportunity to provide a much-needed boost to the knowledge of aircraft corrosion for the U.S. Navy,” Morgan said. “The lessons we have developed provide an excellent introduction to the focus area lists [to Sailors] and how to read them.”
According to John Linzer, CNATT’s N74 division head, the app prototype is currently in the second “end user/go live” phase of a three-phase process. Phase 3 “lookback/assessment” is up next, followed by a review of the results to determine how and if it can be used in future RRL training. Once that is complete, then final approval and accreditation of the app is possible.
Chief Aviation Electronics Technician Michael A. Hamm contributed to this report.