461st Spark Cell sparks game-changing ideas

  • Published
  • By Kisha Foster Johnson
  • 78th Air Base Wing Public Affairs Office

An Airman with the 461st Air Control Wing Liberaiders at Robins Air Force Base, Georgia, hopes a new device will make work safer and quicker for aircraft maintenance teams.

The Robins Spark Cell program here held a show-and-tell demonstration for the innovative Velox Jack Aug. 15.

The Robins Spark Cell program allows local innovators to pitch their ideas to a panel of top leadership and industry experts in pursuit of improvements to save time, resources and improve safety.

One of those innovators is Airman 1st Class Isaac Taylor, 461st ACW Air Maintenance Squadron crew chief, who created the Velox jack.

“A while back, I saw there were potential dangers taking off and putting on the wheels of the E-8C Joint STARS aircraft,” said Taylor. “The manual lifting is dangerous and can be hard on your back. Also, the axles can be easily damaged by Airmen new to the process and those parts are very expensive to replace.”

“The Velox Jack I created can be used on any heavy frames and it will provide a safer working environment because it is pneumatic powered,” he continued. “It’s embedded with pressure sensors for precise tire removal accuracy.”

Taylor explained the jack is equipped with a roller system that press the tire to create lift. The pneumatic air cylinder is in place to provide elevation, which bypasses the need of manual labor. A cylinder lock is engaged to hold the tire at the required height to clear the main landing gear axle from damage.

“We gathered feedback from aircraft maintenance workers at Robins because we want to get their thoughts on how to make it better,” said Master Sgt. Philip Michael Yago, 461st AMXS production superintendent. “The demonstration was the first version of the prototype, which is in early stages of design and the next step is the refinement of the prototype. We truly want it to be a universal tool, not only for the Air Force but other DoD branches.”

The Spark program is a grassroots innovation program that empowers Airmen to bring tomorrow’s tools to the warfighter today. Spark program innovations often feed into larger, Air Force-wide programs such as those managed by AFWERX.

AFWERX is the Air Force’s team of innovators who encourage and facilitate connections across industry, academia, and the military to create transformative opportunities and foster a culture of innovation.

According to Staff Sgt. Oluwaseun Kolawole, 461st ACW Liberaider Spark Cell lead, the jack is an upgrade to the already used Go Jack in the maintenance world.

“I am passionate about the Spark Cell because I do not like just doing things the old way,” said Kolawole. “If there is a better way to do something and it saves time, let’s do it. We are an innovation hub to help Airmen refine their ideas and get them in front of the people who need to see it across the base or as high as the Pentagon.

“No idea is stupid, and don’t keep it to yourself. You may have that one missing piece that can solve a problem. Imagination has nothing to do with being smart. Can you think? If you can think, then you can act. Creativity is you thinking, innovation is you doing.”