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Saving Precious Time: Officials in the Air Force Smart Operations for the 21st Century program office at Altus AFB, Okla., along with members of the base’s 97th Maintenance Directorate, have significantly reduced the time needed to perform home station checks on C-17 transports, thereby enabling C-17 aircrew training to increase annually by a projected 1,000 hours. Carl Martin, deputy director of the directorate, said it has traditionally taken 17 days to complete a home station check. “I challenged our people to reduce it to 10 days," he said. Changes introduced in May included moving the start day of a home station check from Friday to Monday. This new flow alone eliminated two days of unnecessary wait time. Workload was also better balanced among shifts for a more seamless process, and maintainers were encouraged to better anticipate the need for aircraft parts to shed more wait time. After a scheduled unit compliance inspection in September, the AFSO21 office and the maintenance directorate will look into reducing the time even more. (Altus report by SrA. Clinton Atkins)