RICHMOND, Virginia –
Cindy Hunt is a contract specialist in Defense Logistics Agency Aviation’s Engines and Airframes Division. She has been a buyer for tie down adjusters since 2007. “The tie down adjuster has been a high visibility item for our division as it is a high demand item for troops around the world,” said Hunt.
Hunt was responsible for soliciting, evaluating and awarding new long-term contracts for the adjusters as the fiscal 2003 contracts were set to expire in 2008. She said while the adjuster is a high visibility item for the division, there were many obstacles getting the request for proposal issued and evaluating offers from contractors. There were also qualification issues. Hunt said in order to qualify, the contractor first had to develop a test plan that had to be approved by the Air Force Engineering Support Activity at Robins Air Force Base in Warner Robins, Georgia. The ESA was transferred to Robins from Kelly Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas in 2007 and the national stock numbers for the adjusters were also transferred from the Air Force Civil Engineer Center, formerly Brooks Air Force Base, in San Antonio, Texas to Robins that same year. These actions took an excessive amount of time and work.
Hunt said after the ESA approved a test plan, the contractor then had to do a First Article Test, which also had to be approved by the ESA. DLA Aviation awarded three LTCs in 2009.
“There were significant item changes after Robins AFB took control of the item so we were not procuring the same item as specified in the fiscal year 2003 contracts,” said Hunt. “The tie down adjusters are an important piece of equipment for the troops transporting heavy equipment. They secure the cargo being transported by aircraft. “If the adjusters break or release the chain that is securing the cargo, it would be devastating to the crew and aircraft.”
Carlos Pillot is the supervisory integrated supplier team lead for DLA Aviation Engines and Airframes Division. He has been the supervisor and contracting officer since 2010. “We have never had a vendor capable of satisfying the customers' demands by themselves. We have always had to award multiple award contracts to ensure supply availability. We frequently had to award to three sources,” said Pillot.
Dale Stakes is a quality assurance specialist within the division who works alongside Hunt. He became the product specialist for the adjusters in 2007.
He says tie down adjusters are considered aircraft Critical Safety Items (CSIs). There are two types; the Type III adjuster, which has a 10,000 pound capacity and the Type IV adjuster, which has a 25,000 pound capacity.
“When an aircraft takes off and starts climbing at a pretty good rate of speed, there is a tremendous amount of stress on the cargo,” said Stakes.
“If it wasn't for Dale's knowledge and dedication to supporting the tie down adjusters I would not have been successful awarding the contracts. I have learned so much about the importance of ensuring we have vendors who can pass all the required testing for these items and can deliver a part with no defects,” said Hunt.