FAA-CBP Remote Video Surveillance System Field Operations Team Winner of the Federal Executive Board, Interagency Collaborative Effort Award
The FAA Logistics Center (FAALC) has a 10 year interagency agreement (IAA) with the Department of Homeland Security to provide logistical and engineering support of systems used by Customs & Border Protection (CBP) to detect and stop unauthorized entry of contraband and personnel into the United States. One of the major CBP systems supported by the FAALC under this IAA is the Remote Video Surveillance System (RVSS).
This system consists of a day camera and a night vision camera suite mounted on top of a tower with the camera feeds going to a centralized Command & Control (C2) Center. There are networks of these RVSS tower sites across the southern border of the United States.
The FAALC RVSS Field Operations Team took on the challenge of cost effectively restoring RVSS sites to their full and "like new" surveillance capabilities. This would enable the CBP Border Patrol Agents to have the ability to see previously invisible areas of the border via the long range remote cameras allowing for the coordinated deployment of agents to trouble spots.
Their work directly led to a significant increase in the capability of Border Patrol Agents to deter and intercept illegal border crossings. These crossing attempts frequently involve human and drug trafficking. To quote the customer's own words "Their (FAALC) skills, ability and innovation have increased the operability of day-time cameras from 57% to 93% and infrared cameras from 5% to 86%. The professionalism and dedication of the Federal Aviation Administration and its members largely contribute to El Paso Sector's operational success."
The agents now have visibility to previously invisible areas of the border, a clearer picture and more control over the operation of the cameras and the ability to triangulate and determine exact GPS coordinates of threats via the FAALC-developed VIPER software. CBP is so pleased with the results achieved so far they have made a significant financial commitment to this work being continued in other sectors for 2018 and beyond.
AML Structural Support Team (ATC Tower Cab Glass) Winner of the FAA Agency Assist Award
The Federal Aviation Administration's Air Traffic Organization, Central Service Area (CSA) has experienced serious challenges with their Air Traffic Control Tower (ATCT) cab glass. CSA relied on various contractors to change out damaged glass panels in their control towers and it wasn't working. Cost were up 111% in just 4 years from 2009 to 2013. The quality of glass and workmanship was so inconsistent that over 20% requried re-work. Contracting and scheduling issues contributed to a glass replacement process that required 18 months from start to finish. This, along with a tight budget, created a backlog of 26 sites requiring $2.09M in repairs.
In 2014, a CSA tiger team approached the FAA Logistic Center (FAALC) for help. The FAAALC���s Structure Support Branch has the ncessary expertise in engineering, project management, construction, maintenance, quality and saefeyt, and is well known for their ability to perfomr work at height. Working within a $429K budget and 12-month schedule, the team set about developing a conprehensive program from the ground up.
Replacing cab glass requires a team to carefully maneuver enormous panes of glass weighing up to 1,000 pounds each. Dangling from a crane 100 feet in the air. Great care must be taken to prevent a gust of wind from slamming the glass agains the tower. In order to avoid mishaps, the team designed and constructed a mock-up for hands-on training at he Aeronautical Center in Oklahoma City. Technicians, engineers and the safety representative used this free-standing frame to develop and refine their procedures in a relatively safe and low-risk environment. The Structure Support team practiced removal and replacement repeatedly until coordination was perfected.
One of the most important challenges the team overcame was acquiring a dependable and reliable source of high-quality glass. By contracting directly with the glass supplier instead of going through a commericial installer/middleman, the team was able to improve both cost and timeliness.
In 2015, the Structure Support Branch completed its first ATCT cab glass replacement in Flint, Michigan, on schedule and within budget. In winds exceeding 15 MPH on a ower that stands over 75 feet, the 10-person team safely removed and installed 3 glass panels with the use of a large crane and boom lift, meticulously maneuvering each glass pane within just feet of the tower; with no room for error, the team completed their first replacement job in just 3 days. The quality of the glass and installation far exceeded prior installations.
The FAALC team now has the ability to respond to glass requirments in just 60 days (versus 18 months before). Estimates show that the new program will save at least 25% over the previous proceduce. The program has been so successful that he Eastern Service Area has joined CSA. As the program continues to grow and mature, FAALC anticipates that the Structure Support Branch will be the first choice for ATCT cab glass replacement throughout the United States.