LIGHT BULB MOMENT FOR CULDROSE ENGINEER – INVENTION HAS SAVED OVER £350K
It may be small, but a little tool has already made a big impact in the aviation world, making savings of over £350,000 so far.
RNAS Culdrose based engineer, Chief Petty Officer (CPO) Neil Tregenza was recently recognised for a bright idea which he turned into a piece of equipment which is already being used by squadrons in theatre, saving the MOD a huge amount of time and money.
CPO Tregenza, who is part of 824 Naval Air Squadron, has been given an award under a Defence-wide suggestion scheme for the creation of his innovative tool that allows Merlin helicopters to be maintained easily within the theatre of operation.
The inspiration for the idea, Neil said, came when the rotorhead from a Navy Merlin was brought into the workshop at Culdrose, where he was working, from service in the Gulf. A crucial bolt, involved in connecting the rotor blade to the main rotorhead, had seized in place. This had prevented a routine component replacement from taking place and had therefore required that the entire rotorhead to be detached from the airframe and brought back to theUK.
Neil, who has worked as a mechanic his entire life, recognised that similar tools which he had at home could, with some modification, be used to extract the bolt from the rotorhead. The tool which he created – the ‘Triggs Extraction Tool’ – allows the work to be carried out without the removal of the rotorhead, meaning that in future this maintenance can be completed within the theatre of operation and without the expense of transporting equipment or aircraft back to theUK.
It is estimated that CPO Tregenza’s idea has already saved MOD in excess of £350,000 and the tool is in wide use.
In recognition of the impact of his idea, CPO Tregenza received a savings-based award through the GEMS scheme, which rewards both civilian and Service personnel for implemented ideas which benefit the MOD. He was presented with the certificate by Fleet Air Arm Rear Admiral, Keith Blount OBE at RNAS Culdrose.
CPO Tregenza said: “It was a bit of a light bulb moment to be honest. I had the idea, designed it and then used the facilities at the Culdrose workshops to make the tool myself. It worked first time! It is great that any idea, no matter how small it may seem, can have such a positive impact.” He added: “It has made things a lot easier for the aircraft engineers in theatre, but unfortunately, now that I have been given an award, I am going to have to buy the cakes!”
Rear Admiral, Keith Blount OBE, congratulated Neil and said: “This is a fantastic achievement – well done. As ideas go, this is right up there with the best of them. Everyone will benefit from this invention and it ensures that we get the maximum out of our aircraft whilst they are in theatre.”