The History of Rapid Runway Repair Repair Quality Criteria (RQC)

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The History of Rapid Runway Repair Repair Quality Criteria (RQC)

In Career, Gee Whiz, Historical, News, Publications | on February, 24, 2016 | by | 0 Comments

If you are anything like me, there are times when you wonder where some of the crazy charts we use come from, especially the Repair Quality Criteria (RQC) charts we used for so many years within our technical order to decide the allowable bump.  I had for some reason always imagined that it was a bunch of engineers sitting in a room smoking and using their slide rules and an abacus.  I’m not entirely sure why that was the image I conjured, but I think it had something to do with the ancient feel of most of the copies of the TO’s I had managed to see over the 18 years of doing calculating RQC.  I finally am able to cast away that mental image and replace it with something that is more realistic.

As it turns out, there was an industrious Technical Sergeant who in 2001 reached out to a contractor who happened to have access to a wealth of information with regards to how the charts were derived.  Luckily this now Senior Master Sergeant just happened to hold on to his e-mail traffic from then and was able to offer some of the documents to us to share with you all.  Before I start getting inundated with e-mail requests for this mysterious inquisitive Technical Sergeant turned Senior Master Sergeant, it is none other than SMSgt Rigoberto Chacon.

From what I gather from the documents below, in 1988 there was a final technical report named “Repair Quality Criteria Charts System Development Description” by the then Engineering and Services Program Office, Air Force Engineering and Services Center at Tyndall AFB, Florida.  The Air Force Engineering and Services Center was apparently founded in 1977 under the name of the Air Force Engineering and Services Agency.  In 1991 it became what we lovingly knew as the Air Force Civil Engineer Support Agency and then of course the Air Force Civil Engineer Center more recently.

The document then goes on to describe how a software simulation called TAXIG was used to decide aircraft structural responses to irregularities of runway surface conditions met during takeoff, landing and taxi operations.  TAXIG was developed by in-house in 1983 under the Rapid Runway Repair Program.  It then goes on to describe how the complexities of the application required the use of a mainframe computer, which for us older folks, we can remember those with shudders of horror.  Turns out though, they moved the entire development effort over to a Cray super computer, but then had to stop because the costs were too high.  The effort was then contracted through the US Army Space and Strategic Defense Command to BDM Federal, Inc. who was charged to take TAXIG derivative models and make them work on an Intel Pentium desktop computers.

Needless to say, the effort was successful and that is how we ended up with the last publication of the technical order.

To read a bit more on the topic and to see what exactly went into the effort, please read the linked document below named RQC-Chart.pdf.  It was an interesting read and definitely helped me understand where these charts came from.