A C-130J Combat King II aircraft was struck by a bird, the leading edge of the wing was damaged
BREVARD COUNTY • PATRICK SPACE FORCE BASE, FLORIDA – When a bird struck the leading edge of one of the wing’s C-130J Combat King II aircraft during a flight, the structural maintenance shop at the wing The 920th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron successfully repaired the damage and returned the aircraft to flying operations within two months; saving the wing over 10,000 hours of maintenance and demonstrating the ability of the maintenance group to accelerate change within the wing.
The ASM workshop is a team of mechanics who are responsible for many services such as repairing, treating and preventing corrosion, and painting the wing’s HH-60G Pave Hawk and HC-130J Combat King II aircraft. .
While on a routine sortie, an HC-130J was struck by a bird and the aircraft’s leading edge was damaged. In order to repair it, it had to be ordered, but the delivery date was expected more than a year later.
“The part ordered took 500 days to be delivered, so the ASM team decided to repair the leading edge themselves. The home station repair showcased the ingenuity of the ASM team and resulted in a drastic decrease in aircraft downtime,” said Major Jaime Sciarrino, 920th MXS Commander.
When spare parts are not readily available, ASM manufactures them. They gather sheets of metal, then mold and bend them to the appropriate shape.
They are then combined with other shaped parts, polished and delivered to be assembled. These structures create the inner and outer hull of the aircraft.
The ASM team has successfully ordered and received the sheet metal needed to repair the leading edge. They then cut out the damaged area and riveted a new piece in its place.
After only 63 days of work, the leading edge part was completely repaired, polished, painted and inspected.
After making sure it would fit properly, the leading edge was delivered to the aircraft where they put it back in place.
The results of ASM’s foresight saved the wing millions of dollars and over 10,000 hours of maintenance on an aircraft that could not fly.
“Building this part was the quickest and most efficient option. It allowed our team to use our expertise to make repairs and get the plane back in the air. This supports wing operations and allows aircraft to be ready to go whenever they are needed,” said Technical Sgt. Alexander Ferguson, ASM Mechanic.
ASM works closely with two other workshops to ensure that all aircraft are mission ready. They work with the metal shop whose main responsibility is to melt and forge metal fittings for ASM to be used in repairs.
They also work closely with the non-destructive inspection shop which inspects the aircraft using powerful x-ray machines to examine any small cracks or tears that need to be repaired.
“This repair truly demonstrates the ability of these Airmen to make innovative decisions and exercise strong leadership at all levels of the organization. No matter how intense the upkeep, our Airmen always demonstrate their ability to stay focused on the mission, regardless of the obstacles in front of them,” said Maj. Sciarrino.
The wing will continue to use the ability of the ASM team to change the way the wing prepares and executes shop repairs; which will further advance mission readiness and return aircraft to service as soon as possible, in conjunction with Air Force Chief of Staff General Charles Q.
Brown’s order of action to accelerate change.
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