By Senior Airman Kaylee Clark
19th Airlift Wing Public Affairs
The 19th Logistics Readiness Squadron vehicle management shop has provided continual support to de-icing trucks at Little Rock Air Force Base, Ark., this winter.
Ice and freezing temperatures can slow down the mission when it comes to aircraft. The wear and tear from the high demand of the winter season keeps the vehicle management shop busy with repairs on the de-icers.
“Team Little Rock has approximately 15 de-icer trucks, and eight broke in one day,” said Tech Sgt. Michael Johns, 19th Logistics Readiness Squadron vehicle management superintendent. “It took us one day to get them all back up, running and meeting the mission-essential level. We got everyone back on track to complete the mission.”
All of the vehicles that come through the shop are essential to the mission, but without de-icer trucks running, planes do not fly when there is precipitation on the aircraft.
“That means the trucks are running constantly during the winter months,” said Johns. “When a truck runs nonstop, it will break, and our shop will be working on it until it is back up and running.”
The 19th and 314th Aircraft Maintenance Squadrons operate the de-icer trucks.
“De-icers are similar to electrical line service bucket trucks,” said Tech Sgt. Joseph Isaac, a 19th Logistics Readiness Squadron vehicle management foreman. “It’s not just your normal run-of-the-military vehicle. It carries 1,800 gallons of aircraft de-icer fluid; it also heats the fluid to 180 degrees.”
The truck has an enclosed cab at the end of a boom that can reach any part of the aircraft. Not only spraying heated de-icing fluid, but also heated high pressure air. The heated air is supplied by a super charger.
“Essentially, it’s a giant hair dryer.” Isaac said.
Problems that come through the vehicle management shop range from hydraulic leaks to the boom not operating. Isaac said their shop looks to those Airmen who have been stationed at other bases with strong de-icing backgrounds to aid them when de-icing problems occur.
“We utilize the Airmen that came from bases that have a lot of de-icer trucks,” Isaac said. “We employ experienced Airmen on the de-icers; we cater to strengths and train on weaknesses.”
Isaac said, though experienced Airmen in de-icing are of high value, all Airmen who are a part of the vehicle management shop will get a chance to rotate through the special purpose shop and work on the de-icers.
“We know our priorities and take pride in our job,” said Isaac.