By Airman 1st Class Kevin Sommer Giron
19th Airlift Wing Public Affairs
Classic Rock plays in the background as three Airmen piece together one of the most important safety features of a C-130J. Though the pressure is on, and one error could cause fatal consequences, they are cool, calm and focused on the task at hand.
Their task is simple: rebuild C-130J carbon brakes used in aircraft across Air Mobility Command.
In addition to carbon brakes, the 19th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron Hydraulics Centralized Repair Facility is responsible for repairing all fluid, air and gas-pressured devices on the C-130J fleet.
As the only CRF in AMC, the 19th AMXS Hydraulics Shop is the sole provider of C-130J hydraulic repairs, saving the U.S. Air Force millions of dollars annually.
These hydraulic specialists saved approximately $2.5 million in repair costs for fiscal year 2017, while maintaining production within the world’s largest Air Force.
“We have a two-fold scope,” said Tech. Sgt. Aaron Brown, 19th AMXS NCO in charge of Hydraulics CRF. “We handle the isochronal inspections for any aircraft that comes in from the 19th Airlift Wing and 314th Airlift Wing. We also overhaul all unserviceable hydraulic components.”
Similar to a flight physical, an isochronal inspection is a thorough exam of an aircraft based on the amount of flight hours it has.
Its preventative maintenance ensuring aircraft parts are repaired before they become unserviceable.
“When a part comes in, we’ll tear down the component, do our initial inspection and per overhaul instruction, order new pieces and send other pieces to be serviced at other maintenance shops,” Brown said.
Hydraulics Airmen work hand-in-hand with multiple maintenance shops on base to achieve their mission, including Non-destructive Inspections, Aircraft Electrical and Environment Systems, Aircraft Structural Maintenance and Component Maintenance.
Once all pieces of a part are repaired, Airmen perform intensive pressure testing before conducting a final inspection and sending it out to the supply system.
“The parts we supply are pivotal,” said Senior Airman Osaro Obayuwana, 19th AMXS Hydraulics CRF journeyman. “Brakes, actuators and accumulators: they are all super important in flight. If the aircraft has faulty brakes, it puts the aircrew in danger.”
Hydraulics Airmen carry a huge responsibility not only on base but in support of contingency operations.
“During deployments, we get leaned on for not only hydraulic tasks but crew chief tasks,” Brown said. “We always have Airmen deployed to Afghanistan, Africa and Germany, providing Combat Airlift and humanitarian relief.”
Without vital components the maintainers repair and provide, pilots wouldn’t be able to stop, steer and certain flight controls within the aircraft would lose functionality.
“Loadmasters wouldn’t be able to perform air drops because the cargo door and ramp wouldn’t open,” Brown said. “The aircraft would be pretty much useless.”
Regardless of the responsibility placed upon them, Hydraulics Airmen work in harmony. Their mission reaches across AMC and ultimately to all corners of the globe as they provide essential components to the work horse of the U.S. Air Force.