Friday, November 10, 2017

TOP STORY >> U.S. Air Force, Canadians work together to improve C-130J maintenance

By Staff Sgt. Jeremy McGuffin
19th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

The 19th Airlift Wing trained with the Royal Canadian Air Force in a cold weather joint force exercise in Toronto, Canada.

The focus of the training is to improve coordination between both countries’ C-130J experts. During the training event, lasting from Oct. 30 to Nov. 9, 2017, maintenance crews work around-the-clock to ensure aircraft are running smoothly and in the air.

Maintainers need to be ready for any issue that may occur when aircraft malfunction.  Although maintainers can’t foresee every possible issue, they improvise by relying on support and resources from either their home base or from their current location.

“Our biggest challenge has been that our parts kit is very limited,” said Master Sgt. Steve Beiswenger, 19th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron superintendent. “All of the parts that have broken this trip were ones we didn’t have, so we had to call on our Canadian partners for assistance.”

Working with the Royal Canadian Air Force proved invaluable when a critical system failed; possibly removing an aircraft from operations for three days, but was turned into a four-hour repair.

“We had a hydraulic line from the steering system crack,” Beiswenger said. “Since the Canadians didn’t have that specific part, we contacted their fabrication shop and they were able to manufacture the lines based on our technical orders, saving us a lot of downtime.”

The maintenance team here has already faced unique challenges by generating as many aircraft as possible for training with little downtime. This exercise helps them be ready for any deployment conditions.

“The biggest constraint we had at the beginning of the training, but have sorted out now, is being able to work with the Canadians to source the parts we need efficiently,” said 1st Lt. Ryan Landon, 19th Maintenance Group officer in charge of maintenance operations. “We have to be resourceful and think outside of the box to make the mission happen.” 

Keeping Combat Airlift airborne 24/7 is what maintenance excels at and it doesn’t matter if it’s training or in a deployed location.

“Wherever the planes go, maintenance follows,” Landon said.

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