Local Repair Saves $400,000

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  • 374 AW/PA

How well would a C-130J Super Hercules fly without its tail? Luckily Yokota Airmen don’t have to find out.

Since late March, 374th Maintenance Squadron and 374th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron coordinators have hosted a contract field team from Lockheed Martin Corporation to conduct repairs for four C-130J aircraft at Yokota Air Base, Japan. Crane operators from the 374th Civil Engineering Squadron also provided critical support.

“The Lockheed Martin guys are here and we’ll help them out if they need any tools or anything like that,” said Airman 1st Class Cole Aufdenberg, 374th AMXS crew chief. “I coordinate with the expeditor and I've also been running the JLG (Boom Lift).”

Typically, a repair of this magnitude would require shipping the aircraft to bases like Joint Base Elmendorf Richardson. Since it was accomplished locally, Yokota Air Base has saved more than $400,000 and roughly 24 days without access to four aircraft.

“This affects 19 aircraft across the fleet, we have four here at Yokota,” said Senior Master Sgt. Christopher Carlson, 374th AMXS lead production superintendent. “We’ve had two successful functional check flights so those aircraft have been returned to service.”

A Time Compliance Technical Order was deemed necessary after a Non Destructive Inspection team found potential stress points in the vertical stabilizer of the aircraft’s tail. If repairs weren’t made, these stress points could have eventually led to mishaps or mission failure.

“There are some fasteners that stick up just a little bit and they need to be flush mounted,” said Aufdenberg. “All they're doing is replacing those fasteners. We want to level them out to give it more support.”

To ensure mission success all systems in the tail are disconnected, and the rudder and vertical stabilizer are removed. Next, the hardware is replaced and the vertical stabilizer and rudder are reinstalled. Then, the teams reconnect all the systems, operationally check them and take to the sky for a functional check flight.

“It's a total mission support group effort between our schedulers up at maintenance operations, our brothers and sisters over at the maintenance squadron and us as aircraft maintenance squadron,” said Carlson. “It's a collective effort to get this done.”

Repairs are slated for completion by late May 2021. After nearly two years of coordination and navigating through a global pandemic the MSG proved themselves multicable; keeping aircraft safe and reliable for any mission that comes their way.