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Saturday, December 1, 2012

MAFFS News: Retardant Corrosion Requires Elevator Tail Replacement

 CHEYENNE, Wyo. - With the end of a highly visible Modular Airborne Fire Fighting System season comes the not so visible, yet highly mission critical, aircraft maintenance phase.

During the 2012 fire season, Wyoming Air National Guard C-130s and crews contributed more than 2 million gallons of fire retardant dropped on wild fires throughout the United States.

The 153rd Maintenance Squadron performs maintenance on a C-130 at the ISO dock Nov. 4, 2012. The C-130 was used as part of this year’s Modular Airborne FireFighting System missions
 Recently, while performing corrosion prevention, the 153rd Maintenance Group discovered the new MAFFS system, which releases retardant through a special nozzle in the paratroop door on the side of the aircraft, had deposited retardant on the elevator tail at the rear of the aircraft, requiring the unit to be replaced.

With the task laid out for the airmen of the 153 MXG, the behind-the-scenes maintainers started organizing their operations to get the aircraft back to flying status.

“The only way to get the job done is by working as a team,” said Master Sgt. Roger LaBarr, 30th Airlift Wing ISO dock supervisor.

This particular project involved multiple shops throughout the array of maintenance operations including: isochronicals, flight line, sheet metal, metals technician, repair and reclamation and even supply.

“Supply is part of our team,” said LaBarr. “We couldn’t do the job without them.”

Over the course of a week, quality assurance took pictures of the corrosion, supply ordered necessary parts, and repair and reclamation operated the Omni arm to remove and install the new tail.

Having so many entities to coordinate takes continuous and detailed planning.

“Section chiefs from each shop, along with plans and schedules, coordinate how the work is going to get done,” said LaBarr. “They meet two times a day to go over the workload.”

The installation of the new elevator tail was accomplished thanks to the team members from all aircraft maintenance aspects.

“This was an intense process,” said LaBarr. “We hadn’t done this type of project in a long time and we couldn’t have done it without teamwork.”

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****REMINDER**** Every fire has the ability to be catastrophic. The wildland fire management environment has profoundly changed. Growing numbers of communities, across the nation, are experiencing longer fire seasons; more frequent, bigger, and more severe, fires are a real threat. Be careful with all campfires and equipment.
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