15 May 2007

Robins unit helps Egyptian Air Force repair C-130s

AFMCNS09 - May 14, 2007
By Holly L. Birchfield 78th Air Base Wing Public Affairs
ROBINS AIR FORCE BASE, Ga. (AFMCNS) -- A 12-person team from the 653rd Combat Logistics Support Squadron here has returned after spending more than six months in Egypt to help the Egyptian Air Force's C-130s take to the skies again.
The team, consisting of various aircraft experts from the unit, traveled to Helwan, Egypt, an area 20 miles southeast of Cairo, to assist in making center wing rainbow and corner fitting repairs to the wings of four C-130 aircraft that were either cracked or corroded.
Master Sgt. Michael Ackerman, a depot structural maintenance craftsman in the 653rd CLSS who served as the team lead on the mission, said the team's enlisted force worked with Egyptian Air Force officers eight hours a day.
"Initially, [our mission] was to replace two center wing rainbow fittings -- one lower right-hand-side rainbow fitting on the center wing itself and one center wing upper left side," Sergeant Ackerman said.
The fittings are the main connecting components that hold the center and outer wings together and fasten them to the main aircraft. The two outer wing rainbow fittings were the first ever to be done off station, Sergeant Ackerman said, adding that the project saved the Egyptian Air Force millions of dollars.
The team also worked with Egyptian Air Force members on fixing two corner fittings and an engine truss mount on the aircraft. They were on site to teach the service how to make the repairs and to provide tooling the Egyptian Air Force would need for any such repairs in the future.
Master Sgt. Kenneth Foote, an aircraft structural maintenance craftsman in the 653rd CLSS who served as the team's lead structural technician, said the foreign environment presented a new experience.
"There were a small percentage of them who spoke very good English," Sergeant Foote said. "Most of them didn't speak English at all. It slowed us down at times. There was a lot of pointing to tools, but we got through it."

(all of the Egyptian C-130s are early C-130Hs)

No comments: