HomeNews

Fix these broken wings – part fabrication saves Air Force time, money

A T-38 Talon assigned to the U.S. Air Force Test Pilot School taxis at Edwards Air Force Base, California. (U.S. Air Force photo by Dawn Waldman)

A T-38 Talon assigned to the U.S. Air Force Test Pilot School taxis at Edwards Air Force Base, California. (U.S. Air Force photo by Dawn Waldman)

Senior Airman Aliyah Vasquez, 412th MXS, Non-Destructive Inspection Section, demonstrates a scanning tool used to identify cracks in air plane parts. (U.S. Air Force photo by Giancarlo Casem)

Senior Airman Aliyah Vasquez, 412th MXS, Non-Destructive Inspection Section, demonstrates a scanning tool used to identify cracks in air plane parts. (U.S. Air Force photo by Giancarlo Casem)

EDWARDS AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. --

Team Edwards members worked together to save the Air Force more than $1 million in repair costs recently at Edwards Air Force Base, California.

Airmen from the 412th Maintenance Squadron discovered damages on a T-38 Talon during a 225-hour inspection.

“During a standard 225-hour T-38 inspection, we found one substantial crack around a riveted area,” said Senior Airman Aliyah Vasquez, 412th MXS, Non-Destructive Inspection Section.

The maintenance team discovered the crack by using an ultrasonic scan, a non-destructive technology, she said.

 “They (MXS) have 500 different inspections they do, they found one hole in the wing that was cracked; after going back and forth with engineering, they basically decided to change the wings,” said Owen McCallister, Metal Technologies Supervisor, 412th MXS.

Replacement wings were ordered, but when they arrived the holes in the wings didn’t match up exactly with the existing holes in the aircraft, McCallister said.

When they mated the wings and fuselage, two front mounts were still off by 27-thousandths of an inch, a width of about eight sheets of paper, he said. That may not sound like it’s off by much to the average person, but the high stresses aircraft undergo during flight require exacting tolerances. Ordering new parts would have cost more than a million dollars and would have kept the aircraft out of flight status until the new wings could arrive and be installed.

But the technicians had an idea that saved a lot of time and a lot of money.

“We went back to engineering, and they gave us the ‘OK’ to make two off-set bushings…that moved the holes over so they fit the aircraft,” McCallister said. “The left side went well; the right side was actually gouged by the manufacturer, so we had to make a fixture to open that hole up, clean it up, and put a new bushing in it.”

The total process took only roughly three weeks – much faster and cheaper than reordering new wings from the manufacturer.

“By the time we were done, it went on the plane very nice, it lined up great,” McCallister said.

The time the maintenance crew saved meant that the T-38 could be returned to operational status much sooner and continue its mission. The process also meant that this procedure can be done on similar aircraft with similar issues.


USAF Comments Policy
If you wish to comment, use the text box below. AF reserves the right to modify this policy at any time.

This is a moderated forum. That means all comments will be reviewed before posting. In addition, we expect that participants will treat each other, as well as our agency and our employees, with respect. We will not post comments that contain abusive or vulgar language, spam, hate speech, personal attacks, violate EEO policy, are offensive to other or similar content. We will not post comments that are spam, are clearly "off topic", promote services or products, infringe copyright protected material, or contain any links that don't contribute to the discussion. Comments that make unsupported accusations will also not be posted. The AF and the AF alone will make a determination as to which comments will be posted. Any references to commercial entities, products, services, or other non-governmental organizations or individuals that remain on the site are provided solely for the information of individuals using this page. These references are not intended to reflect the opinion of the AF, DoD, the United States, or its officers or employees concerning the significance, priority, or importance to be given the referenced entity, product, service, or organization. Such references are not an official or personal endorsement of any product, person, or service, and may not be quoted or reproduced for the purpose of stating or implying AF endorsement or approval of any product, person, or service.

Any comments that report criminal activity including: suicidal behaviour or sexual assault will be reported to appropriate authorities including OSI. This forum is not:

  • This forum is not to be used to report criminal activity. If you have information for law enforcement, please contact OSI or your local police agency.
  • Do not submit unsolicited proposals, or other business ideas or inquiries to this forum. This site is not to be used for contracting or commercial business.
  • This forum may not be used for the submission of any claim, demand, informal or formal complaint, or any other form of legal and/or administrative notice or process, or for the exhaustion of any legal and/or administrative remedy.

AF does not guarantee or warrant that any information posted by individuals on this forum is correct, and disclaims any liability for any loss or damage resulting from reliance on any such information. AF may not be able to verify, does not warrant or guarantee, and assumes no liability for anything posted on this website by any other person. AF does not endorse, support or otherwise promote any private or commercial entity or the information, products or services contained on those websites that may be reached through links on our website.

Members of the media are asked to send questions to the public affairs through their normal channels and to refrain from submitting questions here as comments. Reporter questions will not be posted. We recognize that the Web is a 24/7 medium, and your comments are welcome at any time. However, given the need to manage federal resources, moderating and posting of comments will occur during regular business hours Monday through Friday. Comments submitted after hours or on weekends will be read and posted as early as possible; in most cases, this means the next business day.

For the benefit of robust discussion, we ask that comments remain "on-topic." This means that comments will be posted only as it relates to the topic that is being discussed within the blog post. The views expressed on the site by non-federal commentators do not necessarily reflect the official views of the AF or the Federal Government.

To protect your own privacy and the privacy of others, please do not include personally identifiable information, such as name, Social Security number, DoD ID number, OSI Case number, phone numbers or email addresses in the body of your comment. If you do voluntarily include personally identifiable information in your comment, such as your name, that comment may or may not be posted on the page. If your comment is posted, your name will not be redacted or removed. In no circumstances will comments be posted that contain Social Security numbers, DoD ID numbers, OSI case numbers, addresses, email address or phone numbers. The default for the posting of comments is "anonymous", but if you opt not to, any information, including your login name, may be displayed on our site.

Thank you for taking the time to read this comment policy. We encourage your participation in our discussion and look forward to an active exchange of ideas.

News Search