The 386th Expeditionary Maintenance Squadron of the US Air Force (USAF) has refitted a repaired landing gear door of C-130 Hercules military transport aircraft during a maintenance operation in Southwest Asia.
A C-130 Hercules tire recently blew out while landing at a forward operating base. The body of the tire is reported to have damaged the left landing gear door of the aircraft, which required a complete part replacement.
According to the 386th Expeditionary Maintenance Squadron maintenance operations officer captain Donovan Ricks, shipping the replacement was expected to take approximately two weeks.
The airmen of the USAF squadron, led by 386th Expeditionary Maintenance Squadron combat metals flight chief master sergeant Daniel Taylor, began repairing the aircraft, starting with disassembling the door and hammering the dents and creases out of the sheet metal.
While removing the door, the combat metals team, comprising ten airmen, found that the damage extended beyond the metal skin to the structural ribs of the door.
Taylor said: “We made a forming block out of plywood that had the same contour shape as the landing gear door as the mould.
“We used that mould to make sure the ribs we fabricated would match the factory specifications exactly, in addition to making sure the door would fit flush to the fuselage.”
Once the damaged parts were fabricated, the metal skin was removed and the structural ribs were set in place. The repair team then spliced a new piece of sheet metal onto the landing gear door.
The task saved the USAF approximately $107,000 in replacement costs by completing the upgrade in three days and returning the aircraft to service eight days before schedule.
The aircraft has returned to service after completing its final repair, refit and functional test.
Image: The 386th Expeditionary Maintenance Squadron combat metals team refits the repaired landing gear door on C-130 Hercules. Photo: courtesy of the USAF photo / master sergeant Eric M Sharman.