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139th Maintainers USAF remove aircraft ‘tail’ for first time

ST. JOSEPH, Mo. --

Master Sgt. Brian Gregory was performing a routine maintenance check on a C-130 Hercules aircraft recently, when he noticed a small crack underneath the vertical stabilizer. The crack was on a metal support structure on which the stabilizer, or tail, rests. In order to fix the crack, the entire tail of the aircraft would have to be removed.

“In my 20 years of working on these planes, I’ve never removed a tail before,” said Gregory, who is a crew chief assigned to the 139th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron.

The damaged structure could not be found in the Air Force supply system, so the maintainers had to fabricate it themselves. That involved creating a metal structure from scratch including a die, or mold, of the structure they needed to create. Once the dies were made, the extrusion [metal] had to be softened, bent in the dies, and then re-hardened to finish the part.                                                                                                                  

“We never have to worry about fixing anything because their expertise is phenomenal,” said Senior Master Sgt. Terry Ramseier, the fabrication section supervisor, referring to the maintainers.

Ramseier said the tail came off flawlessly. The tail remained off for a week allowing the maintainers to fabricate and install the part.

“Really proud of these guys, they did a great job,” he said.  BRON af.mil


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