RAMSTEIN AIR BASE, Germany — After a six-month hiatus from flying, one of Ramstein's Herks is in the air again.
While engineers from Lockheed Martin and the Warner Robins Air Logistics Center spent several months analyzing a peculiar crack on the C-130, the men and women of the 86th Maintenance Group converged to keep the aircraft in tip-top, take-off shape while it waited on the flight line here.
"The engines and systems were tested at least once a month to keep it fresh and all the regular timed-interval maintenance actions were complied with," said Air Force 2nd Lt. Tom Smith, 86th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron.
Finally, the good news came: after countless simulations and examining every possible scenario, the engineers confirmed the aircraft, which performs the tactical portion of the airlift mission, was "100-percent safe to fly."
After the confirmation, the 86th Maintenance Flight and other supporting flights within the 86th MXS took the lead on the aircraft. The rapidly reconfigurable C-130 was put through a category four Isochronal Inspection, the most in-depth examination for aircraft at Ramstein.
For 10 days, every inch of the aircraft was inspected as maintenance teams canvassed the aircraft, investigating each bend and corner. Propulsion specialists refurbished all four engines, while fuel experts verified the safety and operability of the fuel systems and equipment. Structural maintenance technicians ensured every single rivet was secure and no other deficiencies existed. Following the inspections, all the engines and flight systems were tested for several days to ensure the plane was in perfect working order.
"In the end, one of our trusty workhorses is back in the air... and back in the fight," said Air Force 1st Lt. Brett Hansen, 86th Maintenance Squadron.