JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-LACKLAND, Texas –
Maintenance personnel from the 433rd Airlift Wing conducted rarely seen maintenance on the C-5M Super Galaxy elevator May 20-27 at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland.
During a routine preflight check, a crack on the hull of the aircraft was discovered near the aircraft’s elevator; the part of the aircraft that changes the aircraft’s pitch while in flight.
Due to the location of the crack on the aircraft, aerospace engineers were consulted as to how to proceed with repairs. After a closer look, engineers prompted a maintenance procedure that is typically accomplished on a 20-25-year interval.
“This is a very precise and complex procedure that was recommended by aircraft engineers to be able to accomplish repairs on the aircraft,” said Victor Morales, 433rd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron civilian aircraft mechanic and lead ground supervisor coordinator for this repair. “Because of the location of the damage on the aircraft, this repair is going to be difficult and take some time.”
Repairs took approximately ten days to accomplish, which grounded the aircraft until repairs were complete. Morales stated that weather was considered in getting the repairs finished as it had an impact on their ability to use specific equipment to get the job done.
Overall, it took 14 aircraft mechanics working 10-hour shifts to get the job done. Since removing the aircraft’s elevator is an interval procedure done every 20-25 years, Morales stated that this was a good opportunity for the wing’s personnel to gain experience doing such a task.
“For some of the younger maintenance personnel, this is the first time conducting this type of task on the aircraft, while for others it may be the last time they’ll be doing this type of work on the aircraft,” Morales said.
Current wing maintenance personnel hadn’t seen this type of aircraft discrepancy. This prompted maintenance to contact other C-5M units to check their aircraft for this type of damage.