by Jenny Gordon
78th Air Base Wing Public Affairs
3/14/2014 - ROBINS AIR FORCE BASE, Ga. -- Teams
from across the Warner Robins Air Logistics Complex gathered March 6 to
witness a first -- the complete nose separation of a C-130H from its
This particular mission at Robins is significant not only politically --
it will be one of two C-130H models scheduled to be delivered to the
Afghan Air Force this year -- but once again showcases the experience
and capabilities here when it comes to a structural undertaking of this
"I was extremely pleased with the teamwork and coordination between the
system program office engineers, quality, safety and our maintenance
personnel during this Herculean effort," said Jim Russell, 560th
Aircraft Maintenance Squadron director. "They once again proved this
complex can safely and expertly handle any maintenance task."
Due to a hard landing, the C-130H experienced major structural damage to its nose.
An engineering team from the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center and
402nd Aircraft Maintenance Group C-130 maintainers is moving ahead to
remove another nose from a second donor aircraft which was scheduled to
be retired. The nose from that donor aircraft will be installed on the
AAF-bound aircraft within the next few weeks.
The nose repair -- unscheduled depot level maintenance -- was delicately
disassembled at the factory break. The 360-degree nose section included
a labyrinth of electrical and hydraulic components, engine cables,
oxygen lines and air conditioning systems.
Maintenance crews were scheduled separately to remove their responsible areas.
"We had a lot of homework to do before we started this project," said
Scott Latimer, 560th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron's Center Wing Box
Fixtures team lead. A total of 364 bolts -- what held the 9,000-pound
nose section to the fuselage -- were manually removed, some more easily
While the disassembly process took nearly three weeks, it only took
about 90 minutes from the time the final bolts were removed until the
nose completely separated.
Teams will assess the aircraft's mating surfaces for corrosion and
cracks, clean and polish the holes where the bolts were, and perform
nondestructive testing techniques to inspect the aircraft for any
unknown conditions. When all the criteria have been met on the removal
and inspection of the second donor nose, the next major event will be
marrying that to the AAF-bound aircraft. A team from Robins visited
Lockheed Martin in Marietta to learn how maintainers there performed
Both 1974 airframes arrived at Robins last fall. In order to prepare
them for the work ahead, active duty personnel from the 402nd
Expeditionary Depot Maintenance team first removed large pieces of the
aircraft, including its wings, horizontal and vertical stabilizers,
ramp, engines and cargo doors.
"This project wouldn't be moving along as quickly if not for the team
efforts of active duty Air Force and civil service," said Latimer.
Considering the aging fleet of the aircraft, this C-130H will be better
than new when finished. It will not only have a new nose but a recently
replaced center wing box prior to its delivery overseas.
The remaining parts of the donor aircraft will be used for aircraft battle damage and repair training.
While a lot of attention has been focused on this project, there is a
second C-130H on station scheduled for a standard programmed depot
maintenance package. That aircraft is also bound for Afghanistan. The
AAF successfully received its first two C-130H aircraft in October 2013,
according to the Afghanistan International Security Assistance Force.
The move will help boost the country's military capabilities as they
lead their country's security.