To ensure pilots can successfully complete missions, we often think of the areas of training, fuel or maintenance. One area mostly likely not thought of is the three street sweepers on Luke Air Force Base.
Street sweepers are machines capable of collecting small particles or debris.
“They have a direct mission impact,” said Master Sgt. Tony Vallot, 56th Logistics Readiness Squadron vehicle fleet manager. “The sweepers clear the flightline of foreign object debris to keep those items from getting into the aircraft and causing damage.”
Airmen who operate the sweeper conduct operational checks before and after each use to ensure the job is done right.
During the preoperational check, the operator will examine the fluids, coolant, oil, parts for use in the rear engine, such as belts, and look for anything abnormal.
Once the operator is finished sweeping the flightline, the Airman will dump the debris from the truck and bring it to vehicle maintenance for a post-operational check. During the second check, maintenance technicians inspect the primary and secondary air filter for sand or debris, clean the air filter assembly, and check the fluids to make sure the engine is safe and serviceable.
Vehicle maintenance Airmen recently inspected a street sweeper engine after receiving a work order for an engine that was blowing smoke and lacking power.
“We did an oil analysis and tore down the engine to find the problem,” Vallot said. “We diagnosed the problem as ‘dusting.’ Dusting is where sand gets through the filters.”
The next step was for vehicle maintenance Airmen to take the unserviceable engine into the shop to replace it with a new one.
Before the engine was taken from the back of the frame, Airmen removed the major assemblies and subassemblies such as pulleys, hoses, lines, fittings for fuel systems and electronics. Once they were removed, an A-frame cherry picker pulls the engine out of the truck and places it onto jack stands for the mechanics to remove the major components.
“There are a lot of small modifications that need to be done,” said Senior Airman Kyle Saunders, 56th LRS maintenance mechanic journeyman. “The old motor is obsolete now, and there have been modifications to the new motor. Many of the bolt hole sizes were changed requiring us to wait for new parts to arrive.”
The Airmen hope to have one of the sweepers up and running as soon as possible.
“We have billions of dollars in aircraft and we can’t afford to lose one,” Vallot said. “Keeping the street sweepers up and running allows us to help maintain the Luke mission.”