Defense

November 4, 2013

Maintainers use ultrasound to keep KC-10s ready to fly

Tags:
SSgt. Patrick Harrower
Travis AFB, Calif.

SSgt. Rebecca Linden de Romero, 60th Maintenance Squadron nondestructive inspection shop technician, performs an ultrasound inspection inside the control box for the elevators on the tail of a KC-10 Extender Oct. 22 at Travis Air Force Base, Calif.

When most people hear the term ultrasound, they might think of the machine that helps monitor the health and development of the early stages of life.

For the airmen of the 60th Maintenance Squadron nondestructive inspections shop, an ultrasound inspection can be surprisingly similar to that.

According to one technician, inside the tail section of a KC-10 Extender is a control box that can be moved up and down, which in turn, causes the elevators on the tail to move. The location of the control box is difficult to get to. The area is cramped, dark and can get warm. However, much like any other aircraft component, it still must be inspected regularly.

“Every KC-10 gets this inspection every 90 days,” said Staff Sgt. Rebecca Linden de Romero, 60th MXS. “We use ultrasound technology to see what is going on inside the panels of the box. The sound reflects through the surface and back to the machine where we can track any cracks or other potential problems the naked eye cannot see.”

To maintain total accuracy, the technicians use standard blocks that are made with the same material and physical dimensions as the parts on the aircraft, Linden de Romero said. These blocks are used to calibrate the ultrasound equipment before the inspection to give the technicians a frame of reference for exactly what they should see.

Linden de Romero commented that the measurements must be precise, as the condition of the plane can be based on them. If the technicians find a problem that deems the aircraft bad, it must go to another base for higher-level repair.

Accuracy aside, there also is a physical component that presents a unique challenge to the technicians when they perform an ultrasound.

“We can inspect 98 percent of the area just fine,” said TSgt. Zach Williams, 349th MXS. “But for 100 percent coverage, someone needs to go inside of the box. Our whole shop could be fully qualified to do the inspection, but if nobody can physically get in there, we can’t call the job complete.”

The 60th MXS nondestructive inspections shop spends a lot of time ensuring technicians know how to perform an ultrasound inspection, he said.

“We have gotten so proficient at this inspection that we have a lot of engineers come to us to have a set of Travis eyes check their work before they go somewhere else,” Williams said. “It’s a real confidence booster.”




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 

News Briefs February 27, 2015

Ukraine will start pulling back heavy weapons in the east Ukraine’s military says it will start pulling back its heavy weapons from the front line with Russian-backed separatists as required under a cease-fire agreement. The Defense Ministry said in a statement Feb. 26 that it reserved the right to revise its withdrawal plans in the...
 
 

Northrop Grumman’s AstroMesh reflector successfully deploys for NASA’s SMAP satellite

The NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory successfully deployed the mesh reflector and boom aboard the Soil Moisture Active Passive spacecraft, a key milestone on its mission to provide global measurements of soil moisture. Launched Jan. 31, SMAP represents the future of Earth Science by helping researchers better understand our planet. SMAP’s unmatched data capabilities are enabled...
 
 
NASA photograph by Brian Tietz

NASA offers space tech grants to early career university faculty

NASA photograph by Brian Tietz Tensegrity research is able to simulate multiple forms of locomotion. In this image, a prototype tensegrity robot reproduces forward crawling motion. NASA’s Space Technology Mission Director...
 

 
navy-china

USS Fort Worth conducts CUES with Chinese Navy

The littoral combat ship USS Fort Worth (LCS 3) practiced the Code for Unplanned Encounters at Sea (CUES) with the People’s Liberation Army-Navy Jiangkai II frigate Hengshui (FFG 572) Feb. 23 enhancing the professional ma...
 
 

AEGIS tracks, simulates engagement of three short-range ballistic missiles

The Missile Defense Agency and sailors aboard the guided-missile destroyers USS Carney (DDG 64), USS Gonzalez (DDG 66), and USS Barry (DDG 52) successfully completed a flight test involving the Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense weapon system. At approximately 2:30 a.m., EST, Feb. 26, three short-range ballistic missile targets were launched near simultaneously from NASA’s Wallops...
 
 

DOD seeks novel ideas to shape its technological future

The Defense Department is seeking novel ideas to shape its future, and officials are looking to industry, small business, academia, start-ups, the public – anyone, really – to boost its ability to prevail against adversaries whose access to technology grows daily. The program, called the Long-Range Research and Development Plan, or LRRDP, began with an...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>