New stands aid aircraft inspections and maintenance

  • Published
  • By Senior Master Sgt. Emily Beightol-Deyerle
  • 167th Airlift Wing

A set of newly-manufactured maintenance stands were recently delivered to the 167th Maintenance Group and set up in the Home Station Check (HSC) aircraft hangar at Shepherd Field, Martinsburg, West Virginia.

The HSC maintenance stands were designed and engineered based on inputs provided by C-17 Globemaster III aircraft maintainers who were heavily involved with the process from the statement of work to the quality and operational inspections after they were installed.

Plans began in 2018 for the stands that are comprised of 12 modules for each wing. The modules combine to form a platform around the wings and engines that is easily accessed by a flight of stairs.

“A lot of thought went into how the stands were designed,” said Chief Master Sgt. Paul Vosburgh, 167th Maintenance Group equipment maintenance superintendent. “They’re designed to be lowered so an aircraft can be towed over them. An aircraft can be jacked with the stands in place. We can do engine changes by moving a section of the stands and we’ll still have access to lights and air on the stands if needed.”

Vosburgh anticipates safer, more efficient and better quality aircraft inspections with the new stands, which eliminate the need to move mobile maintenance stands into place under and around the aircraft wings.

Most of the maintenance specialties will benefit from the new stands, especially the propulsion and hydraulics shops, according to Vosburgh.

“It’s too soon to say exactly how much time we’ll save but there’s potential to save up to 40 man hours per each HSC,” said Master Sgt. Christopher McCormick, 167th propulsion shop work lead.

Maintainers continue to work with the contractor who built the stands, providing feedback and suggestions to improve the design before more stands are manufactured for other Air National Guard C-17 units.

“I’m just excited to finally see the benefits for the guys and girls down there working on the airplanes to see how much easier this makes their life when they’re doing their inspections. That’s what makes it all worth it for me,” said Vosburgh.