Fuel systems maintenance resumes in 167th Airlift Wing fuel cell hangar

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

The 167th Maintenance Group resumed C-17 Globemaster III aircraft fuel systems maintenance in the fuel cell hangar at Shepherd Field, Martinsburg, West Virginia, March 2, 2024, upon the completion of a two-year construction project to correct building foundation deficiencies.

Beneficial occupancy to the 81,000 square-foot hangar was granted to the maintenance group Feb. 21, allowing them to move equipment and tools back into the facility.  Less than two weeks later, three fuel system probes on one of the unit’s aircraft were replaced marking the first aircraft maintenance in the building in more than 5 years. 

“Having the fuel cell hangar back in service is invaluable,” said Col. Michael Sherman, 167th Maintenance Group commander. “The hangar has built in systems and safety measures that allow us to complete fuel maintenance much more efficiently and safely.”

While renovation designs and construction were underway, fuel maintenance was completed outside when weather permitted, coordinated around other aircraft maintenance in the unit’s corrosion control hangar, or the maintenance was completed at other Air National Guard C-17 aircraft units.

Soon after the hangar was constructed in 2010, soil upheaval caused cracks in walls and floors under a 10,000 square-foot area of the building used for administration and utilities. Even after numerous attempts to make targeted repairs, the cracks progressively worsened, forcing aircraft fuel systems personnel to vacate the hangar in June 2018.

Renovations on the fuel cell hangar began in February 2022. The foundation and foundation fill material of the impacted area of the building was removed. New fill material was added, and the foundation was rebuilt. Offices, restrooms, mechanical areas and storage rooms were also reconstructed.

“The fuel cell hangar allows our mechanics to fuel and defuel the aircraft in the hangar, as well as the ability to transfer fuel and depressurize the fuel systems saving significant aircraft down-time,” Sherman explained. “In addition, the scheduling conflicts we faced with only having the corrosion and [home station check] hangars are eliminated.”