HomeNewsArticle Display

Maintainers go above when the temperatures are below

120th Airlift Wing maintainers perform a home station check on a C-130 Hercules in the harsh Montana weather Jan. 6, 2016. A HSC is a medium range inspection due every nine months. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Senior Master Sgt. Eric Peterson/Released)

120th Airlift Wing maintainers perform a home station check on a C-130 Hercules in the harsh Montana weather Jan. 6, 2016. A HSC is a medium range inspection due every nine months. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Senior Master Sgt. Eric Peterson/Released)

Staff Sgt. Jeff A. Hoock and Master Sgt. Tachie Navarro of the 120th Airlift Wing isochronal inspection dock perform a home station check (HSC) of the C-130 Hercules in the harsh Montana weather Jan. 6, 2016. A HSC is a medium range inspection due every nine months. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Senior Master Sgt. Eric Peterson/Released)

Staff Sgt. Jeff A. Hoock and Master Sgt. Tachie Navarro of the 120th Airlift Wing isochronal inspection dock perform a home station check (HSC) of the C-130 Hercules in the harsh Montana weather Jan. 6, 2016. A HSC is a medium range inspection due every nine months. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Senior Master Sgt. Eric Peterson/Released)

GREAT FALLS, Mont. -- Winter in Montana can be brutal, with temperatures below zero. Snow, ice and a wind chill will make anyone want to stay warm inside. The C-130 Hercules transport aircraft brings maintainers of the 120th Airlift Maintenance Squadron outside regularly.

Most recently a C-130 required a Home Station Check. This was the first maintenance check to be performed on station in the elements without the use of a hangar.
This HSC was performed in six days. This record tied the fastest inspection the 120th performed during the summer of 2015.

"Weather plays a big role in slowing down maintenance. Plus the aerospace ground equipment can be pretty temperamental at below zero temperatures too," Aerospace Propulsion Work Leader Tech. Sgt. Sean R. Murray said.

The 10 day scheduled maintenance inspection would ideally be performed inside of a hangar. But the maintainers have maintained a good attitude considering the cold weather situation. 

"We're just dealing with the hand that we were dealt," Isochronal Inspection Dock Work Leader Master Sgt. Tachie Navarro said. "We all know it needs to be done and it's a challenge. Everybody welcomed it, saw it as a challenge and took it head on to knock it out."

The temperatures dropped later in the inspection and most tasks were completed in the first few days.

"It added more incentive for people to get it done quicker especially when the weather was better earlier in the week," Navarro said.

Approximately 450 tasks need to be completed in a HSC inspection by the isochronal inspection dock, flightline, repair and reclamation, communication and navigation, electronic countermeasures, fuels, hydraulics, sheet metal, non-destructive inspection as needed and engine shop, which was the biggest driver.

"Most of the time we can do our job with our garments on, except for the gloves," Murray said. "Gloves are probably one of the worst things because in order to have the dexterity for safety wire you have to take the gloves off."

Gloveless hands make cold maintenance a struggle but maintainers have found ways to keep their appendages warm.

"We literally strapped heater hoses to the stands to keep our toes warm while we were working on it," Navarro said.

HSC inspections are also known as midway inspections and are completed every 270 days. This aircraft will not be due for a new HSC inspection for another nine months.

"We've become acclimated to it but you have to constantly be on mental edge and sharpness," Murray said. "It's just remembering all the maintenance outside is physically vexing mentally and physically the job duration and complexity makes the job (seem to) go on forever," Murray said.

Regardless of the weather conditions aircraft maintenance is still required. With tentative completion dates for construction projects for the main hangar Nov. 6, 2016 and the fuel cell and corrosion control hangar Feb. 22, 2017, the 120th Airlift Wing maintainers will continue to keep going above and beyond while the temperatures sink below zero.
USAF Comments Policy
If you wish to comment, use the text box below. AF reserves the right to modify this policy at any time.

This is a moderated forum. That means all comments will be reviewed before posting. In addition, we expect that participants will treat each other, as well as our agency and our employees, with respect. We will not post comments that contain abusive or vulgar language, spam, hate speech, personal attacks, violate EEO policy, are offensive to other or similar content. We will not post comments that are spam, are clearly "off topic", promote services or products, infringe copyright protected material, or contain any links that don't contribute to the discussion. Comments that make unsupported accusations will also not be posted. The AF and the AF alone will make a determination as to which comments will be posted. Any references to commercial entities, products, services, or other non-governmental organizations or individuals that remain on the site are provided solely for the information of individuals using this page. These references are not intended to reflect the opinion of the AF, DoD, the United States, or its officers or employees concerning the significance, priority, or importance to be given the referenced entity, product, service, or organization. Such references are not an official or personal endorsement of any product, person, or service, and may not be quoted or reproduced for the purpose of stating or implying AF endorsement or approval of any product, person, or service.

Any comments that report criminal activity including: suicidal behaviour or sexual assault will be reported to appropriate authorities including OSI. This forum is not:

  • This forum is not to be used to report criminal activity. If you have information for law enforcement, please contact OSI or your local police agency.
  • Do not submit unsolicited proposals, or other business ideas or inquiries to this forum. This site is not to be used for contracting or commercial business.
  • This forum may not be used for the submission of any claim, demand, informal or formal complaint, or any other form of legal and/or administrative notice or process, or for the exhaustion of any legal and/or administrative remedy.

AF does not guarantee or warrant that any information posted by individuals on this forum is correct, and disclaims any liability for any loss or damage resulting from reliance on any such information. AF may not be able to verify, does not warrant or guarantee, and assumes no liability for anything posted on this website by any other person. AF does not endorse, support or otherwise promote any private or commercial entity or the information, products or services contained on those websites that may be reached through links on our website.

Members of the media are asked to send questions to the public affairs through their normal channels and to refrain from submitting questions here as comments. Reporter questions will not be posted. We recognize that the Web is a 24/7 medium, and your comments are welcome at any time. However, given the need to manage federal resources, moderating and posting of comments will occur during regular business hours Monday through Friday. Comments submitted after hours or on weekends will be read and posted as early as possible; in most cases, this means the next business day.

For the benefit of robust discussion, we ask that comments remain "on-topic." This means that comments will be posted only as it relates to the topic that is being discussed within the blog post. The views expressed on the site by non-federal commentators do not necessarily reflect the official views of the AF or the Federal Government.

To protect your own privacy and the privacy of others, please do not include personally identifiable information, such as name, Social Security number, DoD ID number, OSI Case number, phone numbers or email addresses in the body of your comment. If you do voluntarily include personally identifiable information in your comment, such as your name, that comment may or may not be posted on the page. If your comment is posted, your name will not be redacted or removed. In no circumstances will comments be posted that contain Social Security numbers, DoD ID numbers, OSI case numbers, addresses, email address or phone numbers. The default for the posting of comments is "anonymous", but if you opt not to, any information, including your login name, may be displayed on our site.

Thank you for taking the time to read this comment policy. We encourage your participation in our discussion and look forward to an active exchange of ideas.