103rd maintainers keep C-130s clean, ready

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Steven Tucker
  • 103rd Airlift Wing

Just as our vehicles need a wash every so often, so do the 103rd Airlift Wing’s C-130H Hercules aircraft.

Airmen from the 103rd Maintenance Group performed an aircraft wash on July 13-14, 2020 in Bradley Air National Guard Base’s fuel cell and corrosion control facility.

Each aircraft receives a wash every six months to clean contaminants and prevent corrosion.

“We bring the plane in, we wash it, and then we lube all the components like the landing gear and parts of the wings,” said Tech. Sgt. George Worthington, 103rd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron crew chief.

Some aircraft washes are more labor-intensive based on the environments the aircraft have been operating in, said Worthington.

“Exhaust gas will get on the flaps and around the engines, which is corrosive,” said Worthington. “Some will come back from overseas and they’re really dirty with sand.”

A team of eight to ten Airmen use non-corrosive soap to clean the aircraft before it is inspected for signs of damage or corrosion. The process is key to keeping the aircraft mission-ready and extending its life cycle, said Worthington.

For junior members like Airman 1st Class A.J. Raffles, 103rd Maintenance Squadron structural maintenance specialist, aircraft washes can translate into their regular tasks.

“It’s a good way to learn the ins and outs of the aircraft and parts you wouldn’t normally work with on a day-to-day basis,” said Raffles. “It’s a good way to learn the airframe for someone who doesn’t have a lot of experience with it. Especially with my job in structural maintenance, I become more familiar with the components that are susceptible to damage and corrosion.”

By keeping these aircraft clean and mission-ready, the Connecticut Air National Guard helps provide the nation with an operational and lethal force with rapid response capability. In doing so, the Air National Guard as a whole provides 30% of the U.S. Air Force’s airlift capacity.

“I’m happy to be a part of the 103rd and to have a part in keeping these planes flying,” said Raffles.