PATRICK SPACE FORCE BASE, Fla. --
The 920th Rescue Wing depends on the 920th Maintenance Squadron Propulsion Shop to ensure the engines of both the HH-60G Pave Hawk helicopter and the HC-130J Combat King II aircraft are maintained with expertise.
“This engine shop supports the wing by doing the inspections, build-up and tear-downs of the helicopter and C-130 motors,” said Master Sgt. Clyde Hamilton, 920th MXS aerospace propulsion technician. “We are subject matter experts on two different aircraft engines. We contribute air power.”
The propulsion back shop operates separately from flight line maintenance. If there's an issue with an engine and it ends up needing to be changed, the flight line mechanics order a new engine from the propulsion shop. The flight line mechanics’ workload is lessened and they can do more elsewhere because they aren’t servicing the engines.
“When an aircraft is flagged for maintenance, we’ll pull the engine out, bring it back here, inspect it, and then make sure that everything checks out and is within limits,” said Tech. Sgt Adam Copley, 920th MXS aerospace propulsion technician. “Often, the propulsion shop will deliver and install it.”
In addition to servicing both aircraft engine types by inspecting and removing engines, replacing bad components, reinstalling and performing efficiency tests, the propulsion shop technicians also maintain the HC-130J Combat King II propellers. Swapping out propellers with a proficient team and no issues takes approximately eight hours from start to finish, said Hamilton.
The 920th MXS shop isn’t confined to PSFB. When 920th RQW aircraft are needed, the multifunctional technicians deploy to continue their care and maintenance of those airframes.
“Everybody in maintenance is deployable, but we're unique in the back shop because just about everybody is dual qualified,” said Senior Master Sgt. Michael Mau, 920th MXS Propulsion Shop superintendent. “Sometimes it's a lot easier to pull somebody from here because we can work on a helicopter or C-130, whereas your two flying squadrons only work on one or the other aircraft.”
The engine shop can also supply C-130 parts to other C-130 maintenance shops that request them around the globe.
“We are the engine inspection section for maintenance,” said Mau. “The flight line maintainers do flying inspections and we do the in-depth inspections. Our job is to provide serviceable spares in a timely manner for the wing. When the Air Force deems it necessary, these serviceable spares can also go downrange and fill a shortage there.”