920th Maintenance Squadron letter checks ensure aircraft mission readiness

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Darius Sostre-Miroir, 920th Rescue Wing Public Affairs

Throughout the month of June, 920th Maintenance Squadron Airmen conducted an extensive C letter check inspection on one of the wing’s six HC-130J Combat King II aircraft, ensuring the aircraft continues to carry out the wing’s mission to conduct military rescue operations.

The 920th MXS performs a series of inspections to adhere to the aircraft’s strict maintenance standards and guarantee operational readiness for the 920th Rescue Wing’s combat search and rescue missions.

Every 270 days a letter check is conducted on the HC-130J which will continue throughout its lifespan. These inspections are broken down into four categories: A, B, C, and D. Each category has its own list of inspection items which are reviewed and addressed by the 920th MXS maintainers. During a C letter check there are 540 carded items that are inspected and corrected, if required, on the aircraft during the process.

“The C letter check is the most in-depth and lengthiest inspection we do here at home station. It requires extensive inspections of the airframe, engines, and internal and external systems on the aircraft. It is imperative that the 920th MXS complete these checks accurately and efficiently so that our Airmen can get off the ground when needed,” said Col. George Cole, 920th Maintenance Group commander.

Normally, a C letter check process can take up to 45 days to complete. However, through collaboration with active-duty maintenance squadrons and a determined effort to increase efficiency, the 920th MXS aims to reduce the duration to 30 days or less. By doing this they aim to diminish the possibility of grounding combat search and rescue flight operations because of maintenance buildup.

During the collaborative effort, maintainers from the 403rd MXS at Keesler Air Force Base, Mississippi, the 910th MXS at Youngstown Air Reserve Station, Ohio, the 94th AMXS at Dobbins AFB, Georgia, the 913th MXS at Little Rock AFB, Arkansas, and the 106th MXS at Frances S. Gabreski Air National Guard Base, New York, all played an active role in contributing by sending extra manpower and creating innovative solutions to assist in increasing efficiency.

One of the innovative solutions showcased by the 910th MXS at Youngstown ARS was the usage of the box end wrench, with a 9/16 hex head bit welded to, it to simplify the re-torquing of bolt heads in hard-to-reach places like the rudder and horizontal stabilizers in the cargo door area of the aircraft.

“What is great about the maintenance community is the willingness to help each other out through any challenges whether that’s with assisting in manning schedules, creating innovations, or solving unique problems that are encountered during the process of a C check,” said Master Sgt. Matthew White, 920th MXS Isochronal Inspections dock chief.

After completing checks A, B, and C, the aircraft go to a depot facility where the final letter check D will be performed. During this inspection, the aircraft undergoes a comprehensive evaluation of its airframe, engines, avionics, hydraulics, electrical systems, flight controls, fuel systems, and landing gear. This inspection is the most extensive, lasting several months.

The 920th MXS is the largest squadron within the maintenance group. It provides back of-house maintenance support for both the HH-60G Pave Hawk helicopter and the HC-130J Combat King II. Fabrication, aerospace ground equipment, avionics, accessories, structural repair, HH-60 phase, and HC-130J letter check inspections are among the many tasks the squadron is responsible for.