As the saying goes, it's
what's on the inside that counts. That is the case for a
45-plus-year-old KC-135 Stratotanker that has recently gone through
an interior sprucing-up, by airmen of the 92nd Maintenance
Squadron’s equipment excellence shop.
"These improvements are critical to our mission," said Col.
Anthony M. Mauer, 92nd Air Refueling Wing commander. "It's no small
task, but the folks in maintenance are doing an incredible job
keeping this aircraft (ready)."
During the tanker refurbishing process, the airmen not only
refurbished the aging aircraft, they also made improvements to
"We've improved the process for cutting floorboards with new
equipment and streamlined (it) from a two-person to a one-person
process," said Staff Sgt. Josh Shull, equipment excellence
technician. "We purchased a new vertical-panel saw (that) allows
more accurate cuts, (and saves) us time and money, with no more
reworked boards and with less waste."
The 14-person refurbishing team includes crew chiefs, aerospace
ground equipment operators, sheet-metal airmen and electronic
"Basically anyone from (the maintenance group) can work in this
shop," Shull said.
It takes the team 15 days to completely refurbish the inside of
The airmen begin the process by disassembling everything from
the cockpit to the boom pod. Then, they sand everything that needs
to be painted including the floor. Next, they establish their paint
plan, which includes masking off areas and taking parts into a
booth to be painted. After the floor is painted, they install the
freshly painted equipment and complete quality checks.
Masking paper waste was reduced with the creation of reusable
templates for the aircraft, Shull said. The templates lowered the
cost of hazardous waste that previously had to be disposed. This
improvement also effectively helps the environment, he said.
"With the new dual-bulb florescent tube light system on the
aircraft, we are able to work more efficiently (because of) better
visibility," Shull said.
The improved lighting has helped the team produce a higher
quality paint job and saves time because there is less
"These good ideas have saved us money in terms of man-hours
instead of direct monetary impact," Shull said.
"The jets come out… looking and operating like they're
(supposed) to,” Mauer said.
The first KC-135 refurbishing project is scheduled for
completion this week. [ANN Thanks Tech. Sgt. Martie Capoeman, 92nd
Air Refueling Wing PA]