Yokota electricians inflate life rafts
YOKOTA AIR BASE, Japan -- When a C-130 Hercules completes missions while soaring through the skies, the crew members need to know that they can safely react to an emergency. This is where the 374th Civil Engineer Squadron and 374th Operations Support Squadron came into play when 14 C-130s were grounded due to a 75 percent failure rate of the F-2B life rafts during a safety inspection in January.
The CES electrical flight provided a motorized air compressor for the OSS Aircrew Flight Equipment flight to more effectively and efficiently inspect the life rafts to ensure the safety of C-130 crew members.
"Having the current motorized air compressor is important because the flight equipment personnel can adequately ensure the rafts are safe for flight," said Senior Airman Scott Armstrong 374 CES electrical systems technician. "This new process allows those of us on the ground to keep the planes and it's crew in the air."
The electrical flight provided 70 feet of raceway pipes, 250 feet of electrical cable, a 20 amp circuit breaker and a 230 volt three-phase industrial motor to power the new air compressor with two hoses to help AFE with the life raft inspection process.
During the previous operations, the inflation rate with the old air compressor was 40 minutes per raft resulting in a minimum of 2.6 hours to inflate a set of four rafts with the average turn-around time for four life rafts was three days.
With the new motor and air compressor, the AFE shop is now able to inflate two rafts within 15 minutes. This hastens the inspection time and allows personnel to inflate all of the rafts in the morning, and perform the inspections in the afternoon.
When the C-130s were grounded, the electrical flight members were able to equip the AFE members with the essential support to successfully re-inspect 48 life rafts within seven days, bringing the entire fleet to mission capable status.
"Having the motorized air compressor truly impacts everything we do because the rafts are one of the most complicated things we do," said Senior Airman Zachary Cody, 374 OSS AFE journeyman. "The air compressor has reduced the amount of time we take to inspect the rafts and allows us more time to focus on the parachutes and life preservers, which all support the C-130 mission."
The electrical flight crew worked more than 50 man hours that will save the AFE shop countless hours of life raft inspections helping them turn around the efficiency of being able to produce life saving equipment.