SOTO CANO AIR BASE, Honduras--Maintainers inspecting a UH-60 Blackhawk from 1-228th Aviation Battalion use corrosion prevention identification skills learned while attending a PEO Aviation Corrosion Prevention and Control Center of Excellence education outreach program. More than 30 percent of all Army aircraft phase maintenance is spent correcting corrosion deficiencies. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. William Farrow) (Photo by Tech. Sgt. William Farrow)
SOTO CANO AIR BASE, Honduras--Army Spec. James Bilton, 1-228th Aviation Battalion Alpha Company crew chief, uses a mirror to inspect a drag beam for corrosion on a UH-60 Blackhawk helicopter main landing gear at Soto Cano Air Base, Honduras. As the aviation function of Joint Task Force-Bravo, 1-228th Aviation Battalion conducts general support aviation operations in support JTF-Bravo and USSOUTHCOM. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. William Farrow) (Photo by Tech. Sgt. William Farrow)
SOTO CANO AIR BASE, Honduras-- —
A two person team from Redstone Arsenal, Ala., visited here March 3-7 to provide Soldiers and contractors with information on corrosion prevention on JTF-Bravo aircraft.
The team, from PEO Aviation's Corrosion Prevention and Control Center of Excellence, offered educational outreach sessions intended to identify, prevent or slow down aircraft corrosion, which is responsible for more than 15 percent of the reduction in all Army aircraft's fully mission capable and operational readiness rates.
According to Pete Smith, POE Aviation technical engineer, the team's curriculum sharpens maintainer's focus concerning corrosion prevention and control and provides hands-on assistance aimed at reducing corrosion's grip on aircraft components.
"We know corrosion is costing us," he said. "It causes system failures, structural problems and cost the Army about $76 million in 2007."
Smith said that figure doesn't include what corrosion cost in engines or rotor blade repair or man hours of work performed on aircraft.
"More than 30 percent of all aircraft phase maintenance is spent correcting corrosion deficiencies," he said.
According to POE Aviation technical engineer Samuel Sepulveda, the main mission of this outreach session is improving maintainer's general awareness of the complicated processes that are at play, even behind the simplest corrosion reactions, and to relate these to the impact corrosion has on aircraft systems.
"There are solutions and we know they work and we need everyone to see the value in implementing these solutions," Sepulveda said.
He said some of the solutions relayed in the corrosion awareness outreach are new technology integration, vendor coordination, material procedures and updates in technical manuals.
The briefs consist of a two-to-four hour classroom sessions followed by a one-hour hands-on training session with aircraft.
Smith said from his interaction with maintainers, he has found that fungus and mold present a problem prevalent in JTF-Bravo aircraft. "But something like that is a simple fix and can be prevented by keeping aircraft clean and wiped-down with the right solvent," he said.
According to Army Sgt. Jad Abousaud, 1-228th Alpha Company crew chief, the information the team brought to the sessions he attended were important because it provided clarification in the often cloudy world of corrosion prevention products.
"There are so many products available out there that claim to prevent corrosion, but the POE Aviation guys provided a list of Army approved products and provided details pertaining to why they were approved by the Army, which I found very helpful," he said.
Sergeant Abousaud said because the JTF-Bravo mission requires its aircraft to fly in areas close to salt water and even volcanic ash, preventative maintenance focused of corrosion can present quite a problem.
"Corrosion is like cancer," he said. "If we can prevent it from happening or catch it early, we have a better chance of preventing its spread."