U.S. Maintainers Repair Corrosion on Aircraft Cargo Ramp

An aircraft maintainer for the 167th maintenance group sprays paint on a metal panel. The panel is part of a C-17 Globemaster III aircraft cargo ramp canted bulkhead, which had corroded over time due to sealed drainage holes. U.S. Air National guard photo by Senior Master Sgt. Emily Beightol-Deyerle.

U.S. aircraft maintainers at the 167th Airlift Wing in Martinsburg, West Virginia, USA recently completed a sheet metal repair on a C-17 Globemaster III aircraft. The describe it as a rare event since getting the C-17s at the wing.

The maintainers repaired the cargo ramp canted bulkhead after deterioration was discovered during a refurbishment inspection conducted jointly by the 167th’s sheet metal and home station check sections.

Drain holes in the bulkhead were erroneously covered in production, a problem found in some of the earliest C-17s produced.

“There was a change to the [technical order] in June of last year,” explains Master Sgt. Aaron Moats, home station check coordinator for the 167th maintenance group. “That changed the refurbishment inspection to include inspecting that part of the aircraft.”

With the drain holes covered, sitting rain and water caused corrosion in that particular area. The left side of the cargo ramp canted bulkhead had more extensive corrosion than the right side, which prompted the sheet metal shop to remove a damaged panel of approximately 8 feet (2.4 m) in length.

About 350 fasteners had to be removed in the process.

The panel was sandblasted to remove the corrosion, followed by priming and repainting. The drainage channels inside the bulkhead on both sides were cleaned to allow water to drain properly, and the corroded fasteners were replaced.

The repair was completed in 10 days.

Source: U.S. Defense Visual Information Distribution Service, www.dvidshub.net.