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Keeping Helicopter Crews Safe

Through its "Reset" Program, the Army Wages War Against Corrosion

By Cynthia Greenwood

While Jim Roberts worked in 1982 as an assistant maintenance officer at Fliegerhorst Caserne, Hanau Army Air Field near Frankfurt, he watched Capt. Andrew Burgland, a fellow Army officer and close friend, prepare to fly a Huey UH-1 helicopter across the air field. As Captain Burgland took a right turn in the air, his aircraft's fuselage suddenly inverted and plunged into the ground. He was killed on impact.

"The Aircraft Accident Investigation Team flew over from the U.S. and pieced the aircraft together in my hangar," said Roberts, a senior technical specialist at Science Applications International Corp. (SAIC) who consults for the Army Aviation and Missile Command (AMCOM). "During their investigation, they determined that a single bolt in the helicopter's main rotor-system subassembly had failed due to corrosion."

Army-sponsored mechanics refurbish Black Hawk helicopters.
Under the Reset program, Army-sponsored mechanics refurbish Black Hawk helicopters returning from combat in Iraq and Afghanistan. Photo by Cynthia Greenwood, CorrDefense.

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Beating Corrosion is Vital at Patrick
Air Force Base

Coastal-Area Program Does Away with Flight Safety Risk

Seven years ago, Patrick Air Force Base (AFB) didn't have much of a corrosion control program. To take care of its fleet of six C-130s and nine H-60 Blackhawks, the fabrication flight crew mostly did things by the book, based on the Air Force technical orders. But these data offered limited guidelines for preventive maintenance. "In the mid-90s, the Air Force's foresight was to detect and repair corrosion, instead of to prevent and detect it," said Chief M.Sgt. Tim Tomasko, the Fabrication Flight Chief at Patrick AFB.

Patrick Air Force Base's fleet of C-130s
Patrick Air Force Base's fleet of C-130s is used for civilian and military rescues around the world. Photo courtesy of Patrick AFB.

To take care of their fleet, Sergeant Tomasko and his maintenance crew needed more. "The environment that our aircraft live in is similar to that surrounding an aircraft carrier-we're between an ocean and a river-and the salt spray is relentless," he said. Around this time, Sergeant Tomasko attended a global Air Force Corrosion Conference and met some of the agency's best corrosion experts, headquartered at the Air Force Corrosion Office at Warner Robins AFB. He talked to Dave Wilson, Fabrication Functional Manager at AF Reserve Command headquarters, among others, about the severe corrosion problems plaguing his aircraft.

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Saluting the Career of a DoD Corrosion Leader:
A Profile of Dick Kinzie

Table of Contents

Volume 2, Number 3
Fall 2006

Top Stories

Keeping Helicopter Crews Safe: Through its "Reset" Program, the Army Wages War Against Corrosion
Sidebar: Three Military Services Fight Corrosion Together

Beating Corrosion is Vital at Patrick AFB
Sidebar: Sensor Technology Helps Crews Maintain C-130s

Saluting the Career of a DoD Corrosion Leader: A Profile of Dick Kinzie

Featured Projects

Maintenance Costs Plummet After NAVSEA Introduces Composite Boxes

California Underpass and Army Storage Sites Benefit from Electro-Osmotic Pulse Technology

Sensor Data Help Air Force Improve Wash-Rinse Cycles

DoD News

DoD Launches Online Tool

NAVSEA Materials Engineer Leads Shipboard Preservation Efforts

Web-Based DoD Course Nears Completion

Army Corrosion Program Identifies New Corrosion Mitigation Techniques

DoD Corrosion Exchange Working Groups: An Overview

Upcoming Conferences

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Policy on Reprinting Material from CorrDefense

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