Air Force Academy's CAStLE Provides Structural Sustainment Research for a Broad Aerospace Community
Center's Mission Offers Cadets Unique Acquisition and Sustainment Challenges
The United States Air Force Academy, one of this country's five elite service academies, enrolls approximately 4,000 students, a number comparable to the undergraduate population of exclusive Ivy League colleges. The academy's nine engineering degree programs offer cadets access to myriad opportunities for research into space systems, civil engineering, space physics and atmospheric research, aeronautics, chemistry, and unmanned aerial systems, among other technical disciplines.
The Center for Aircraft Structural Life Extension—known as CAStLE—is the Air Force Academy’s largest cadet research program. While specializing in research and education in the areas of structural integrity and structural life extension, CAStLE serves the academy's Department of Engineering Mechanics, while also delivering commercial products and services to the U.S. Air Force and the greater aerospace and aircraft structural community. Read More ...
A 'Remote' Answer To Detect And Mitigate Hidden Corrosion Is Anything But!
As senior leaders within the Air Force grapple with the implications of an austere budgetary environment, the need for more cost-effective business practices has never been greater. As a result, there is a growing call for the integration of the most innovative business solutions and commercial best practices into all DoD operations. Because some of the best sources of innovation are high-tech small businesses, the Air Force Corrosion Prevention and Control Office has sought out partnerships with these innovators to create new and more economical solutions.
In one novel instance of such economical partnering, the Air Force Corrosion Office has partnered with Aging Aircraft Consulting, based in Warner Robins, Georgia, to develop a new approach to identify and mitigate corrosion in the remote areas of an aircraft both noninvasively and with minimal added preparation. This approach has allowed Air Force field units to easily integrate this capability into existing scheduled maintenance processes without needing to tear down significant portions of an aircraft to gain remote access for visual inspection. Read More ...
Cold-Weather Vinyl Coating Tested at Alaska Training Range
A new type of vinyl coating system that can be applied in sub-freezing temperatures also complies with emission standards for volatile organic compounds (VOCs). The U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center (ERDC), Construction Engineering Research Laboratory (CERL) demonstrated the coating on a bridge at Yukon Training Range, Alaska, and is continuing to monitor its performance.
Protective coatings are the primary method for preventing and controlling corrosion on steel structures at military bases. However, in the case of bridges, the coating systems must either be applied during warm weather or the section of the bridge being painted must be pre-heated. For cold regions, these constraints result in a small portion of the year when work can be done, creating difficulty in completing projects and escalating costs. Read More ...
Fairchild’s Fabrication Flight ‘Key’ to Stratotanker’s Success
FAIRCHILD AIR FORCE BASE, Washington—The Air Force purchased its first KC-135 Stratotankers, its aerial refueling aircraft, in 1954, which means that Fairchild's fleet of roughly 37 aircraft is 58 years old. One key to the fleet's longevity is the 92nd Maintenance Squadron Fabrication Flight.
The Fabrication Flight consists of three sections: Aircraft Structural Maintenance, Aircraft Metals Technology, and the Non-Destructive Inspection Lab. This highly integrated flight consists of 60 active-duty and Air National Guard personnel. They are responsible for inspecting, modifying, and repairing one of the oldest, yet highly utilized assets in the Air Force—the KC-135. Read More ...