Monday, December 10, 2007

tinker afb

Many have heard the saying, "If you step on a crack, break your mother's back." If Air Force aircraft inspectors miss a tiny crack in an engine or a critical component on a plane, the bird could fall out of the sky.

The Air Force nondestructive inspection, or NDI, team at Tinker Air Force Base ensures aircraft inspectors use the right tools and processes to catch the smallest cracks in order the keep aircraft in the sky.

"It's not the smallest flaw you can find, it is the largest one you may miss that's important," said Karl Kraft, the Air Force NDI program office lead engineer.

The nine-member office is headed by the Air Force Research Laboratory and supports all field labs, including labs for the 190 active-duty, Air National Guard and Reserve bases worldwide.

"Anywhere there are aircraft flying, there will be an NDI presence," said Michael Paulk, the chief of the Air Force NDI office.

The NDI team is testing new equipment and improving inspection processes to increase the reliability of field inspections and the probability of finding smaller flaws on aircraft critical components.

The first step was a $1 million grant to take the mechanical probes used on the current systems at the Oklahoma City Air Logistics Center here and use them for manual inspections on aircraft parts in the field and at depot maintenance repair facilities.

Throughout the aerospace industry, a traditional manual eddy current inspection (a process used to find small cracks invisible to the human eye) is roughly capable of finding a one-tenth of an inch crack as opposed to the OC-ALC's engine inspection shop that can find cracks a tenth of that size with the automated systems, Mr. Kraft said.

"One key performance parameter of this program is to cut the current probability of detection size of surface eddy current inspections in half Air Force wide," Mr. Kraft said. "If we can reliably detect smaller flaws, then maintenance intervals may be extended, increasing aircraft availability to the warfighter."

The manual probe is similar to a pencil tip and very susceptible to titling that would reduce sensitivity. The new mechanical probes contain a specially designed coil that conforms to the surface and allows less degree of movement, increasing the probability of finding a smaller crack.

"This type of equipment will be used to reduce human factors that adversely affect inspector performance," Mr. Kraft said.

Another human variable affecting performance is the type of training an inspector has received, Mr. Kraft said. NDI program office members want to create a new NDI reliability system that will standardize training throughout the Air Force.

The team has been performing probability of detection, or POD, studies for the past three years to measure the reliability of surface eddy current inspections in the field to identify shortcomings in inspection capability.

"The data is pointing toward the training," Mr. Paulk said. "Typically inspectors trained at the Air Force NDI school did better in the POD studies than those only receiving training locally."

The team is supporting the air logistics centers on a training plan to overcome gaps between requirements and capability. The team is developing a standard training program where half of the training will be completed in the classroom. The other half will involve hands-on training. Tinker AFB is the lead in this effort, Mr. Paulk said.

The NDI team is also working on acquiring noncontact scanning equipment that would allow for inspections without the probe contacting the surface of the part. A proposed scanner would allow a single device to scan aircraft skin surrounding a fastener without having to change probes . Andersen Air Force Base, Guam - Repairs on a B-1B Lancer will soon be completed and the aircraft is expected to be ready for combat by next year.

The first flight will be in the summer of 2008.

In September 2005, the B-1B Lancer from Ellsworth Air Force Base (AFB) in South Dakota, landed at Andersen and burst into flames while taxiing off the runway.

The brakes on the right main landing gear failed, causing a catastrophic fire resulting in damage to the right wing, nacelle, structure and landing gear.

Two years later, after months of planning, the damaged B-1B is being rebuilt and set to fly from Guam to Tinker AFB in Oklahoma, for completion of its repairs.

The aircraft will then be returned to fully mission capable status and ready for combat.

The wing, nacelle and landing gear parts were removed from "donor" B-1s that have been retired to AMARC (aircraft maintenance and regeneration center), or better known as the "Bone Yard," at Davis Monthan AFB, Arizona. Inactive aircraft are parked there for future use or to recycle their parts.

After the parts were removed they had to be shipped from Arizona by "wide load" trucks to California, and then placed on a ship for their two-month journey to Guam.

The Tinker repair team is lead by Roger Walker. He and his team retrieved the parts at Davis Monthan and are installing them at Andersen. This will be the first time a wing has been replaced on a flyable B-1B in field conditions.

Maintenance support is being provided by the 36th Maintenance Squadron to include sheet metal, machine and electric shop. They also are providing aircraft ground support equipment Tinker Air Force Base
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Tinker Air Force Base

Airport type Military
Operator USAF
Elevation AMSL 1291 ft (393.5 m)
Coordinates 35°24′52.8″N, 97°23′12.0″W
Direction Length Surface
ft m
17/35 11,100 3,383 PEM
A water tower on the north side of Tinker Air Force BaseTinker Air Force Base ― Oklahoma City Air Logistics Center (OC-ALC)― is a major U.S. Air Force base located in Oklahoma City, near the suburb of Midwest City, Oklahoma. The base has more than 26,000 military and civilian employees and is the largest single-site employer in Oklahoma. The installation covers 5033 acres (20.368 km2) (7.864 m2) and has 760 buildings with a building floor space of over 15.2 million square feet.

1 Units currently stationed at Tinker
2 History
3 External links
4 Transformation Efforts at Tinker AFB

[edit] Units currently stationed at Tinker
Tinker AFB is home to seven major Department of Defense, Air Force and Navy activities with critical national defense missions.

The 552d Air Control Wing (ACW) flies the E-3 Sentry AWACS aircraft and is part of the Air Force's Air Combat Command major command. The E-3's radar and other sensors provide deep-look surveillance, warning, interception control and airborne battle management. The 552 ACW encompasses 3 groups: the 552d Operations Group; the 552d Maintenance Group; and the 552d Communications Group. In the Operations Group (OG) there are 7 squadrons: the 960th Airborne Air Control Squadron (AACS), 963 AACS, 964 AACS, 965 AACS, 966 AACS, 970 AACS (Reserve), and the 552d Training Squadron. The 552d Communications Group consists of the 752d Communication Squadron and the 552d Computer Systems Squadron, which is the sole AWACS software development squadron in the USAF. The wing was formerly located at McClellan AFB, California, and prior to the delivery of the E-3 in 1977, was the home of the EC-121 Warning Star; one of which is on static display near the Wing's headquarters building.
The 507th Air Refueling Wing is an Air Force Reserve flying unit. OC-ALC is the primary source of depot maintenance for the wing's KC-135R aircraft and engines. The Wing also supports U.S. Military and NATO aircraft with aerial refueling and Airborne Warning and Control System missions world-wide.
The 76th Maintenance Wing Provides maintenance support for the Oklahoma Cith Air Logistics Center.
The 327th Aircraft Sustainment Wing
The 448th Combat Sustainment Wing
The 507th Air Refueling Wing
The 38th Engineering Installation Group has worldwide responsibility for engineering and installation of all communications and electronic facilities for the Air Force.
The Defense Mega Center Oklahoma City is the local branch of the Defense Information Systems Agency. The Mega center operates computer systems for the base and serves 110 other bases in 46 states.
Tinker AFB, main gate, 1995.The Navy's Strategic Communications (STRATCOM) Wing ONE is a one-of-a kind unit in the Navy. This Wing provides a vital, secure communications link to the submerged fleet of ballistic missile submarines. OC-ALC airframe artisans perform depot work on the Navy's E-6 Mercury airplanes while sailors perform field level work.
The Defense Distribution Depot Oklahoma provides the receipt, storage, issue, inspection and shipment of material, including material quality control, preservation and packaging, inventory, transportation functions and pick up and delivery services in support of OC-ALC and other Tinker-based organizations.
The 3rd Combat Communications Group (colloquially known as the "Third Herd") provides deployable communications, computer systems, navigational aids and air traffic control services anywhere in the world.
the 654th Combat Logistic Support Squadron

[edit] History
A C-47 Skytrain on display at Tinker.In 1940, the War Department was considering the central United States as a location for a supply and maintenance depot. Oklahoma City leaders offered a 480 acre (1.94 km2) site and acquired an option for 960 additional acres (3.89 km2) of land. On April 8, 1941, the order was officially signed awarding the depot to Oklahoma City.

In 1942, the new installation was named Tinker Field in honor of Major General Clarence L. Tinker, a member of the Osage Nation from Pawhuska, Oklahoma. General Tinker was a graduate of Wentworth Military Academy who went on to become the first Major General of American Indian descent in U.S. Army history. Tinker was killed in a crash while leading a flight of B-24 Liberators on a long-range strike against Japanese forces on Wake Island during World War II.

Tinker Field was the site of a Douglas Aircraft factory producing approximately half of the C-47 Skytrains used in World War II. The site also produced a number of A-20 Havocs. Production ceased in 1945.

The first successful tornado forecast in history was issued on March 25, 1948 from Tinker, about three hours before the tornado hit the southeast corner of the base. A granite marker in the Heritage Airpark on the base commemorates the event.

On September 29, 1957, Buddy Holly and The Crickets recorded "An Empty Cup", "Rock Me My Baby", "You've Got Love", and "Maybe Baby" in the Tinker Air Force Base Officer's Club.

On November 14, 1984, a massive fire that burned for two days destroyed or damaged over 700,000 square feet in Building 3001. The resulting repairs cost $63.5 million.

During much of the 1990s, Tinker was home to the Automated Weather Network switching facility, which consolidated all U.S. military weather data worldwide. Originally based at Carswell Air Force Base, this unit was later moved to an Air Force Weather Agency facility at Offutt Air Force Base.

On May 3, 1999, a deadly tornado caused extensive damage to the northwest corner of the base and surrounding communities.1 For many days afterwards, Tinker personnel helped by providing shelters, search and rescue, and clean-up efforts.

In July 2005, Tinker hosted the US Air Force Thunderbirds as part of their Star Spangled Salute, the base's annual Independence Day celebration. This was the first time the Thunderbirds had performed in Oklahoma in almost 20 years.

Tinker celebrated the 30-year anniversary of the E-3 Sentry from June 29 to July 1, 2007. Past and present airmen were invited


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