Hydro brake-down

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Bryan Crane
  • 509th Bomb Wing Public Affairs
With a weight of 160,000 pounds, the B-2 Spirit can be a hard object to slow down. The 509th Maintenance Squadron hydraulic shop's mission is working on the brake system that brings the B-2 to a halt.

"We are in charge of maintaining all hydraulic systems on the jet," said Staff Sgt. Nathaniel Elms, 509th MXS NCO in-charge of hydraulic systems. "That includes flight controls, landing gear and brakes that are important to the flight safety of the B-2 and T-38 Talon."

Elms said the hydraulic systems allow the aircraft to fly missions safely, securely and effectively while maintaining Air Force Global Strike Command's mission of global deterrence.

"Essentially our mission is to support Global Strike Command's global reach capability," Elms said. "We do this through direct support to the B-2 airframe for mission execution, and to the T-38 airframe for aircrew proficiency sustainment."

The hydraulic shop has also recently designed and added a new spin riveter machine that has increased their capability to repair T-38 brakes.

"Our section designed the adapter plate that was locally manufactured," Elms said. "We can now perform in-house repairs that normally have been shipped off base to a depot."

Elms added that keeping repairs in-house helps turnaround time on the repaired parts and saves money by cutting the cost of sending parts to an off-base location.

The hydraulic shop conducts scheduled maintenance on each aircraft after approximately every 1,000 flight miles, and performs the same rigorous work during inspections, as well.

"We remove and reinstall landing gear actuators for scheduled maintenance during phase inspections," Elms said.

Along with the landing gear maintenance, these phase inspections require the technicians to do a complete look-over of the aircraft.

"The phase inspections allow us to make sure the aircraft is safe for all future flights," said Elms. "We take a hard look at our hydraulic systems and ensure there are no issues that might otherwise go unnoticed."

Each day these Airmen provide the aircraft with the ability to strike at a moment's notice. With this in mind, it can take these Airmen more than a year to be fully qualified to complete all hydraulic systems maintenance.

"The technical training school that we go through is a 6-week long course," Elms said. "Most of our training is done at your base because the difference in the aircraft."

After technical training, Airmen will conduct on the job training to fully qualify for their 5-level certification.

Elms said he is thankful he gets to work with his team members every day.

"My Airmen are the best at what they do," Elms said. "They're a group of hard working guys with great energy and a positive attitude."