B-2 Brake-Down

  • Published
  • By by Airman 1st Class Cody H. Ramirez
  • 509th Bomb Wing Public Affairs
The hydraulic systems shop has 14 Airmen who maintain hydraulic components for the B-2 Spirits and T-38 Talon aircraft here supporting flight-ready aircraft at a moment's notice.

"We maintain systems such as flight controls, landing gear and brakes that are essential to the flight safety of the B-2s and T-38s," said Tech. Sgt. Charles Taylor, 509th Maintenance Squadron Hydraulic Systems assistant NCO in charge.

Sergeant Taylor 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 nuclear deterrence.

His team performs and supervises aircraft hydraulic functions and activities, and troubleshoots, removes, repairs, overhauls, inspects, adjusts, installs, and tests aircraft hydraulic and in-flight refueling systems and components.

Sergeant Taylor said most of the work the hydraulic systems technicians do is unscheduled.

"When parts fail on the aircraft the flightline hydraulics technicians remove and replace the part with a new one from supply," he added. "The failed part will then come to us in the back shop for repair. A majority of our work comes from overhauling B-2 brake assemblies."

Repairs, such as overhauling brakes, save the Air Force money by not having to procure brand new assets that might cost twice as much from outside vendors, said Master Sgt. Josef Albert, 509th Maintenance Squadron hydraulic systems NCO in charge.

Before returning the repaired item each individual part is inspected on a hydraulic test stand by a seven-level craftsman to ensure serviceable condition, according to Sergeant Taylor. If the piece fails a service test, it is torn down, inspected for the defect, repaired and then retested.

Sergeant Taylor said there is also scheduled maintenance completed by the shop during predetermined flight intervals. These phase inspections require the technicians to completely look over the aircraft, including scheduled overhauls of landing gear components.

"Our phase inspections offer flight safety by taking a hard look at our hydraulic systems and ensure there are no issues that might otherwise go unnoticed," said Sergeant Albert.

"Hydro (hydraulic systems) is the muscle that makes all the flight controls and landing moves," said Sergeant Albert. "The flight controls alone take more than two dozen hydraulic actuators to move and it takes eight brakes that weight more than 70 pounds each to stop the B-2. We offer the ability to overhaul and reutilize hydraulic assets."

Hydraulic system integrity is vital for the wing to fly critical missions when and where called upon, according to Sergeant Taylor said.