Joint maintenance teams practice first KC-46 CDDAR exercise
By Tech. Sgt. Abigail Klein, 931st Air Refueling Wing
/ Published September 21, 2020
MCCONNELL AIR FORCE BASE, Kan. -- Fifteen members of the 931st and 22nd Maintenance Squadrons took part in the first crash recovery training with the KC-46A Pegasus this week.
The exercise took place at Hangar 1126, and included a simulation of a collapsed nose landing gear on a KC-46 t for the joint Crashed, Damaged or Disabled Aircraft Recovery, or CDDAR, program. Senior Master Sgt. Gregory Mitchell, 931st MXS Repair and Reclamation Section chief, helped lead the training.
“The main goal for this exercise is to familiarize team members with recovery equipment, procedures and the Aircraft Recovery Document specific to the KC-46,” said Mitchell. “It is important to maintain proficiency in the event an aircraft mishap occurs. A CDDAR team has three objectives: clear runways as efficiently and safely as possible, prevent secondary damage and preserve evidence for investigations.”
During the first part of the training, the CDDAR team members were trained on the secondary method for lifting an aircraft -- using inflatable lifting bags -- while learning proper lifting procedures and equipment operation.
This process includes placing inflatable lifting bags on a makeshift platform of railroad ties and plywood sheets under the wing of an aircraft. The maintenance crews then attach an industrial-grade air compressor to the bag to slowly inflate it. In practice, this procedure would lift an aircraft with collapsed landing gear and allow maintenance teams to secure it prior to beginning maintenance repairs.
Later in the training the Airmen utilized the primary method, using a construction crane to lift a 15-foot-long steel spreader bar above the nose of the plane. Airmen on the ground then held the spreader bar steady with ropes attached to the ends, while two workers in a "cherry-picker" crane attached a 30-foot-long, 12-inch-wide sling to each end of the bar.
Mitchell said the Airmen accomplished more than 32 hours of hands-on training by the end of the week.
Tech. Sgt. Tommy James, 22nd MXS Repair and Reclamation Section chief, and CDDAR NCOIC, who helped organize the training, said the Airmen’s efforts paid off.
“The training was a success because we were not only able to do the first KC-46 CDDAR event, we were also able to give Airmen the knowledge and the annual training they’ll need to succeed,” James said.
James and Mitchell said this week’s training will also benefit them when they leave at end of the month to train Airmen at Edwards Air Force Base, California. Mitchell said they anticipate going to several other bases for similar training throughout the year as more KC-46 aircraft are delivered.