434th MXS conducts aircraft recovery exercise

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Jeremy Blocker
  • 434th Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs

When a KC-135 is down and damage is done, the Grissom maintainers are on call and ready to take action.

The 434th Maintenance Squadron conducted an annual crashed, damaged, disabled aircraft recovery exercise on July 30, 2021.

This exercise is designed to demonstrate the 434th MXS’s ability to respond to a major aircraft accident within a certain time frame.

The exercise scenario, involved an issue with the landing gear, which prevented the aircraft from landing safely. The CDDAR team needed to follow specific guidelines in a safe and timely manner.

“During this exercise, a right main landing gear collapsed,” said Senior Master Sgt, James Massie, 434th MXS Repair and Reclamation non-commissioned officer in charge. “Once police, fire and safety deem it safe, the aircraft is released to the CDDAR team for recovery. We simulated lifting the jet with 26T airbags due to the possibility of damaging the jet.”

The 26T airbags are placed under the wings of the KC-135. Once inflated, they lift the aircraft and help maintainers identify any discrepancies or problems.

“During the exercise, we go over the entire process from the initial call of the emergency to actually performing the work of recovering the aircraft,” said Massie. “Agencies like the fire department, police, base safety, inspector general, and aircraft maintenance must coordinate with each other.”

Through their attention to detail and the guidance of their leadership, the CDDAR maintainers successfully accomplished the exercise. Massie praised the team for their work during this exercise.

“Everyone did very well with the exercise,” said Massie. “We have a lot of new members who have not been through the class yet. They followed the lead of the more experienced members and the exercise went great.”

The 434th ARW is the largest KC-135R Stratotanker unit in the Air Force Reserve Command. The Citizen Airmen from the Hoosier Wing routinely deploy around the world in support of the Air Force mission.

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