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By Staff Sgt. Justin R. Norton, 302nd Airlift Wing Public Affairs
/ Published November 18, 2018
Staff Sgt. Caleb Gobbles, a 302nd Maintenance Squadron aircraft structures technician, demonstrates the use of a borescope to cadets from the U.S. Air Force Academy, Colorado, to detect metal corrosion beneath the tail of a C-130 Hercules aircraft Oct. 23, 2018, at Peterson Air Force Base, Colorado. The cadets are engineering majors seeking to improve corrosion detection processes in the Air Force for an upcoming worldwide competition against other military academies and universities. They visited the Air Force Reserve Command’s 302nd MXS fabrication flight to learn about current detection techniques. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Justin Norton)
Cadets Mai-Lin Quinto and Lucas Echeverry, from the U.S. Air Force Academy, Colorado, inspect a tool designed to measure the depth of corroded pits on aircraft metals Oct. 23, 2018, at Peterson Air Force Base, Colorado. The cadets visited the 302nd Maintenance Squadron fabrication flight searching for information to improve a corrosion detection system they’re designing for their upcoming worldwide engineering competition. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Justin Norton)
A team of Air Force cadets learned about aircraft corrosion detection techniques from 302nd Maintenance Squadron technicians to prepare for an upcoming worldwide engineering competition, here, Oct. 23.
The team of six from the U.S. Air Force Academy plan to compete against other universities and military academies to develop a corrosion inspection system that can operate “without human touch” in areas that are challenging to access, according to criteria on the University Student Design and Applied Solutions Competition webpage.
Previous USAFA teams won the competition in 2016 and 2017 and the cadets are looking to bring the academy to first place again in 2019.
The team of fourth-year engineering majors met with 302nd MXS technicians to determine the needs of Airmen combating aircraft corrosion.
Staff Sgt. Caleb Gobble, a 302nd MXS aircraft structures technician, told the cadets the current method for identifying corrosion is by visual inspection.
To give the cadets a better understanding of their process, fabrication flight technicians demonstrated how they use a borescope, a small camera at the end of a wire that can be manually maneuvered through small spaces, to inspect areas in the aircraft too small or tight to reach otherwise.
One technician moves the camera through the inspection area while another watches a live video feed to inspect for defects.
The cadets said the experience of seeing an operational Air Force work environment helped them gain a better understanding of current processes and will be invaluable for their competition in April.
“The big thing we wanted to do was expose the cadets to an expensive problem the Air Force has to deal with,” said Sarah Galyon Dorman, the team’s project advisor. “It’s an important thing for them to be aware of no matter where they go after they graduate.”