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145th MXG Airmen train on new Universal Hydraulic Test Stand

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Twelve Airmen from the 145th Maintenance Group, North Carolina Air National Guard and three Airmen from the 134th Air Refueling Wing, Tennessee Air National Guard, took part in a two day operation and familiarization training event on the Universal Hydraulic Test Stand (UHTS), June 28 and 29, 2016.

Three instructors responsible for training Air National Guard, U.S. Air Force Reserves, and active duty Airmen were present to conduct the training: Larry McBride, Program Manager for Hydraulic Testing Equipment, Larry Preston, Engineer for Hydraulic Testing, and Steve Taisler, Equipment Specialist. 

Previously, the Air Force had a dedicated system for nearly every aircraft and Larry Preston states that the UHTS "...replaces all the legacy hydraulic test stands in the Air Force with one configuration.  It provides hydraulic fluid pressure and flow to the aircraft so you can do ground check for all the hydraulic systems on the aircraft: flaps, slats, landing gear... all hydraulic components."

The UHTS is used to clean and perform maintenance on hydraulic systems of various aircraft by processing hydraulic fluid and taking water, air, and other impurities out while circulating clean fluid back into the aircraft.

"The quality of the training was excellent, and for those working on the flight line, it's invaluable training because of the fact that this piece of equipment can be used on any airframe to date, and because of the fact that it's going to transfer right over to the C-17 program and will be heavily used. They're simplifying the process and making life easier for the maintainers," said Tech. Sgt. Myron Cheeks, an AGE technician that attended the training. 

This also represents a significant cost savings in terms of maintenance. The UHTS contains sensors for each filter that allow for replacement only when necessary, instead of on an annual basis.  In the past, the systems likely hadn't been used enough to warrant replacement, but had to be switched out because of maintenance schedules.

"The UHTS is the most advanced hydraulic test stand that the Air Force currently has and what it provides for the Wing is the ability for us to now do maintenance on the flight line as well as purifying hydraulic fluid on the aircraft itself.  All that is combined into that one piece of equipment whereas in the past we would have to use one piece of equipment to flush the hydraulic system on the airplane and we had a piece of equipment that would purify that hydraulic fluid," said Master Sgt. Brian Barefoot, AGE Element supervisor.

Over the last two years, Larry McBride's team has visited bases in Georgia, Montana, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Alabama, Illinois, Missouri, and South Carolina. They will continue to travel and train Airmen until all bases have qualified personnel.