According to the US Air Force spokeswoman Anna Stefanek, all but five of the C-130 propellers were replaced and they returned to service. The remaining five are on regular maintenance, during which they will also replace the blades.
In total, in the balance of the US Air Force in 2017, there were 188 Hercules of this type, which means that almost a third fleet The transport aircraft C-130H was disabled for several weeks. In addition to older cars, in aviation There are 110 new C-130Js.
The situation was made public at the hearings in the US Congress, held last Thursday. The Air Force moved to a more thorough work with propeller blades after the KC-130T aircraft crash, which resulted in the death of 2017 sailors and marines in 15. The investigation revealed that the accident was caused by damage to the propeller blade, which had undergone corrosion, unnoticed during scheduled repairs in the 2011 year.
After the accident, the air force commissioned an independent expert group to study the overhaul processes, which resulted in the development of a new 21-stage process.
In January, a senior review panel was convened on 2019, which reviewed the results of the investigation and all actions taken after the crash of KC-130T. According to the Air Force spokesperson, it was discovered that in 23 cases the propeller blades had microcracks. All 23 blades are no longer used.
Almost all of them, except one, were made before 1971 of the year - the year in which the Air Force switched to a different production process.
As soon as the Air Force realized that the propellers produced before 1971 had an increased probability of defect, an order was issued to ban C-130H flights with these blades until the moment of complete removal of these parts from circulation. According to the US Air Force press service, technical services began replacing blades in early February. Most units managed to quickly replace the blades and return the machines to the system.
There are currently no aircraft flying with blades released before 1971.
- said Stefanek.
According to her, the propellers removed were disposed of, but it is unclear whether any of them showed signs of corrosion.
The process of replacing blades on 55 aircraft took about a month. Some “Hercules” C-130H carried out the necessary procedures at the registry airfields, others had to go through the procedure at the repair air base.
According to Anna Stefanek, most of the damaged C-130H were from units of the National Guard, but several of them were operational activities or were in the Air Force reserve. The aircraft were assigned to different units - in some squadrons, replacement of parts was required on one or two machines, in others - on five or six.