By KTAL TV
November 3, 2011
A portable invention is saving the Air Force millions of dollars all over the country: the DECELRON Repair Fixture for the A-10 Aircraft.
Tech Sergeant Ryan E. Thompson invented the device about five years ago.
He took it from just an idea through the design phase, engineering approvals, manufacturing and then a repaired aircraft.
Since that invention, he's moved onto another job as the 707 MXS fabrication flight chief. He's currently working on cost savings projects for the B-52.
Meanwhile, the DECELRON Repair Fixture is increasingly being used for the A-10.
"The planes that we're working on were built in 1979-1980 and we've just expired there useful life of what they've imagined them to be" says Tech Sergeant Zachary Perry. He works on Barksdale Air Force Base.
The aircraft metals technologist works on parts for the A-10, a small, attack aircraft used for close ground support.
A small idea about five years ago has made a huge difference.
"The fixture that these guys designed and built is designed to repair the hole that this fits in" says Master Sergeant Kelly Watkins.
"We did it as a need for the Air Force because we had a plane that was broken" says TSgt. Perry.
It took a week to get the procedure approved.
"You go through a concept and design phase, engineering approvals, manufacturing and then a repaired aircraft" says TSgt. Perry.
It sounds pretty simple but takes a lot of tools and even more precision.
A stainless steel sleeve is frozen, shrunk and installed it into the aircraft.
"Once it's installed, the inside diameter of that hole is now acceptable to hold this bearing back to its original tolerances to the bearing will not rotate" says MSgt. Watkins.
The whole process can be done on bases across the country, taking just hours instead of months.
It costs around $15,000 to repair the wing instead of $1.3 million dollars to replace an entire A-10 wing.
Note: Watch the video.