Hydraulics: keeping the B-1 cool under pressure
By Senior Airman Austin Mayfield, 7th Bomb Wing Public Affairs
/ Published June 30, 2017
DYESS AIR FORCE BASE, Texas -- Hydraulic fluid is a crucial part of any aircraft because it moves all the components, controls the brakes and raises and lowers the landing gear.
“Hydraulics is important because it’s what makes all the aircraft components move,” said Senior Airman Daniel Taylor, 7th Equipment Maintenance Squadron hydraulics system journeyman. “It cools and controls all the flaps, flight controls and landing gear. None of that would move without hydraulics.”
The 7th EMS Airmen are tasked with inspecting and ensuring each hydraulic part of the aircraft is in perfect condition before it can be utilized. As soon as an aircraft comes into the hangar and the panels are removed, the Airmen in the hydraulics shop waste no time beginning an inspection.
“After de-paneling is complete, we take flashlights and start looking for any leaks or damages that may have happened during flight; if we find something wrong, we pull it out and replace it,” Taylor said.
If a leak is found, certain protective gear must be worn to ensure Airmen’s safety.
“Anytime we are touching anything that could be contaminated with hydraulic fluid, we have to wear gloves and goggles,” said Airman 1st Class Joshua Marnell, 7th EMS hydraulics system apprentice. “If it’s anything that could be more extensive like the possibility of us being sprayed with hydraulic fluid or when we are servicing the test stand reservoir with cans of hydraulic fluid, we have to wear a splash kit which is an entire full body suit or apron and a face shield.”
Sometimes a hydraulic test stand is used when inspecting certain components. The test stand is a machine used to find any leaks in any aircraft components.
“We use the test stand to check hydraulic leaks in the brakes, a variety of hoses, swivels and accumulators, which is a pressure storage reservoir in which a non-compressible hydraulic fluid is held under pressure that is applied by an external source,” Marnell said.
Hydraulics Airmen take pride in knowing their job plays a vital role in the B-1’s mission.
“It’s a lot of hard work that goes into keeping the hydraulic systems up and running,” Marnell said. “Sometimes the jet is here for a month being worked on; so when it finally takes off, it feels good knowing we are a big part of that.”