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Here’s how Boeing helps March Air Reserve Base keep its C-17 cargo planes in the air

By in Press Enterprise on July 26, 2017

By Mark Muckenfuss

There aren’t a lot of places to turn to when you’ve got a 10,000-pound airplane door that needs to be rebuilt.

That was the task given to a group of workers at March Air Reserve Base two years ago, after a C-17 Globemaster III plane was damaged in a hard landing in Afghanistan. The cargo plane’s massive rear ramp was missing whole sections when it arrived at the base where one of 15 domestic Boeing field repair offices for C-17s is stationed.

On Monday, July 24, workers began part of the final process in rebuilding the ramp, by attaching sections of the exterior skin of the aircraft.

Workers estimated there were more than 1,000 holes in each of the three 15-feet-by-8-feet metal sheets cut to fit over the door. Each one had to be hand drilled and had to line up not only with holes in the frame, but with an underlayer of material as well. A diagram of the door laid out on a table in the Boeing office had yellow highlights on sections and singular holes that did not initially line up and had to be fixed.

Vernon Benson, head of the repair team, said the door is one of the largest projects the Boeing crew at March has taken on since the office was established in 2004.

Ron Sampson, the site manager, said when Boeing began delivering C-17s to the Air Force, it established a presence at bases where the planes were stationed. The idea was to help military personnel keep the planes up and running. At March, most of the work involves daily consultation with Air Force reservists maintaining and fixing the base’s nine C-17s, which deliver personnel and payloads all over the world.

The C-17 is the first Boeing plane for which such resources were provided. Future planes, such as the […]    

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