MOODY AIR FORCE BASE, Ga. --
Revving aircraft engines at high speeds while simultaneously suppressing their thunderous roars is a specialty of the 23rd Component Maintenance Squadron’s test cell team.
Now, the infrastructures match the capabilities of the team’s mastery to test the installation’s A-10C Thunder Bolt II TF-34 engine with the recently upgraded "hush-house" facilities.
“The [upgrades] of the hush houses are important, because they make a safer environment for the facilities,” said Master Sgt. Thomas Dobbelaere, 23rd CMS test cell section chief. “The modernization of the electrical systems are up to standard and makes it’s easier to see, which allows the test cell team to better operate and ensure the engines are tested to be free of defects and [serviceable].”
According to Tech. Sgt. Nicholas Wilberger, 23rd CMS test cell assistant section chief, the advantages of having reliable and fully operational facilities are vital.
“The fact that we can better see what we are doing is the most important advantage to us,” Wilberger said. “Before the upgrade, most of the lights were inoperable which made it feel like working in a cave. Now, with the installation of the new high bay lights, our hands are freed from using flashlights, and we can work faster on the engine.”
Although the darkness was a major issue, it didn’t hinder the test cell team’s mission. Producing 36 engines in a year, they managed to surpass their annual requirement of 25 serviceable engines. However even though they exceeded expectations, they feel they can still raise the bar with better time management.
“Having a centralized location to access equipment in our new storage rooms saves a great deal of time,” Dobbelaere said. “Another process that makes things easier is having the main doors repaired, so they don’t have to be manually opened, as well as additions of the new camera and communication systems.”
The construction process for Hush House 1 was completed in four months and received $300,000 worth of upgrades. The under construction Hush House 2 will resemble its counterpart, receiving a $500,000 face lift with an estimated completion time of April 2017.
The improvements to the facilities can be credited to civilian contractors who also provided ongoing support by contributing analysis of failures, component redundancy and upgrades for the test cell’s current and future operational capability requirements to the 23rd CMS.
As the contractor team made recommendations and lent their skillful helping hands, Dobbelaere said the results have made an impact.
“The goal was to bring the facilities up to modern [standards]," Dobbelaere said. "The refurbishments and the contractors have exceeded those goals and surpassed our expectations. It makes me proud that these improvements enhance our capabilities to provide testing and repairs of the TF-34 engine.”