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Utah Air National Guard KC-135R Stratotanker used for Hill Air Force Base test fit

An Airman's hand enters the frame, holding an instrument to measure pressure.

Engineers from the 75th Air Base Wing, Hill Air Force Base, Utah, and contractors from ES3, an engineering firm located in Clearfield, Utah, test fit a new centering cylinder on a Utah Air National Guard KC-135R Stratotanker at Roland R. Wright Air National Guard Base, August 15, 2019. The engineers successfully completed the test-fit of the upgraded part to ensure proper functionality of retracting landing gear of the aircraft after take-off.(U.S. Air National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Danny Whitlock)

An Airman's hand enters the frame, holding an instrument to measure pressure.

Engineers from the 75th Air Base Wing, Hill Air Force Base, Utah, and contractors from ES3, an engineering firm located in Clearfield, Utah, test fit a new centering cylinder on a Utah Air National Guard KC-135R Stratotanker at Roland R. Wright Air National Guard Base, August 15, 2019. The engineers successfully completed the test-fit of the upgraded part to ensure proper functionality of retracting landing gear of the aircraft after take-off.(U.S. Air National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Danny Whitlock)

A civilian and two Airmen stand around and look at the landing gear system of a KC-135 Stratotanker

Engineers from the 75th Air Base Wing, Hill Air Force Base, Utah, and contractors from ES3, an engineering firm located in Clearfield, Utah, test fit a new centering cylinder on a Utah Air National Guard KC-135R Stratotanker at Roland R. Wright Air National Guard Base, August 15, 2019. The engineers successfully completed the test-fit of the upgraded part to ensure proper functionality of retracting landing gear of the aircraft after take-off.(U.S. Air National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Danny Whitlock)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah --

SALT LAKE CITY – Engineers from the 748th Supply Chain Management Group, Hill Air Force Base along with members of ES3, a contracted engineering firm in Clearfield, and members of the 151st Maintenance Group here, test fit a newly redesigned centering cylinder for the landing gear on a Utah Air National Guard KC-135R Stratotanker, August 15, 2019 at Roland R. Wright Air National Guard Base.

The centering cylinder test fit was part of a combined effort to ensure the continued reliability of the landing gear of the KC-135 to safely be retracted back into the airframe after takeoff. The upgraded part will also increase the serviceability of the part by not having to remove it from the aircraft.

“ES3 is going to redesign the centering cylinder, with different styles of servicing ports, different angles, to see which one can actually work best,” said Senior Master Sgt. Hal Havens, the isochronal maintenance inspection supervisor (ISO) with the 151st Maintenance Group. “If we can change the gauge position, and the servicing port position, we should eliminate the problems that we are having currently.”

Engineers at Hill AFB contracted ES3 to redesign the centering cylinder after the original design began having issues with the pressure gauge on the landing gear.

Because Hill AFB is a regional partner of the UTANG, its proximity to Salt Lake City makes working on co-operative projects such as these easier for mid-point test fits and completion of the final project.

“We didn’t have to go through any TDY funds or anything, just came down here in our own car just to get this fit checked,” said Jacob Beers, a KC-135R landing gear engineer assigned to the 748th Supply Chain Management Group at Hill AFB. “It's so much faster and easier, which is such a crucial thing. Like what if it didn't work? That would have been a big deal to get to the final project, put it on there and it doesn’t fit.”

The ES3 team traveled to several bases to see how they operate, use and service the part and asked what they would want to see in a redesigned part, said Bryan Terry, a lead project engineer from ES3.

“If we sit in a box and try to redesign it, we could design something that you can’t use,” said Terry. “We're doing this fit check to make sure that the design is good, then we'll go forward with the analysis and the final design and testing.”

Havens went on to say that when contractors are working on a type of project like this, they can use the assets at Roland R. Wright Air National Guard Base, offer their advice on what they have been seeing and give solid feedback.