More than 100 C-130 Air Force planes have been grounded after propeller blades were repeatedly scratched during inspections and caused cracks

More than 100 C-130s were grounded by the Air Force after the propeller blades cracked


The cracks are suspected from being etched on with arc pens during depot maintenance over the last decade
Technicians use an electric arc pen to scratch numbers into the blades to indict that the inspection has been done
The procedure was stopped about 'six months ago and will not be used going forward'
Some of the aircrafts have taken flight again, but it unclear when the rest will be cleared for take off.

More than 100 C-130 Air Force planes have been grounded after it was discovered the propeller blades had cracks.

The Air Force suspected the cracks are a byproduct of repeated scratching during a decade of inspection.
More than 100 C-130s were grounded by the Air Force after the propeller blades cracked. The cracks are suspected from being etched on with arc pens during depot maintenance over the last decade
During maintenance, technicians use an electric arc pen to scratch numbers into the blades to indict that the inspection has been done.

'The process used to engrave serial numbers on the propellers likely contributed to cracks that are being found on the C-130Hs,' Major Beau Downey told Defense One.

Technicians stopped this procedure about 'six months ago and will not be used going forward.'

Etching is completed during 'depot maintenance' at the Warner Robins Air Logistics Complex in Georgia.

The base 'inspects, overhauls, and tests' damage that cannot be repaired outside of the depot.

'This process involves complex inspections and repairs that cannot be accomplished at the unit level outside the depot.'

A total of a 116 H model C-130 are out of commission as the military works to repair them

Although the military has not confirmed that etching caused the cracks, the damage grounded 116 aircrafts, or around 20 percent of the C-130 fleet.

Further analysis will be conducted into the 'root cause of the cracks,' according to Downey.

'The [Air Force] is working a multi-faceted recovery plan to resume safe aircraft operations as soon as possible,' Downey said. 'This will be an incremental process based on operational priority and our focus remains the safety of our crews.

'Right now our focus is on safely and quickly returning these aircraft to supporting the mission.'

A small number of aircrafts have returned to the air.

The military does not know when the rest of the aircrafts will take flight again, saying the 'continued process is underway in expediting the process to acquire available prop barrels, which includes scouring the globe for stock of the H model prop barrels that our maintainers can refurbish.'

The current H models have been a part of the Air Force since 1970s. The Air Force has more than 450 C-130s in rotation, with around 200 being H models.

The H models are mainly used for tactical missions and are capable to operating in rough, dirt strips and are mainly used to airdrop troops and equipment into hostile areas.
Etching is completed during 'depot maintenance' at the Warner Robins Air Logistics Complex in Georgia. The base 'inspects, overhauls, and tests' damage that cannot be repaired outside of the depot
It has been used all across the US, as well, as in Europe, the Pacific Air Force, and in the National Guard.

The C-130 entered combat in the 1950s during the Korean War after the military realized it needed an aircraft capable of transporting troops medium distances.

By December 1956, there were 230 C-130A's in rotation and more models would go on to be made.

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