Air Force Research Lab Invents Cargo Aircraft Tire Change Tool

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Fixing cargo aircraft tires is costing the Air Force cash and man power.

Just to give you an idea of the cost, the U.S. Air Force’s largest aircraft, the C-5M Super Galaxy, wears down about .0002 inches on its 28 tires every time it lands. That requires up to five people to perform several tire changes a week.

The complicated process for changing tires is risky because of the size and weight of the tires and tools. For example, the spanner wrench, used to tighten the tire’s nut, weighs 15 pounds and requires the maintainer to hold it accurately in position and with the exact amount of pressure or the wrench will roll off the nut, all while laying on their back with their feet pressing the spanner in place.

But the Air Force Research Laboratory and Junior Force Warfighter Operations have invented a new tool that makes this cumbersome process a thing of the past. The team invented a new tool that allows a single Airman to position and secure the spanner wrench in place, making it easier and safer to tighten the wheel.

“By reducing the manpower required to handle and position the spanner wrench, the entire tire change process now takes only three maintainers.”

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