BIRMINGHAM, Ala. --
You hear it all of the time: “You have to spend money to make money.” The Hydraulic Shop at the 117th Air Refueling Wing is not in the business of making money, but thanks to the arrival of a new machine, they will most certainly save money and lots of it.
The new Hydraulic Test Machine is only one of two in the Air National Guard and one of four in the Air Force. Senior Master Sgt. Justin Smith, the Aircraft Accessories Superintendent, discussed how the new machine tests the components that keep the KC-135R Stratotankers flying safely and mission-ready.
“You hook it to hydraulic parts to test them to see if they’re leaking or if an actuator extends out and moving as it should,” said Smith. Most hydraulic parts on the aircraft operate at close to 3000 pounds per square inch but the machine tests the parts at close to 6000 psi, said Smith.
Along with testing parts, the hydraulic shop also rebuilds their own parts. “No other shop on base does that,” said Smith. The overhauled parts are then restocked for future use and made available throughout the Air Force, and the new hydraulic test machine insures the parts are serviceable and good as new.