HomeNewsArticle Display

Confined space trainer redefines training plan

U.S. Air Force Airman Shawn Bragg, 100th Maintenance Squadron aircraft fuel systems apprentice, prepares to enter the confined space trainer Dec. 15, 2017 on RAF Mildenhall, England. The training unit was built in-house, using scrap metal. The alternative to the confined space trainer was purchasing an additional KC-135 Stratotank wing fuel tank or training on operational aircraft. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Justine Rho)

Airman Shawn Bragg, 100th Maintenance Squadron aircraft fuel systems apprentice, prepares to enter the confined space trainer on RAF Mildenhall, England, Dec. 15, 2017. The training unit was built in-house, using scrap metal. The alternative to the confined space trainer was purchasing an additional KC-135 Stratotank wing fuel tank or training on operational aircraft. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Justine Rho)

U.S. Air Force Airman Shawn Bragg, 100th Maintenance Squadron aircraft fuel systems apprentice, secures bolts inside the confined space trainer Dec. 15, 2017 on RAF Mildenhall, England. The conditions inside an actual wing fuel-tank are simulated inside the training unit to prepare Airmen. Trainees are required to wear personal protective equipment just as they would operationally.  (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Justine Rho)

Airman Shawn Bragg, 100th Maintenance Squadron aircraft fuel systems apprentice, secures bolts inside the confined space trainer on RAF Mildenhall, England, Dec. 15, 2017. The conditions inside an actual wing fuel-tank are simulated inside the training unit to prepare Airmen. Trainees are required to wear personal protective equipment just as they would operationally. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Justine Rho)

RAF MILDENHALL, England (AFNS) -- The access point into the wing fuel tanks of a KC-135 Stratotanker is a hatch that is about the size of a commercial aircraft viewing window. After twisting and turning into that small opening, an Airman is immediately enveloped by the smell of jet fuel and complete darkness.

Aircraft fuels systems Airmen assigned to the 100th Maintenance Squadron have to become familiar with claustrophobic work spaces, such as the fuel tanks within the wings of an aircraft, in order to do their jobs. A team of Airmen within the 100th MXG, each contributing from their different sections and line of expertise, addressed the need to better prepare their personnel by creating a standalone confined space trainer.

“We had a large influx of new Airmen and to get them spun up and ready to do fuels systems maintenance it would take about three months until they can do their first job,” said Staff Sgt. Joshua Goins, 100th Maintenance Group aircraft fuel systems craftsman. “The confined space trainer allows us to work with Airmen in a safe and controlled environment; instead of pulling an aircraft from the flight line, we can do training readily in the shop.”

Some priorities to the design of the trainer included authenticity and a design that allows instructors to easily observe and give instructions to Airmen inside the trainer. With the specifications in mind, the next step was to construct a unit that best simulated the conditions of an aircraft.

“Being in structural maintenance kind of centers around building parts for the aircraft,” said Staff Sgt. Scott Trombley, 100th MXG aircraft structural maintenance craftsman. “I took a personal interest in the project because it’s not something we normally get to do and it gave me the opportunity to be creative. It was mutually beneficial for my section because we recruited [Airmen still in training] to assist in construction, which gave them upgrade training in our career field.”

To further the realism of the training unit, the team looked to the metals technology section to help fabricate a fuel tank hatch.

“They needed a door that closely simulated an aircraft fuel tank hatch, for entry and exit procedures, to help get their newer Airmen trained properly,” explained Staff Sgt. Montana Engelking, 100th MXG metals technology craftsman. “They procured us a door from the wing fuel tank of a Stratotanker. We then took precision measurements and basically reverse engineered the existing door geometry to cut out a door without having to buy a new one.”

“A wing section to use as a trainer would have cost about $500,000,” Goins said. “Our trainer has a total cost, including building hours, of about $2,000.”

It took multiple sections and motivated minds to make the confined space trainer into a reality.

“Innovation starts at the user level, so it’s important we keep trying to find ways to do our job better and more effectively,” Goins said.

Engage

Facebook Twitter
RT @AETCommand: 😉 It's not really bragging if you bring home the 🏆 - is it? 📖 more at the link about how @Columbus_AFB's First Assignment…
RT @USAFHealth: Air Force Research Laboratory tests the new wireless high-noise filtering stethoscope. Learn more: https://t.co/bNj9LhB7d6…
RT @37thTRW: A #CV22 from @KIRTLAND377ABW arrived today to give hands on training to our #Airmen in this tiltrotor #aircraft ✈️ 🚁 🇺🇸 Our…
RT @HiAirGuard: We’ve had a lot of excitement on our flight line for exercise Sentry Aloha 19-2! The exercise kicked off with fighter aircr…
RT @419fw: The 419th OSF is home to about 40 Airmen who work behind the scenes of every #F35 flying mission @HAFB. Comprised of aircrew fli…
RT @AF_SBIR_STTR: In 2018, @AFWERX in collaboration with other Air Force organizations like the @AFResearchLab revamped the congressionally…
.@ActingSecAF happy birthday! Thanks for embodying the Air Force core values. INTEGRITY FIRST. SERVICE BEFORE SE… https://t.co/VFeGcblVVK
RT @USAFCENT: Watch our #F15C's "get hyped" during Exercise #HypeEagle! Stay tuned for more! @usairforce @CENTCOM @DeptofDefense @AirMobi
RT @AirmanMagazine: Your @usairforce news: ✓ Staff sergeant promotion results are released ✓ The 419th Civil Engineering Squadron helps r…
RT @419fw: Capt. Sterling Broadhead, 67th Aerial Port Squadron, and his team took gold at the Law of Armed Conflict event at the Inter-alli…
.@AstroHague thank you for keeping our partnerships strong into #space and far beyond. https://t.co/V0enWGSmSz
RT @ClarkCountyNV: Great video of the Las #Vegas @NellisAFB based #Thunderbirds teaming up with their military counterparts. This is the fi…
RT @AFResearchLab: Dr. Rachel Abrahams developed a steel alloy that's 20% stronger than conventional AM alloys in terms of ultimate tensile…
RT @48FighterWing: Happy #F15Friday from the #LibertyWing! This epic display of #CombatAirPower is brought to you by Carl Edwards! #WeAreL
RT @CAF_Australia: The bonds forged through war endure during peace. It was an honour this week to join CSAF @usairforce at the @AWMemorial
RT @HQUSAFEPA: Building partnerships through programs like the African Partnership Flights allows the exchange of best practices and increa…
RT @kdfinfo: Day Two Activities at the African Partnership Flight Program at the Laikipia Air Base. #AFAFRICA #USAF https://t.co/RTUJ0M7tVW
RT @CAF_Australia: There is no more enduring friendship than that between @AusAirForce and @usairforce. Today in Canberra I hosted CSAF #US
RT @AFCLC: AFCLC was honored to host the Command Chiefs from around Indo PACOM this week and discuss how #language and #culture assets from…