HomeNewsArticle Display

100th MXS Airman innovates leak detection technology

Staff Sgt. Patrick Leach, 100th Maintenance Squadron aircraft fuels systems craftsman, uses the Pressurized Leak Detection Cup he designed Feb. 14, 2020, at RAF Mildenhall, England. The device has reduced leak detection time in fuel tanks by 75 percent and can potentially save the base more than $1 million annually. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Joseph Barron)

Staff Sgt. Patrick Leach, 100th Maintenance Squadron aircraft fuels systems craftsman, uses the Pressurized Leak Detection Cup Feb. 14, 2020, at RAF Mildenhall, United Kingdom. The device, he designed, has reduced leak-detection time in fuel tanks by 75% and can potentially save the base more than $1 million annually. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Joseph Barron)

The Pressurized Leak Detection Cup sits on a table Feb. 14, 2020, at RAF Mildenhall, England. Designed by Staff Sgt. Patrick Leach, 100th Maintenance Squadron aircraft fuels systems craftsman, the device reduces the time needed to detect leaks within the fuel tanks of KC-135 Stratotankers. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Joseph Barron)

The Pressurized Leak Detection Cup sits on a table Feb. 14, 2020, at RAF Mildenhall, United Kingdom. The device, designed by Staff Sgt. Patrick Leach, 100th Maintenance Squadron aircraft fuels systems craftsman, reduces the time needed to detect leaks within the fuel tanks of KC-135 Stratotankers. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Joseph Barron)

RAF MILDENHALL, United Kingdom (AFNS) -- A 100th Maintenance Squadron Airman at RAF Mildenhall has designed a device that decreases the time needed to detect leaks within aircraft fuel tanks.

Staff Sgt. Patrick Leach, 100th MXS aircraft fuels systems craftsman, created the Pressurized Leak Detection Cup with the help of the aircraft structural maintenance flight.

“My innovation is a 3D printed cup which we can pressurize when pressed up against the surface of the aircraft,” Leach said. “This allows air to travel through any open channels on the surface and exit on the inside of the tank. We can then apply soapy water to the inside so we can see where the leak is coming through.”

The innovation is being used on the KC-135 Stratotanker, and Leach is in the process of getting it approved for other aircraft.

“It is issuable and certified for use on the KC-135,” Leach said. “We’re also working on pushing it out for other aircraft and getting the technical orders changed to actually implement it Air Force-wide.”

The cup is manufactured using 3D printers, which makes it inexpensive to produce.

“It costs under $15 in materials to produce and will save approximately $1.5 million per year at RAF Mildenhall. It has a big bang for its buck,” said Mia Tobitt, 100th MXS self-assessment program and continuous process improvement manager. “Being 3D printed allows us the option to produce different forms of the cup so that it can be used for multiple applications.”

The cup reduces the time needed to detect leaks by 75%, improving the wing’s ability to more quickly deliver mission-ready aircraft capable of providing aerial refueling.

“It decreases down time for leak repair and frees maintenance personnel to accomplish other tasks,” Leach said.

In addition to impacting the aircraft fuels systems Airmen, Leach’s innovation also has the potential to affect other career fields.

“It was primarily designed for fuel system repair but could be useful for any career field that deals with liquid containers such as vehicle maintenance or civil engineering.” Leach said.

Leach believes workplace innovation can be replicated by other Airmen. He recommends individuals look for opportunities to innovate in the areas of their job they find most frustrating.

“There is always a better way to do something,” Leach said. “If you don’t think what you’re doing is effective, work on it and make your life easier.”

Engage

Twitter
RT @173rdFW: "I may have lost everything, but thanks to the support we’ve found here, I’m going to be back on my feet inside of a few weeks…
Twitter
.@GenCQBrownJr & @cmsaf_official sat down and discussed how the Air Force will continue exempting Airmen from PT t… https://t.co/bWVig9fSOW
Twitter
SrA Mark Gonzalez describes how his job enables the B-2 Spirit Stealth Bomber to support the Bomber Task Force depl… https://t.co/sceKCtM3Pz
Twitter
RT @AETCommand: Our Airmen come from all walks of life — and we are stronger for it. Staff Sgt. Kalinin, 56th Force Support Squadron ALS…
Twitter
“It's critical to have that diversity in the Air Force that we have today because it is truly through that diversit… https://t.co/RIDQDjdlCr
Twitter
F-16 Fighting Falcons assigned to the 18th Aggressor Squadron @EielsonAirForce takeoff in support of exercise Valia… https://t.co/cf0raGgEUD
Twitter
RT @USAF_ACC: "This test, and others like it, can shape the future of the MQ-9, as we continue to increase its relevance in great power com…
Twitter
"We cannot rest on our laurels. It is all about the people, folks, and they will guarantee our readiness, and are f… https://t.co/BsNDUSw0wE
Twitter
RT @USAFCENT: USAFCENT Airmen and coalition partners are executing missions of national, regional and global importance and Exercise Desert…
Twitter
In March 2019, @AFSpecOpsCmd received its first Block 30 AC-130J Ghostrider gunship. Referred to as “the ultimate b… https://t.co/V9FoDThYRQ
Twitter
As the Joint Force transitioned from a Continuous Bomber Presence posture in the Indo-Pacific theater to a Dynamic… https://t.co/u8JlA3GaeF
Twitter
As of August 2020, The 53rd Weather Reconnaissance Squadron, aka Hurricane Hunters, has flown 64 missions into 12 s… https://t.co/CFtHJ8HDXG
Twitter
.@AFGlobalStrike tackled B-1B readiness issues head-on by readying the fleet with a roadmap to recovery over a 2-yr… https://t.co/dEfZemGKbb
Twitter
As we celebrate 73 years of the U.S. Air Force, we remember the heroes we are proud to have served with. Today we… https://t.co/3pdHX3DvIn
Twitter
Flying, fighting and winning since 1947. #USAF73 https://t.co/qM28ykPZwt
Twitter
RT @AF_Academy: Proud to fly the @usairforce flag today and every day! Happy 73rd Birthday! #YourAcademy #FamilyWeek https://t.co/hOIs1ghq7M
Twitter
RT @GenCQBrownJr: Today we honor the #heroes who knew the worst of war and the agony of captivity - those who fought for and lost their fre…
Twitter
RT @ArmyMateriel: Join us in wishing a Happy Birthday to our brothers and sisters in the United States Air Force! #DYK The Air Force was…
Facebook
The newest Air Force Podcast recently dropped. Listen to a small snippet of CMSAF Kaleth O. Wright talk with Staff Sgt. New about resiliency. Listen to the entire podcast on Youtube: https://go.usa.gov/xpnAD or Subscribe to The Air Force Podcast on iTunes: https://podcasts.apple.com/podcast/the-air-force-podcast/id1264107694?mt=2
Facebook
Our mantra, "Always ready!" It's the spirit we fly by! #B2Tuesday
Facebook
Need some motivation to get your week started off right? Listen as CMSAF Kaleth O. Wright weighs in...
Facebook
The U.S. Air Force Academy gives its cadets some unique opportunities. Ride along one of this opportunities.
Facebook
A United States Air Force KC-135 Stratotanker refuels an F-22 Raptor over northern Iraq, Nov. 6, 2019. U.S. Central Command operations deter adversaries and demonstrate support for allies and partners in the region. (Video by Staff Sgt. Daniel Snider)
Facebook
Although the Silver Star is the third-highest military medal, it's not given often. Today, TSgt Cody Smith was the 49th Special Tactics Airman to receive this medal since Sept. 11th, 2001. Read more of TSgt Smith's amazing story: https://www.airforcespecialtactics.af.mil/News/Article-Display/Article/2024815/special-tactics-airman-battled-through-injuries-awarded-silver-star/fbclid/IwAR2LZWwx1VHdTnQe39rIEBOuJS_0JvMQBBGt7I-E6zsxxn-Lx9387yu43Bc/ Cannon Air Force Base Air Force Special Operations Command United States Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) U.S. Department of Defense (DoD)
Facebook
Tune in as our Air Force musicians along with other military musicians are awarded the National Medal of Arts.
Facebook
Like Us
Twitter
1,280,541
Follow Us