There's no I-SO in Team

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Gage Daniel
  • 94th Airlift Wing

DOBBINS AIR RESERVE BASE, Ga. – As day breaks, sparkles of the sun shimmer through the hangar doors as a C-130H begins to crawl into the bay for an inspection. Isochronal (ISO) begins.


Every 270 days all of the C-130H’s on Dobbins are brought in for ISO. Unlike other inspections, ISO is a deep inspection of all aircraft systems and hardware.


            “An ISO inspection begins with a pre-engine run, servicing, de-fuel, wash, and de-panel,” said MSgt. Trez Jenkins, 94th Maintenance Squadron ISO dock coordinator. “After that, we put the plane on jacks, pull the wheels off, and begin to inspect the aircraft.”


            After inspection, members of the maintenance squadron begin to work on their respective areas of the plane, such as the engines and paneling, as all areas are required to be thoroughly reviewed and maintained during the life of the inspection, which lasts several weeks.


            “All of the systems on the plane are interrelated,” Jenkins said. “For example, an engines Airman has his responsibilities, but in that engine there are fuel systems which require additional Airmen who specialize in other Air Force Specialty Codes to look at, and there are also a combination of cables, booster packs, and more, which require avionics Airmen. It can snowball quickly.”


            Being that many sections work together, the most important things in the ISO bay are communication and teamwork, according to Jenkins.


            “Since teamwork is key to a successful job, being thorough and diligent are a must for quality work,” said Senior Airman Titus Best Jr., 94 MXS aerospace engine propulsion technician.


            Once the planes have been inspected and repaired, the quality assurance (QA) process begins, and following QA, each aircraft goes through a post-dock run.


            “The post-dock run consists of checking all of the systems on the plane, making sure everything all runs smoothly, so that the aircraft can get back in the air,” said Best Jr. “Once the post-dock run is complete, we know the plane is in tip-top shape, flight ready, and will come back home.”


            Inspections outside of ISO are regulated by flight time general in nature; while ISO is based on a specific number of days between each inspection and focuses on many specific areas of the aircraft.


            “Flightline inspections keep aircraft in shape between ISOs,” Jenkins said. “The most important part of what we do is assuring weapons system availability. We ensure each aircraft is Air Force worthy.”


            Each aircraft undergoes ISO in roughly 9-month cycles, each as important as the last, ensuring the Air Force is never without mission-ready, capable aircraft.


            “Here, we tear the aircraft down, fix it, put it back together and get it back into the sky,” said Jenkins. “It’s rewarding to see the process all the way through.”