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Youngstown ice-breakers keep mission flying

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Jeffrey Grossi
  • 910th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

Crew chiefs assigned to the 910th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron removed snow and ice from the 910th Airlift Wing’s fleet of Lockheed Martin C-130H Hercules aircraft, Feb. 6, 2022, on the YARS flightline. The area experienced a level one snow emergency days prior to the February Unit Training Assembly which added 11 inches of new snow to their previous 5 inches of accumulation.

Just as driving an iced over car on the highway is dangerous to do, flying a plane in such a condition could have disastrous results.

As ice accumulates, it increases weight and drag on the aircraft, said Tech. Sgt. Thaddeus Root, a 910th aircraft maintenance craftsman. If ice begins to cover the wing and tail of planes, the lift force that keeps a plane in the air becomes reduced, causing aerodynamic stalls and temporary loss of control. Furthermore, ice can dislodge and damage various components, notably the propellers and engine systems during startup and in flight.

The 910th AW is no stranger to these conditions during the winter months, and the crew chiefs of YARS have the training and capability to combat ice and snow.

Aided by de-icing trucks armed with mechanical booms that can spout hot air and de-icing fluid, crew chiefs like Master Sgt. Brian McCumbers, Tech. Sgt. Jason Ross, Staff Sgt. Kerri Savick and Senior Airman Anthony Ganni, all aircraft maintenance technicians, were able to remove ice from four C-130Hs prior to conducting scheduled flying operations, keeping the 910th “Combat ready NOW…for tomorrow’s fight!” as the wing’s mission statement says.

Root said crew chiefs are responsible for ensuring aircraft care. Their main responsibility is overseeing daily maintenance, identifying malfunctions and replacing parts, conducting inspections and maintaining records and, when it gets cold, breaking the ice.