Flightlines

Air Force tests the power of polyurethane protective tape

C-130 Hercules landing gear struts are durable and tough, but over time debris kicked up from unimproved runways can take their toll. Maintenance Airmen are testing a way to protect the struts from this debris, extending the lifetime of the equipment. (U.S. Air Force photo)

Men know that if you can’t fix it with duct tape, you’re not using enough.

The Air Force seems to have embraced this ethos by testing to see whether polyurethane protective tape – which is like duct tape on steroids – can be used to protect C-130 landing gear.

When C-130s land on rough strips, rocks kicked up damage the landing gear, an Air Force news story says. The main landing gear struts, which cost $100,000 each, require two people and at least eight hours to replace when they wear out.

So the 302nd Maintenance Group at Peterson Air Force Base, Colo., is seeing how the reinforced tape can protect a C-130’s forward strut from rocks during landing, the news story says. The tape itself only costs $100.

“Maintainers will inspect the struts after the first and 10th unimproved runway landing to evaluate the success of the procedure,” the story says. “ If successful, the program office will determine the feasibility of adding the tape to the aircraft’s rear struts, as well as other aircraft.”

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