Tinker Air force base, Oklahoma

The Challenge, Solution and Result

The Challenge

In a very special project, the USAF were restoring “Ghost Rider”, a B-52H bomber that had been sitting in storage in the Arizona desert for several decades, at Tinker Air Force Base, in Oklahoma.

During the nine-month restoration, fragile componentry needed to be removed, to allow technicians full access inside bomb bays and wheel wells.

This included the bomb bay doors.

These curved aluminum doors required careful handling when separated from the aircraft – even a slight deformity would render the doors incompatible with the contour of the aircraft’s fuselage shape, and therefore void for use. The USAF’s previous solution had been a shelf unit with webbing straps that allowed for fuselage curvature. However, these straps were rotting, posing a risk of the doors falling.

The Solution

SafeSmart Aviation took measurements and weight specifications from the B-52’s parts, and custom-designed a rack that suited the bomber exactly – a curved shelf system with protective foam. Specifications were also taken from the aircraft’s existing wheeled base chassis, so SafeSmart’s lightweight unit could be mounted onto it via engineered connection points.

The Result

The USAF could place the bomb doors on the trolley safely, securely, quickly and easily, for transporting around the base. For other B-52s at Tinker, the system also keeps the flight line tidy during maintenance.

And thanks to assistance by suppliers like SafeSmart Aviation, the project was delivered 90 days early, and Ghost Rider was amazingly recommissioned into full military use, to full operational flying status.

SafeSmart Aviation has also provided custom products to the US Army and Marines. Now, The US Air Force also see SafeSmart as a trusted partner in safe height access solutions for the hangar and ramp.

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