Marine Corps

The Challenge, Solution and Result

The Challenge

Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, San Diego CA, houses the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing. Amongst a vast array of aircraft to be seen at the base—F/A18D Hornet, Sikorsky CH-53E, C-17 Globemaster and the F-35, to name a few—is the Bell Boeing MV-22 Osprey, a V/STOL military transport aircraft.

A common story amongst many ground crews and MROs is the use of standard store-bought ladders for access to heights. The technicians in the Osprey Squadron were looking for a more efficient and safe way to access the unique tiltrotor engines during maintenance that also complied with ANSI and OSHA regulations.

And the access product needed to be quick to install and pack down for use in remote combat zones. With experience with both fixed wing and rotary aircraft maintenance platforms, SafeSmart Aviation were commissioned with the task of solving the issue.

The Solution

The Osprey is very expensive, at an approximate unit cost of US$72.1 million, so the fragility of the aircraft’s nacelles was a big concern. SafeSmart Aviation took specs and custom-designed a hand- maneuverable two-piece aluminum platform that allowed access to the engines at various heights, accommodating any pitch angle. As a full-surround design, the platform follows the contour of the aircraft closely, creating easy access without the risk of bumping the aircraft’s skin.

For added ease of use, this platform is enhanced with optional pneumatic and electrical movements.

Main features:

  • High grade aluminum anti-slip treadplate decking
  • Foam buffer to protect aircraft skin
  • Wind-down adjustable jacks to secure unit
  • Robust casors for easy hand-maneuverability

The Result

A compliant, safe and efficient way for technicians to circumnavigate the engines without repeatedly ascending and descending. A Marines spokesperson has said that the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing is already benefitting from the platform’s delivery, with faster maintenance turnaround times between missions. Further interest in the Los Angeles platform maker’s products is now apparent throughout the armed forces, especially with the continued rollout of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.

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