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No more cherry pickers for technicians looking over RAAF’s largest plane

Royal Australian Air Force maintainers from No. 36 Squadron and Practical Engineering contractors, manoeuvre a telescopic working platform around a C-17A Globemaster aircraft, in the new No. 36 Squadron maintenance hangar at RAAF Base Amberley.

Globemasters get to remote airfields around the world, but what if you need to get to a remote spot on a Globemaster?

A telescopic docking system will do the trick.

Recent fit checks at RAAF Base Amberley validated the system, which is part of a new C-17A hangar that will be handed over in October.

The system is the first of its kind in Australia, and can not only maintain the C-17A, but other large aircraft like the KC-30A.

The system comprises two telescoping masts equipped with a working platform suspended from a crane trolley (tele-platforms).   

Officer Commanding No. 86 Wing Group Captain Steve Pesce said the major benefit of tele-platforms for home station checks was the overhead operation. 

“The C-17A telescopic docking system is an innovative technology that enables more efficient access for our technicians across a wide array of aircraft without the need for dedicated stands,” Group Captain Pesce said.

“It significantly reduces workplace health and safety risks, which is always a key consideration when working at heights on large aircraft.”

Senior Engineering Officer No. 36 Squadron Squadron Leader Evan Smith said technicians had previously relied solely on lift platforms, cherry pickers and working-at-heights harnesses to access the exterior of the C-17A.

“The new tele-platforms will make it easier and safer for our technicians to access hard-to-reach parts of the aircraft,” Squadron Leader Smith said.

“Ultimately, it will result in more efficient maintenance on C-17A, particularly during the home station check and other larger, hangar-based maintenance tasks.”

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