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Hercules aircraft receives new Center Wing in Singapore

Mon, Jun 24, 2024

center_wingJames Schneider’s lower half sticking out of a Center Wing Box section at the storage yard in Tucson. Right, the wing replacement part is lowered onto the crate for eventual transport to Singapore.

Eight years ago, the Lynden Air Cargo team traveled to a storage yard near Davis Monthan AFB in Tucson, AZ in anticipation of eventually needing replacement parts for Lynden Air Cargo’s fleet of 382G Hercules. “We had four EC130Q aircraft to survey for two candidate Center Wing Boxes (CWB). The original CWB on each of these aircraft had been replaced in the early 70s with a Manufacturers End Product (MEP) CWB,” explains Lynden Air Cargo Director of Maintenance James Schneider. “Shortly thereafter the aircraft were parked, which left many usable hours for a CWB replacement program like ours.” After identifying two salvageable CWBs, they were removed, crated and trucked to Houston for loading on a container vessel for transport to ST Engineering Defence Aviation Services (ST) in Singapore where Lynden aircraft routinely receive maintenance service.

This year, CWB replacement is required as aircraft N402LC has reached the 50,000-flight hour mark. This flight milestone and wing replacement complies with an FAA Airworthiness Directive. According to James, “N402LC had only 15,975 flight hours on it when we acquired it from Safair in 1997 – 26.75 years and 33,396 flight hours later, that’s approximately 1,245 flight hours per year.”

CWB replacement is an enormous undertaking with the 10,000-pound 40-foot by 8-foot part requiring a mobile crane for an overhead lift for removal from the aircraft and then the replacement carefully lowered in place for the installation. A critical part of the preparation prior to removal of the old CWB is a check of symmetry and alignment – the replacement must go back into the same exact position to avoid adverse effects on aerodynamics.

This spring also marks the 25-year anniversary of Lynden’s relationship with ST as its prime heavy maintenance repair organization. The first heavy maintenance check was conducted there in 1999 on aircraft N403LC with a second check conducted on N402LC immediately following.

Lynden Air Cargo President Scott Hicks was in Singapore for the wing replacement last month and met with the ST management team. “ST plans to celebrate our Silver Jubilee quarter century relationship with the redelivery of N402LC,” he says. “James and the Lynden Air Cargo team have spent decades working with ST. They are an amazing company.” N402LC should be back in the air with its new CWB on July 1.

Wing CWB replacement at ST in Sinapore 3-24-1

N402LC wing replacement at ST Engineering in Singapore.

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