Cannon behind the scenes: late night warriors

Aircrew members with the 20th Special Operations Squadron inspect the interior of a CV-22 Osprey on the flightline at Cannon Air Force Base, N.M., Nov. 1, 2012. The $80 million aircraft relies on routine austere inspections and preventative maintenance for proper functionality as well as Air Force Special Operations Command compliance. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Alexxis Pons Abascal)

Aircrew members with the 20th Special Operations Squadron inspect the interior of a CV-22 Osprey on the flightline at Cannon Air Force Base, N.M., Nov. 1, 2012. The $80 million aircraft relies on routine austere inspections and preventative maintenance for proper functionality as well as Air Force Special Operations Command compliance. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Alexxis Pons Abascal)

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Gerald Heckwine, 727th Special Operations Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, prepares to clean components of a CV-22 Osprey on the flightline at Cannon Air Force Base, N.M., Nov. 2, 2012. The $80 million aircraft relies on routine austere inspections and preventative maintenance for proper functionality as well as Air Force Special Operations Command compliance. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Alexxis Pons Abascal)

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Gerald Heckwine, 727th Special Operations Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, prepares to clean components of a CV-22 Osprey on the flightline at Cannon Air Force Base, N.M., Nov. 2, 2012. The $80 million aircraft relies on routine austere inspections and preventative maintenance for proper functionality as well as Air Force Special Operations Command compliance. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Alexxis Pons Abascal)

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Charles Phillips, 727th Special Operations Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, removes screws from an air filter housing compartment on a CV-22 Osprey on the flightline at Cannon Air Force Base, N.M., Nov. 2, 2012. The $80 million aircraft relies on routine austere inspections and preventative maintenance for proper functionality as well as Air Force Special Operations Command compliance. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Alexxis Pons Abascal)

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Charles Phillips, 727th Special Operations Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, removes screws from an air filter housing compartment on a CV-22 Osprey on the flightline at Cannon Air Force Base, N.M., Nov. 2, 2012. The $80 million aircraft relies on routine austere inspections and preventative maintenance for proper functionality as well as Air Force Special Operations Command compliance. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Alexxis Pons Abascal)

CANNON AIR FORCE BASE, N.M. -- *This feature is the nineteenth in a series of Air Commando highlights at Cannon.

Long, late nights on the flightline are never in shortage for Air Commandos with the 27th Special Operations Wing at Cannon Air Force Base, N.M. Diligent hands and a commitment to excellence push and motivate troops to ensure one of Cannon's greatest aerial assets is mission ready at a moment's notice.

The CV-22 Osprey has many unique features and capabilities that make it a commodity for Air Force Special Operations Command and the 27 SOW. In order to keep these war birds in the sky, routine inspections and cleanings are vital - that's where nighttime warriors step in.

"Every time our CV-22s land on non-concrete surfaces, we know we are going to perform an austere inspection here on base," said Tech. Sgt. Jin Yum, 727th Special Operations Aircraft Maintenance Squadron. "The inspection focuses on removing dirt and debris from the cabin, sensors, oil coolers and engines to maintain overall functionality of the aircraft."

In essence, the inspection is a detailed cleaning of the Osprey to maintain compliance at the functional level. The $80 million aircraft relies on this preventative maintenance that crew chiefs, avionics specialists and electrical environmental troops all take part in.

"It might seem like overkill to clean our aircraft so frequently, but I've personally seen the damage that can take place if we don't properly care for them," Yum stated. "In a deployed environment, the CV-22s take a lot of sand, dirt and particulates into the engine system. At a certain temperature, all that debris converts to glass! That amount of foreign object debris has the potential to severely damage our prized asset."

"By conducting the work we do daily on the Ospreys, we are better preparing ourselves to handle situations like that down-range," he added. "Our aircraft will undoubtedly enter environments abundant in FOD and we must therefore develop habits to face and overcome challenges to meet our mission."

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