103rd’s new engine test facility bolsters mission readiness
By Staff Sgt. Steven Tucker, 103rd Airlift Wing
/ Published March 22, 2021
EAST GRANBY, Conn. -- Aerospace propulsion technicians with the 103rd Maintenance Squadron began a new era of engine maintenance at Bradley Air National Guard Base with their first engine run inside the base's new T-10 Hush House on March 17.
This type of facility allows the aerospace propulsion shop to maximize maintenance efficiency and run T56 turboprop engines in a noise-suppressing environment. The T56 engines power Bradley's fleet of C-130H Hercules aircraft.
"We're testing for basic engine performance and any potential issues we couldn't identify in the back shop, such as oil, fuel, or hydraulic leaks," said Master Sgt. Daniel Lalancette, 103rd Maintenance Squadron propulsion superintendent. "The construction of the facility keeps the noise contained, so if we're running an engine and have the doors closed, you can barely hear it outside."
Testing engines inside the Hush House eliminates extra steps the propulsion shop previously required to maintain the health of Bradley's C-130 engines.
"Prior to having the T-10 Hush House, we installed the engines on the wing to run and test them," said Lalancette. "If there was anything wrong with the engine that we didn't spot in the back shop, the engine would come off the wing to be repaired, and we would replace it with another engine."
By streamlining the test process, the propulsion shop's new Hush House will have a direct effect on the 103rd's mission readiness.
"It takes days to remove and replace an engine, so by knowing that we're putting a known good asset on the wing, it could potentially save us days-worth of maintenance and keep an engine in the flying schedule for days it would have been down," said Lalancette.
The propulsion shop incorporates several safety measures into the testing process, both before and during an engine run.
"We go through and do our walk-around to make sure there's no FOD in the area that could get sucked into the engine," said Staff Sgt. Johnathon Brace, 103rd Maintenance Squadron aerospace propulsion technician. "We make sure everything is set up properly, and from there, we'll go through our checklists and start running the engine."
During the engine run, Brace sits in an adjacent room where he monitors safety conditions inside the engine run bay.
"While the guys in the control cab are running the engine, I'm in here watching the video monitors for anything out of the ordinary," said Brace. "If there is an emergency, I have a direct line to the maintenance operations center, and I can quickly call over the radio to the maintainers in the bay."
Conducting engine runs in this new facility is the realization of years of work and a point of pride for the propulsion shop, said Lalancette.
"The biggest thing I've noticed is the hard work that the Airmen in the engine shop have put into the Hush House," said Lalancette. "It's been a long time in the making--we've been working on getting this thing going since 2018, and today we ran our first engine. I'm super proud of all the accomplishments of all the people in the engine shop."