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TINKER AIR FORCE BASE, OKLAHOMA -- The recent discovery and repair of corrosion on a structurally-crucial part in 15 KC-135 Stratotankers, accomplished jointly by several units at Tinker Air Force Base, has increased the safety of the fleet and gained recognition by high-ranking Air Force officials.
In April, an aircraft was being prepared for return to its unit following programmed depot maintenance, when a mechanic in the 76th Aircraft Maintenance Group was in the wheel well — a space the size of a small closet — and noticed about 1.5 inches of corrosion on the keel beam.
Mostly hidden by other structural components, the keel beam runs along 5 to 6 feet of the body of the KC-135, supporting the floor of the aircraft.
. . . a mechanic . . .
“Some of these (aircraft parts) are not made to be removed … This was one of those cases.”