934th maintainers fight cold weather and win

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Corban D. Lundborg
  • 934 AW Public Affairs
Ten frozen fingers, cherry red cheeks and a nose dripping like an old faucet are just a few traits of an aircraft maintainer working outside at the 934th Airlift Wing during the winter season.

Minnesota winters are home to sub-zero temperatures, forceful winds and perilous ice. The 934 AW aircraft, and its maintainers are not immune to these harsh elements.
While a majority of the wings Airmen may only face the cold to-and-from work, the maintenance squadrons have no choice but to take the frigid, unpredictable winters head on.

"The extreme winter conditions here call for extra measures when dealing with aircraft maintenance," said Senior Master Sgt. Kyle Klass, a production superintendent, at the 934th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron.

"The propellers are a main concern when dealing with the C-130s in extreme temperatures because they have seals inside that expand and contract with the temperatures, and if the seals get too cold they can leak hydraulic fluid," said Klass.
According to weather data, January is the coldest month in Minnesota with an average low temperature of seven degrees. 

"Aircraft maintenance in the winter calls for more time and manpower," said Staff Sgt. Reece Hendricks, a crew chief from the Aircraft Maintenance Squadron.
"Winter maintenance can take more time, but it is stressed throughout the squadron to take the time and make sure the job is done correctly, and that safety is the top priority, Hendricks said.

Not only are the aircraft affected by the bleak winters, the maintenance Airmen are harshly at risk to the elements as well. 

"The most difficult part about working through the winter conditions here is just trying to stay warm," said Hendricks. "One weekend we were working out there with wind chills below -30 degrees."

"If you are not dressed properly, you will be in a world of pain", said Klass.
Airmen here are not only assaulted by the winter's cold temperatures. They must also combat the snow and ice that follows.

Klass said one time it had rained all weekend, and then the temperatures dropped below freezing, and upon return Monday morning, the aircraft had froze to the ground.
"The elements are not friendly to the aircraft here.  It takes a lot of work to keep them mission ready," said the superintendent.

Despite the realities of the harsh winters in Minnesota, the maintenance Airmen here make it possible for the 934 AW Global Vikings and their fleet of C-130s to be "Always Ready."