The system comprises two telescoping masts equipped with a working platform suspended from a crane trolley (tele-platforms).
Project Director Capital Facilities and Infrastructure Branch Lindsay Murray said the design, delivery and installation of the system had its challenges, but working collaboratively with stakeholders and contractors had resulted in a fantastic new capability for Air Force.
“This system is the first of its kind in Australia for use in either a Defence or commercial airframe maintenance capacity,” Murray said.
“This will now enable access for maintainers to a wide range of aircraft types in freely selectable parking configurations.”
Officer Commanding No. 86 Wing Group Captain Steve Pesce said the major benefit of tele-platforms for home station checks was the overhead operation.
“The C-17A telescopic docking system is an innovative technology that enables more efficient access for our technicians across a wide array of aircraft without the need for dedicated stands,” GPCAPT Pesce said.
“It significantly reduces workplace health and safety risks, which is always a key consideration when working at heights on large aircraft.”
Senior Engineering Officer No. 36 Squadron Squadron Leader Evan Smith said technicians had previously relied solely on lift platforms, cherry pickers and working-at-heights harnesses to access the exterior of the C-17A.
“The new tele-platforms will make it easier and safer for our technicians to access hard-to-reach parts of the aircraft,” SQNLDR Smith said.
“Ultimately, it will result in more efficient maintenance on C-17A, particularly during the home station check and other larger, hangar-based maintenance tasks.”